The North Shore Community Centre (NSCC) began as a shared vision by the Community and Progress Associations within the North Shore Area who were concerned about the lack of a central, collaborative meeting place. It is located at Mudjimba, on the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland, Australia. The Centre has a large range of complex functions that need to be promoted via the website: room hire, memberships, volunteer, events, and social media.
The NSCC had an exisiting website with Yola, a low cost commercial web hosting provider, which was being maintained by the Coordinator. With little time to spare for design and maintenance the website had become quite messy and inconsistent with a mix of design elements, colours and typography. The Coordinator found the website editor interface and account features difficult to use but believed that it was all that could be achieved for a not-for-profit organisation with little budget.
I became a volunteer at the NSCC’s and was asked to give the website a makeover!
The website makeover has been a work in progress as I am still adding features and maintaining the website in my role as a volunteer.
The first step was that I negotiated a special free community (free for NFP organisations) hosting package with Web Hosts Australia, which allowed the NSCC to move from the Yola hosting platform. A little known drawback of using platforms such as Yola, is that they often do not allow you to download or migrate your website elsewhere which meant that we had to start from scratch! I manually sketched a storyboard of the exisiting site and copied and pasted the text to word documents so that the content could be edited and rearranged on the new site.
The new website uses the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) together with the WP Avada theme which allows for allows for a professional look that can compete with high-end web development. It consists of 10 pages and makes use of a number of features, plugins and widgets to reduce complex text and add functionality. Blog features and social media feeds are employed to add a dynamic feel to the website for regular and special events, and news. In addition to the usual contact form, special forms for newsletter subscription, EOIs for volunteering and room booking enquiries have been used.
Future developments include the use of a room booking plugin to streamline room enquiries and reservations.
The paid staff, management committee and regular clients are extremely happy about the professional feel of the new website. It was established with minimal upfront costs for the Avada theme and domain name registration. Ongoing costs are negligible (DNR only) as I maintain the website. Tracking analytics show that the website is well used, even from outside the catchment area!
Read my reference from the North Shore Community Centre here.