Lakekit Memo – April 2017

Notices:
Access to the guide used in the 2017 WordPress workshop at the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention is available on the Members Only page of lakekit.net. Password is %lake%kit%NET.
Neither the Akismet or Events Manager plugins are being used based on a check a few weeks ago. These will be removed after two weeks unless someone objects.

Network Status

Below is a summary of the state of our network of Wisconsin lake organization websites after a full year of operation, including a discussion of changes underway or being considered to assure continued success. Please give us your feedback on the discussion items below so that we can make decisions most beneficial to our Wisconsin lake organizations.

Main Goals. The main goals remain to provide WordPress lake organization websites at low expense and with minimum individual site administration effort.

 

Current Operation. The network has 16 current members. The network is operated as part of my very small business named Optidat. Any extra network income is set aside to pay for professional problem solving help should that be needed. I volunteer as the network manager. Over the past year, Karen Reynolds, one of our members, has held contact information to get network help in my absence. She has now graciously volunteered to learn and carry out the main short-term tasks needed should I not be available. Listed below are the various tasks involved with the network management.

  1. Core, theme, and plugin updates*
  2. Add or remove themes and plugins
  3. Add new sites
  4. Domain mapping
  5. Troubleshooting and/or obtain professional help*
  6. Network settings
  7. Local and remote backups
  8. Home-base site (lakekit.net) maintenance
  9. Training help
  10. Hosting service interaction
  11. Manage finances

* tasks that may be needed in the short-term if the network administrator is unavailable

Future Operation Planning. Sometime this year, as mentioned in a previous memo, plans are to move the network to a different hosting service to get free SSL. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypts the internet data so that logging in is safer at places like public WiFi. If we remain a totally volunteer operation, a limit of about 20 members is being considered. A larger membership may require a more robust hosting package and increase the need for either volunteer or fee-based professional management help. However, many more lake organizations may be interested in membership, especially if we promote it, keep the cost low, and continually make operating a site easier. If we open membership to more than 20, more funds would be available to hire some of the management tasks. Please provide your opinion on growing larger than 20 members. We welcome suggestions on finding a volunteer WordPress developer.

Training Needs. Using a WordPress network (also called a multisite) greatly reduces the training needed compared to a standalone site. Training for members has been through a half-day workshop plus 2 hours of one-on-one additional help. But network users start out at various levels of internet, word processing, and image editing experience. So, to help every member get to a comfortable level of capability, do we need to improve on our training options? Two possibilities are (1) members could start helping each other and (2) we could set up refresher sessions.  If enough interest exists, I will pursue these possibilities or other suggestions.

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