A blog isn’t a website?!

Got some interesting feedback today from the marketing dept at Mothers’ Union today on the website this was originally a trial for muwinchester.org.uk.

I’d been asking for some feedback from them at head office, and finally got it, but I’m not sure it was overly helpful, although in a funny sort of way it was quite encouraging:

I think the phrase used was something along the lines of “well it’s not a website is it”, so I explained that I was using WordPress (blogging software) for content management.

The lady who runs the central MU website was very complimentary about the content I was showing being up-to-date and comprehensive. However, apparently there is far too much writing on the ‘home page’ for it to be a website, and you can’t navigate down from a front page to find information. I pointed out the categories and tag cloud for navigation, which she was fine with, but this didn’t seem to satisfy.

I explained that the problem many of our (not very web literate) users found with the central website was that they couldn’t find things, and that the idea of designing a website with blog based management was to make it simpler to find things and keep an up to-date-face on the ‘home page’. Still, having all those words on the scroll down ‘home page’ is apparently not a good thing!

My feeling – that possibly I’m more open minded than people who are only used to ‘traditional websites’ because of the people I mix with?! The proof will be in the use of it, after about 12 months, but it is gradually increasing though not as much as I would like. Need to get a lot more stuff on it, and get people checking it regularly, which should happen after the summer Diocesan Meeting hopefully.

Anyway, apparently I don’t need to help with any workshops at Marketing Conference at in September, because they’ve got enough other folk doing stuff. If there is a website workshop I shall be most interested to attend – and I may well still go armed with some useful, pre-prepared information for interested parties !

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About ramtopsrac

Church of England Priest, child of God, daughter of the New Forest, wife and mother.
This entry was posted in mothers' union, technical bits and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A blog isn’t a website?!

  1. alecm says:

    Rac: how many people were reading the dead-and-smells-bad “real” website that you had, before?

    If you have grown, you have succeeded.

    Contrary to popular opinion, “real” websites do not mean paying money to web-developers to come up with something pretty – they instead reflect “interestingness” and passion of the people who are involved.

  2. alecm says:

    ps:

    > However, apparently there is far too much writing on the ‘home page’ for it to be a website

    “Too many notes, my dear Mozart…”

  3. Ben says:

    The new site sure looks like a ‘website’ to me. Someone at the MU HQ has their head firmly ensconced deep within an unfortunate bodily orifice.

    Your site has a better font size, less of those sickly contrast-reducing, pastel-coloured backgrounds, and what’s more, it tells me more immediately about what the MU is doing, and demonstrates that it’s an active body much better than the stuffy, corporate-style MU HQ site.

    So what if the content management system in use is also used by thousands (nay, millions) of bloggers – it just goes to show how useful it is! I’ll bet you’ve a damned sight more control over the content and layout of your blog^H^H^H^Hwebsite than MU HQ have over their own.

  4. I suspect transition from rolled papyrus scrolls to books with pages and covers probably got a lot of the same responses… “but you can’t unroll it as you read! That is not a proper written document!”

    2009… you gotta chuckle 😀

  5. Adriana says:

    Rachel, any web master is pretty much a dinosaur. A blog is the next evolutionary step from a website, which was clunky, static and impersonal.

    If you want more traffic, which in really just more human beings interesting in what you write – start by finding other people writing about similar topics, bloggers you can connect with. Comment on their blogs, link to them on yours – relevantly, of course – and soon you should have your own reader community. And perhaps even a following, if they know what’s good for them! 🙂

    Marketing doesn’t build a community or relationships, it artificially and expensively herds – and hoards – eyeballs, clicks, traffic blah blah.

    Blogging enables you to find people you might not otherwise encounter as theirs blogs are windows to their minds on terms previously unimagined. In a Good Way!

    So go for it. You have done a marvellous job of this blog and turned it into something much better than a site could be. I am impressed.

    And if you’d like a few tips and hints on how to find others give me a shout. 🙂

  6. ramtopsrac says:

    Alec has suggested just some of the stuff Adriana has mentioned, and I’ll try and impliment these, but other things here are helpful (beyond the general encouragement, for which my thanks!)

    Particularly:
    “Marketing doesn’t build a community or relationships” I love this quote… (note to self for conference) because relationships is what the Christian faith is all about and in part why I’m training as a lay minister.

    Since MU is a faith-based organisation, aiming to make a difference to family life because of, not necessarily through, our faith, I think this is a vital point in getting MU on the web in a way that builds relationships, especially when we’re trying to change the image – as Perry says, updating from papyrus!

  7. Pingback: Blogging to build community « A Reader (to be) in Writing

  8. Pingback: Free blog facilities to help Mothers’ Union develop and debate | A Reader in Writing

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