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Website Followup

posted Jun 18, 2012, 1:05 PM by Tartan-Owners Southern California

Dear fellow TOSCA'ns,

For those who attended the TOSCA 2011 Catalina Rendezvous, I appreciate your interest in our new and exciting website. It was fun to build and truly represents the quality and caliber of the TOSCA membership! In case you missed my presentation, the slides can be downloaded here. They provide a useful snapshot of the site and quick reference of its features. In either case, please be sure to visit the site frequently and incorporate the content into your cruise planning and Tartan maintenance.

The site is available to everyone, not just members of TOSCA, and is a valuable resource to our sailing community. The site provides useful links for cruising, reference material, weather, NOAA charts, and the TOSCA community pages such as Facebook, Twitter, member blogs, and classified ads. As suggested at the rendezvous, we've recently added a member forum and message board. Tell your friends and share the benefits of the site.

Framework

The site is built upon a content management system that handles most of the technical tasks necessary to build websites. One of the key benefits is the site is easily maintained by non-technical people. The framework provides support for User Management (our members), Navigation and Menus, Security, Articles (pages) and Categories (groupings of articles). This allows non-technical people to focus on writing articles without worrying about the site, structure, complex HTML, etc. If you can use your email program to compose emails, you can use the online editing tool to create or edit articles.

Use of Categories

Articles on the site are grouped into Categories. Assigning a category to a new article automatically displays that article under the proper menu section. For example, the 'News', 'Reference Material' and 'Ask Bill and Don' sections are simply collections of articles with the categories of 'News', 'Reference' and 'Ask Bill and Don' respectively. Creating a News article is as simple as composing the text using a word processing panel and selecting the category of "News". The article automatically displays under the News section.

Free vs. Registered Users

The site does not require registration or login to access the pages. All the pages are available to everyone, whether they are members of TOSCA or not. We use the framework's user profile information to maintain the TOSCA membership, boat information, email address, etc., and to provide logins for TOSCA members. Logging in to the site is only required to post classified ads and to post items in the forum message boards. If you don't remember your login, you can request your username and password by clicking 'Forgot your username'. In general, your user name is your first initial and last name (e.g., dmclennan). If you forgot your password, click'Forgot your password' and follow the prompts to create a new password. If you having difficulty with this, please let us know. If you'd like to edit articles, then special "author" access will need to be granted for you to edit articles.

Volunteers Needed

We need member contributions - use your login to use the forum and classified ad sections. These are a great way to keep in touch with fellow TOSCA'ns, coordinate informal gatherings, ask questions, and buy and sell items. If you'd like to volunteer to edit articles, let us know so we can give you "author" access and help you become familiar with the built-in word processor. There are a few areas where we need help from people:

  • reviewing and editing the marinas and destinations sections, specifically the San Diego and Long Beach marinas,
  • writing "Ask Bill and Don" articles (ongoing),
  • maintain photo albums,
  • leveraging the new forum and message boards,

Let's make the site work for everyone by actively participating.

Sponsors

As you purchase items for your Tartan, ask the vendor if they'd like to provide a discount to the TOSCA membership in exchange for a well placed logo, link and description of their products or services. Visit thesponsors page. It is not uncommon for vendors to provide a 10% or 15% discount to TOSCA members. Please let me know and I'll include them on our site.

Blogs

Our Tartans are traveling all over the world - we'd like to see as many people as possible create blogs of their travels and experiences with owning and maintaining their boats. We have a blog section where member blogs are linked. I'd like to add links to everyone's blogs. If you don't have a blog, Google's blogger is a great way to get started.

As you saw in my presentation, there's a wealth of useful content when daysailing or cruising, maintaining our boats and being part of the TOSCA community. The community aspects only work if members actively use Facebook, forum message board, classified ads, photo albums...... Let's build on the foundation that we've established and continue to make TOSCA an exciting site for everyone.

Anyone can join TOSCA. If you are not a member, consider joining. This gives access to all TOSCA benefits and allows posting on the community pages on the website.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments about the website.

Regards.

Don McLennan