Of course, only a limited few are seeing this ‘website’ for the BMW RSM club.  These are people that have provided feedback previously and have served as officers in the club.  We’re hoping to tweak some additional design features on this WordPress based site, add some awesome graphics, and then release it to the general public.

Here’s what we’ve got so far…  A WordPress platform that is used extensively worldwide and has been very successful in the blogging and now web site world.  There are hundreds, or thousands of Themes (or templates) for WordPress, making it easy to design.  In addition, there are thousands of Plug-ins that add tons of functionality to any WordPress site.  WordPress itself is so successful because it has a very flexible and easy to use back end for publishing and managing the site.  Our specific benefit from this will be the possibility of other members contributing to the content and management of the site.

Now, WordPress is a great start.  I installed this WordPress… wordpress.bmwrsm.net… to get an idea of what I could find for themes and plug-ins that could apply directly to the club’s needs.  The Theme I found is free, presents well, is flexible, and should be relatively easy to modify for our own look and feel.

Next, I found several plug-ins that give us some nice functionality.  A Calendar plug-in for our new Google Calendar allows us to display an Upcoming Events column on the site, and a page with the calendar itself displayed in it.  Then, I was able to use existing plug-ins/widgets to display feeds from our Forums (forums.bmwrsm.org) and the photo Gallery (gallery.bmwrsm.org).  I was also able to use existing ‘widgets’ to display several text blocks in the right columns.  These are relatively easy to create and can be removed simply with a drag and drop.  (See the BMWRSM Twitter, Next Meeting, and Wanted! Leaders! blocks.)

The RSS Feed blocks (forums and gallery) will update whenever anybody posts an item in the forums or photos in the gallery.  Clicking on these links within these blocks will take you directly to the forum or the photo gallery.  This will make it easier for people to watch the activity in these areas and easily jump into them.   Another block has ‘In the News Blog’, which lists this post like this one posted in the blog area.  This is a free entry area (for authors, administrator, etc) where we can post whatever comes to mind.  The president can post information to discuss a topic, the ride boss can relate a story about a particular ride, or any number of things.  Visitors can post comments on any of these to establish a discussion.

There is still much to do to bring this up to what we’re looking for as a finished site.  Well, it will never be totally finished, but it will be ready for release with an easy to use menu and nice graphics.  Look around, comment where you can, test out the links, and give us feedback.  Thanks!!