I’ve just set the new site for the Birmingham Conservation Trust live. I’ve advised on how it could work, and done the final coding and design.

The Trust is a charity that tasks itself “‘to preserve and enhance Birmingham’s threatened architectural heritage. … to promote an enjoyment and understanding of the city’s historic buildings’”. Most famously they restored Birmingham’s Back to Backs (now a National Trust attraction).

The site itself has been in the planning for a long time, but was held up when the Trust decided to go through a change of image. I’m pleased that the new look works much better on the web than the previous style.

The move to a WordPress based CMS and blog should help with keeping the content fresh — often a problem for charity sites (where everyone always had many calls on their time). That should in turn help the engagement of users with the site, and hopefully contribute to the efforts (physical and fund-raising) of the Trust.

Home - Birmingham Conservation Trust

Luckily for the BCT, Nick Booth of Podnosh is a trustee — so he’s able to be an advocate for using social media to help the charity, as well as helping to structure the new site and, of course, blog for them.

As well as the blog, there are a couple of little tricks to keep the site fresh:

  • the home page displays the latest news and a “featured page” — quickly changed via the CMS. This keeps the landing page for most people up-to-date, and and gives the imediate impression of a site that is live and cared about.
  • secondly, the site pulls appropriately tagged images from flickr and videos from YouTube (tag BirminghamCT). Some will obviously be produced by the Trust themselves, but hopefully it’ll help draw interest from people interested in heritage and buildings not nesessarily aware of the BCT.

I’m pleased with how smoothly the transfer of content from the old website has gone, but the shiny new home has inspired a flurry of re-writting and new content — so expect the site to expand and alter. WordPress makes this easy, so I’m happy that it’ll be a growth without pains.

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