I've been busy the last few days working on the new website for the Chelmsford Bunker. The old site was set up and designed by one of the ex-club presidents back in 2004 and passed over to a different webmanager a bit later on. I took over the running of the website back in 2006 and it took me a while to get to grips with it as I'd only played with regular HMTL page based websites up until then (My old Howling Griffons website as an example) The old site used Mambo as a back end with a phpBB2 forum - and I gradually learnt how to use both bits of sofware. I was comfortable keeping both running, even upgrading the forum to phpBB3 at one point. The issue was that both were still linked to the old domain name set up by the ex-president - www.bunkerassault.co.uk which is a cool domain but confusing to people who don't have any contact with the club already.
A couple of years ago, I bought the www.chelmsfordbunker.co.uk domain name and set it up to redirect visitors to the old site. Recently though, I've felt that the existing site was looking very old and it wasn't easy to keep updating with news. So - it was time for a new website and a switch of domain names while I was at it.
The are lots (and lots!) of available software packages for building websites but it seemed that Wordpress was a decent choice as it's a) free and b) easy to install and keep running. All I needed was some webhosting space and a spare mySQL database to install it into. Most webhosting packages come with at least one mySQL database as standard but they also allow you to buy addons - and I knew I needed one database for the website and another for the forum - having two mySQL databases only cost an extra £5 a year so it was as cheap as chips really.
When it came to it, installing Wordpress was a doddle. All you need to do is download the software, unzip it from the compressed folder it's in, then upload the contents to your webhost using an FTP program such as Filezilla. Once you're done, you configure your mySQL database using the cpanel software that comes with the webhosting - it takes about 5 minutes. Finally, you go install Wordpress using the easy to follow instructions. It took longer to upload the software to the webhosting area that it did for Wordpress to install - amazing.
The cool thing about Wordpress is that there are hundreds of free themes to change the look of your website so you can choose exactly what suits you. It's easy to configure and you can install lots of free extra plugins to give you more functionality - such as an event calendar or a contact form. When you make a post, the software automatically handles media files or youtube links so you don't have to mess around trying to format it.
So - the new club website is ready to go. I still need to move the forum from the old site to the new site though which I suspect will be more challenging!