Did you know that the International can help you get a website for your local union or campaign up and running? Fill out the New Website Application Form.
Advantages to Setting Up Your Website with the International
Peace of Mind
• All of the technical maintenance work is taken care of by the International— Setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc. so you can focus on creating engaging content instead of worrying about web servers.
Ease of Use and Control
• If you can operate Microsoft Word, you already have most of the skills needed to post updates to your site.
• Your site will be put together using WordPress as the Content Management System, which puts the power to make updates to site content in your hands without needing to know code.
• No special software is needed to perform updates. All you need is a computer with internet access.
• You can have multiple site administrators with different levels of responsibility that reflect your internal workflow and approval process.
o This means you could have multiple lower-level staff (or even just active members) with the authority to write updates and news for your site and save them as drafts, but require all new content be approved by one manager before being published on the live site.
• Hosting is free as the site is installed on the International’s existing servers. This allows the International to share our existing resources with you, and allows you to benefit from a professional level of hosting services not often available under common, low-monthly hosting fee plans.
• The design template offered for your site was developed by the International with the needs of locals and campaigns in mind. The design allows for the creation of UFCW-branded, professional sites in minutes instead of weeks and eliminates the need for hiring a designer to create a “look” for your site from scratch. This alone can save thousands of dollars.
• You will still own and pay for your site’s domain names, but this is generally a small fee compared to hosting and maintenance.
• Depending on the comfort level of your staff, you may still wish to establish a relationship with a web developer in your area to assist you with technical advice and troubleshooting; however, no specialized technical skills are needed to add basic updates to the content of your site. With average industry rates for developers of around $100/hr, this can greatly reduce vendor costs by keeping most work in house.
Portability and Longevity
• WordPress is “Open source” means there is no one company that owns the system. Not only are open source programs in the spirit of providing for the common good over personal profits, they make good sense for long-term planning. Utilizing open source means we don’t have to worry about a company being sold or ceasing to exist and the product no longer being supported. As long as there is a large community of users, we can be confident the platform will continue to grow and adapt.
• Since WordPress is very common, it is relatively easy to find a developer or company experienced with creating WordPress themes.
• Should you outgrown the International’s offered theme or require more advanced features, the content of the site (all of your pages, posts, and images), can be easily exported and turned over to you to work with your own developer with the web host of your choice.
o If you want to redesign your site in the future, this means you only would need to hire a web designer/developer familiar with creating WordPress themes and have them make you a new one.
o The WordPress theme is essentially a “skin” over your content, so you do not have to manually recreate all the pages you have built. You can think of it as hiring someone to repaint your house instead of hiring them to build you a brand new one.
What the International can’t currently offer:
Advanced WordPress Training and Technical Support
It is the International’s goal to make setting up and running a website more affordable for local unions and campaigns by sharing the resources we have already developed. We can offer a one-on-one training via Skype to go over the features we’ve had custom built, but we are not currently set up to be able to offer more long-term, comprehensive training. If you do not have staff with web experience, it may be worth reaching out to a developer in your area and establishing an hourly rate for additional training or advanced support if you find you need ongoing assistance.
Installation of Custom Plugins
If you are familiar with WordPress, you may know about the ability to add additional features through Plugins. This ability is currently disabled for regular site administrators on our network. Since a new plugin installed in the network impacts not only your site, but potentially all other sites on the network, we do not allow new plugins to be installed on our live sites.
If you have a plugin that you need to add to your site, please reach out to the New Media Team. We will need to consult our web developers on the long-term stability of the plugin and test how it will interact
with other sites before installing it. We strongly discourage the installation of new plugins as it greatly increases administration and security challenges over time.
Support for the UFCW themes for sites hosted outside the International’s network.
One of the reasons we are able to share our resources with you is that we have worked very hard to standardize the various web properties that we maintain. If you have your own host, we may be able to share our WordPress themes with you, but we cannot provide support for themes not installed on our server at this time. Should you wish to have the themes configured to your existing site in your own hosting environment, we would be happy to assist you in getting an estimate from Convoy, the company that built the UFCW themes, for both installation and maintenance.