Blues in the Schools (BITS) is a program created by the Roots N Blues Foundation in 2007. The program celebrates music and music education in Columbia, MO schools by incorporating visual arts, history, social studies and literature into the celebration of music. Starting 10 years ago in just one elementary school, the program has evolved to include every elementary school in the city, enlightening young minds with an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of American music.
BITS came to us with a couple of website predicaments: they had a hard time making updates to their site and needed an easier way to do it. They also wanted to restructure the internal linking on their website to reflect the “best web practices,” so we implemented some fixes to bring their code up to standards and save them time on making updates to their website.
Their website was rebuilt with a stronger link structure to help enhance search engine optimization for their site, that was easy. The the real challenge we took on was finding an easier way to update content on their website. Our solution can be summed up in three words: custom post types.
In the old BITS site they had to dig through each page to find what they wanted to update. Then they had to make sure it was formatted correctly to match the rest of the page. But finding the information to update was challenging and formatting was even more of a mystery to them.
To fix the problem, we first identified the information they updated or added often as well as information that uses a repeating format (i.e. board members, testimonials and events). Then we made custom post types for each of those information types. Now, BITS employees can go in and directly click on a clearly labeled dashboard menu item and apply changes within a templated, easy-to-manage structure.
Custom post types
To elaborate further, using custom posts types makes website updates twice as easy because this method provides administrators one location to update information that may be used in multiple locations on their site. Events, for example, may be featured on the home page and also shown on the events page. Using posts to display the information allows administrators to change an event detail in one spot and the change will be reflected throughout the site. Impressive, right?
Say for instance BITS wanted to update information about one of their board members: previously, they would’ve had to comb through the list of website pages in WordPress to find the Board Members page and then dig through the page content to make necessary adjustments, risking an inadvertent and undesirable formatting change or removal another employee’s information by mistake.
Now, they have a link on their WordPress navigation named “Board Members” (we call ours “Our Family” ?). Within this section, board members are listed as individual “posts,” posts templated and structured specifically to account for pertinent member info like name, title, direct phone number, email, etc.
When they click on a name, a screen comes up where they can update the board member’s information according to the fields on the screen. To add or remove employees, they’d simply add a new “post” and name it for the new employee or remove the post named for the employee they’d like to remove from the website, respectively. After the post is added it is automatically placed in the proper location within the site and formatted to match the other posts in that section.
To illustrate what we did for BITS, here’s how we update our staff bios (in the previously mentioned “Our Family” section in our WordPress account), which is set up the same way only with different features:
A link called “Our Family” appears in the WordPress navigation when we login to the back-end of our website. To see the full list of our MayeCreate crew, we click on “Our Family.” To add a staff member…well…we’d click on “Add Staff Member”…
Roxie, Monica’s dog, is a treasured member of the MayeCreate family and has her own biography on our website. If we need to update her information (maybe she’s been promoted to Director of Cuddle Analytics and Trash Tester?), we click on her name.
This page appears, allowing us to update her name, title, email address and anything else that needs adjusting. She’s currently the Cuddle Analytics Manager, but once she is officially promoted to Director, we’ll update her title here.
Take a look at Our Family on our website and click on Roxie’s image to see where these updates appear!
Does your website need custom post types too, or do you just need a website in general? Contact the team at MayeCreate Design. We believe websites work when good design meets solid functionality. Our web designs always aim for ease of use and clear communication. Check out our portfolio for a look at our other projects and to get your pride on…today.
Katie is a Designer & Content Developer at MayeCreate Design. Her responsibilities and experience include content development for websites and online marketing, blogging, general website maintenance, graphic design, ad campaign management, project management, office management, bookkeeping, and customer service. As a wife, mom, twin, seasoned karaoke singer and amateur rock climber, she’s seen the world from many perspectives and thrives to bring an open mind and clear vision to her position here at MayeCreate.
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