The myWebsite website system is not merely “space on a server”, but is a collection of programs, databases and services to make it possible for non-technical people to maintain their own website. The aims of the system are to:
- Make it possible for everyone to maintain their own areas of the website without extensive training in website development
- Make use of the National Database of Clubs, Officials, Coaches, etc to provide up to date, accurate information for users
- Make all of these systems available to organisations other than the National Body, e.g. Baseball Australia have setup 300+ club websites on their system.
All of these aims have been achieved by creating a database to hold the information and installing a system that allows “content” and “navigation” to be added to the system without the use of specialist website maintenance software.
What is myWebsite all about?
The myWebsite website system is not like a normal web hosting arrangement where you get space on a machine but have to provide all of the input and formatting of pages yourself. The system consists of software, graphic designs, and databases with the dual aim of maximising information to users, while reducing the amount of maintenance effort required to keep the system up to date.
All of us are familiar with websites that are enthusiastically setup by willing volunteers, only to run out of steam as the initial creators move on or lose interest. To reduce the possibility of this happening, the system is designed to make it possible for people with even moderate skills to maintain the system, thereby greatly increasing the number of people that are capable of maintaining the site. For experienced website developers, it should relieve them the burden of being the only person in the club that is technically capable of putting new material onto the system.
Who can benefit from myWebsite?
Any organisation that has many many member organisations, all of whom wish to run their own websites, whether they be a National Sporting body, or any other organisation.. The main reasons to run many 'sitelettes' off the same site are:
- Economies of scale. Baseball Australia have over 300 clubs. If each club were to independantly setup a website, the cost would be a minimum of $25 per month per club - a total of $78,000 per year to the sport.
- Security:  A professional managed webserver will be backed up nightly with offsite storage, whereas a webmaster's PC at home may never be backed up.
- Continuity - As club webmasters come and go, typically their website creation software goes with them. With all the editing of myWebsite on the server, a change in webmaster is not a traumatic experience for a club
- Higher level of service to members -  With the range of additional 'components' available, the level of service on the website is significantly enhanced.
The Standard approach to website development
Typically, a single PC with a website editor (similar to a word processor) is used to maintain the website. Pages are constructed on the PC and then copied up to the webserver.
- As in the early days of PCs, there are multiple “Word Processors” and each successive webmaster will use a different “Word Processor”. When you change webmasters, there is usually a major amount of work to migrate the information and a lot of information is lost.
- All the information, pictures, spreadsheets, etc live on the PC of the webmaster and can only be updated from the one machine.
- The cost of maintaining the website over it’s lifespan far outweighs the initial cost of setup, or of hosting charges.
Website Development using myWebsite
All the software to maintain the system resides on the web server. Therefore to update the system, you can update from any PC connected to the internet without the need for specialist software on your machine.
Main Components of the System
- News Editor – for news and general web pages
- Calendar – a list of events which can be shared vertically from club to State to National body
- Content Management – a system to keep track and maintain all of your general pages, including word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc
- Image Library – a library of images that can be shared by all bodies within your organisation
- Newsletter service – be able to send formatted emails to subscribers, members, etc
- Searches of the National Database – Clubs, officials
The following explains how some of the more common features work to provide an indication of how the system works, and what is required to maintain a website.
News items are entered into the database from a web browser with a “First Date to Publish” and a “Last Date to Publish”. These items will show on the front page during this time and will age off on the due date – there is no need to remove the items after their “Use By” date.. The News Archive (under the News main menu) shows all News Pages by month, on the date that they were first published. Once a news item has been added to the system, there should be no reason to ever change the article or links to the article – it will automatically age off the front page and appear in the Archive section.
The Calendar is a series of “Events” whether they be a sporting event, training session, committee meeting, social function, etc. The calendar is a searchable database to allow searches by type of event, date range, level of event, etc. There is one calendar for all of Australia, but the display is typically filtered to only show events for an individual state or club. So for a Club, all events at the club are displayed.
The Content Management system manages the “normal” web pages in the system. It manages the following:
- Web Pages  – either a News item or a single web page of information, reports, results, etc. These are maintained by a 'Microsoft Word like' editor (see below)
- Menu entries – Menu items that point to either a Web Page, another “sub” menu, or an link to a stand alone web page, either within the website, or on an external website
- Images – The image database not only stores the image, but it keeps information about images such as captions, photographer, etc.
- Other services – for example, a simple Message Board where users can view or add simple messages to other members.
All Web Pages, Menu entries, Image records and Events reside in the database and are updated via a normal web browser.
Clubs, Officials, Coaches
Typically the National and State Authorities maintain a National Register of all of these organisations and the officers of these organisations. This register is available to anyone using the system and a standard set of searches and reports are available. For example, it is possible to search for a club in your own area. The maintenance of this information is available to the level most appropriate, e.g. a club can update it's list of office bearers, but only the National Authority can update the list of qualified National Coaches.
Each organisation using the system site can maintain their own “look” to their website using a series of template files that specifies the colours, logos, fonts and overall layout of the site. For example, the National, State and Club websites all run off the same series of programs, but each have a different template to make them look quite unique. As well as a set of standard templates, the colours of some templates are modifiable to suit the colours of your club, or if you have an experienced web designer, they can create a unique template for your club.
The security system uses a User ID and password to restrict access to the required areas of the website. There are three levels of access – Writer, Publisher, Administrator. A Writer can create new pages, but they will not become public until reviewed by someone with Publisher access. A Publisher can update all areas of the site. An Administrator has the additional ability to create new User IDs.
Initially one User ID is created and sent to the Administrator of the website. It is then the responsibility of this Administrator to create additional User IDs for each person who will be maintaining areas of the site.
myWebsite also has other components that are available such as:
- Newsletter management
- Classified Advertisements (completely user driven)
- Message Board
- Systems to support High Performance sporting programs
- SMS services
Additional Pages or Services
If your organisation has the services of a person familiar with website development, you are not restricted by the system. While FTP access is not provided, a browser based file uploader is available to load user created HTML files to the system.