research posts

Stearns: Using WordPress as CMS

I mentioned my concerns of using WordPress as a CMS in a previous post, but now it is getting to be the time to find solutions to our problems.  We have installed a test wordpress site and have begun working on it.  The style is still bare, but I am looking at functionality issues.  I used those links from the previous post plus some other sites found on Google to find potential solutions.  I haven’t made any final decisions yet on what should work for us, but I’ll document some of my considerations

Events and Recipes

One issue we will have is needing custom data fields for the events and the recipes.  WordPress has custom fields built in, but it would be best if the fields could be there automatically, without them having to add them and get the names exactly right each time.

Flutter is one plugin solution that looks nice.  It allows custom write panels to be created in the admin section, so that events or recipes could be managed and added separately from the normal posts.  It allows custom fields to be defined for each panel as well.  It even allows data types to be defined, so dates for the events could be entered easily.  It does have some issues, such as some bugginess and rumored slowness when post numbers get high.  This did sell me on the custom write panel idea though.

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Nonprofit Donation Services

I am researching services that will take online donations for nonprofits. There seem to be many available, but it is hard to find good information on them. I found a large list at The Nonprofit Matrix.  Unfortunately, unlike most matrixes, it doesn’t organize them or allow easy comparisons.

From a previous Web II class, a student named Sarah found Justgive.org.  It seems to be the best that I’ve found yet.  Some have lower transaction fees but much higher (than free) monthly fees.  Since Stearns will likely not get enough to offset those monthly fees, it makes sense to go with Justgive.  Some Details:

  • Cost: no setup fee, no monthly fees, 3% transaction fee
  • Services: Collects online donations using credit cards (of course).  Provides a tax receipt for the donor, allows recurring donations to be made, maintains a donor list for the organization, and mails checks of earnings monthly.
  • Reviews: Forbes, FoundationCenter, KillerStartups
  • Example sites using: SMSFolk.org (justgive page)

If I find more information, I will update this post or link to another.

[Update] A comparison table can be found at AffinityResources with many options and their fees.  An article discusses the options (generally, not specifically).  Another unrelated article discusses options, with more information about building your own donation app versus using an external one.  Still, justgive seems the best option.[/update]

[Update 11/06]Google Checkout seems to offer a nonprofit option for accepting donations.  This one has 30¢ plus 2.9% transaction fee.  High volumes (greater that $3000 a month) get lower transaction fees, but I highly doubt Stearns will get there.  Google has an API for putting a form on your site and has the recognition of Google, but it doesn’t have special tax receipts that I’m aware of, doesn’t have a donors list that I’m aware of, requires regestration with Google (stores credit card, etc), and evidently states require some sort of registration with them that places like JustGive have taken care of (since they are pass-through).  These legal concerns are things I’m unsure about.  Paypal seems to be about the same.[/update]

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WordPress as CMS

I’ve been researching WordPress as a CMS for potential use on my own sites, but some of the information could certainly apply to the Stearn’s Farm project.

WordPress as CMS links:

I will update this post as I find more information and possibly pull out info from the links.

So far it is looking like WordPress will not work for my personal plans.  The main reason I was interested was the nice text editing features that I certainly would not be able to recreate myself, and of course the fact that I potentially wouldn’t need to write that much to have a continuously update CMS.  But it seems like it would be a lot of work to get it to do what I want it to.

[update] The text editor used in WordPress is called TinyMCE which seems to be a seperate project that can be integratable into any site.  I may build out my own sites but include TinyMCE as an editing option.[/update]

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Stearn’s Research: Food for historians

We identified history buffs as one of the probable main visitors to the Stearn’s site.  We want to list local attractions on the site, so I am researching eateries that history buffs might be interested in.

Here is a list of Parma eateries.  I’m not sure if there are any historical places in that list, but I’m sure most of them would be places that a history buff would be happy to eat at.

Possible Restaurants

Unfortunately, it is very hard to find historic restaurants in Parma with a search engine, so that is the best I can do.

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