Return to Blog Home Page

26 February 2006

May I Help You?

One of the cool things I get to do once and a while is answer web-related questions that come in via phone or email. The way I look at it - I ought to give back since there have been numerous others that have patiently answered my questions and taught me little tricks to make my life easier.

So I thought I'd give you a sample request and what I sent in response:

Bob wrote:

I am looking around for web site companies to use for our church and I was wondering how well Aspire!One has worked for you. Do they provide great tools? How much of your site do you do in house? Do they have a great feature that just makes them stand out?
Here is my response:


Sorry I didn't get back to you right away. I've been doing MACH 10 for the past week or two but have some time this weekend to respond.

Prior to Aspire!One we were using a small wed development company that posed numerous problems to our site, our ability to maintain the site and our ability to expand our site and integrate with our backend database.

We began talks with Aspire and things went very well from day one. They had meetings with us to hear our vision and to see what our needs were. They did phone conferences and were available every time we reached a milestone in the preliminary design phase and development process.

Our site is dynamic in that it is based on a number of templates (some pre-designed by Aspire but others we have modified as needs change). Each template is populated with content or data entered through a central Admin Panel [see screen grab below]." Data are entered as stories that can be used in their totality (as a full HTML page) or in smaller chunks on other pages (in a sidebar or on the main index page for example). When a page is scheduled to be in a sidebar of an existing page, the only information sent is the thumbnail graphic and the title or subtitle. This then links back to the full story.

This concept may be difficult to understand without seeing it in action. But this is the basis for the entire site. We have some flexibility within the admin panel to edit the html and we can use Dreamweaver to develop more robust pages or templates if we need to.

The cool thing about this Admin Panel is that it allows varying "permission" levels, so someone can enter the panel and only see/edit certain things. I could go in later and schedule story that person wrote. This is huge in helping maintain consistency and standardization requirements necessary to keep the site looking professional.

Another awesome feature is the ability to schedule stories to appear on a certain date, and then leave on a certain date. This proactive approach to web maintenance is not only helpful to our team, but will probably be the standard in the near future.

Aspire has been very approachable and helpful in customizing the website and Admin Panel to our specific needs. They are great to work with and I look forward to a long relationship with them for both minor adjustments and major site overhauls in the future.

Hope this helped. Let me know if you have more questions about Aspire!One or

Taking the Message to the world via the web...


Main Page Administration Panel

Edit Story Page (Top)

Edit Story Page (Bottom)