In setting out to design a new village website, one important design goal was to enable residents of the village to be able to add and maintain content for themselves. Creating a website at a purely technical level would probably require a higher level of web skills to be able to create and maintain and so we looked to established website products and chose WordPress.


The village website is based on WordPress, which is most well known as a blogging platform although significant development on WordPress has now also moved it into the CMS space (Content Management System). Other platforms considered were Joomla! and Drupal, but WordPress was selected as it was the simplest to implement.

The main focus of the website was to be the content and as such WordPress enables the website to be “developed” almost entirely from the core product and some carefully selected plugins. The look and feel can be adjusted via a Theme and the selected base-theme was Magazine Basic.


The Theme (Magazine Basic) is free but does have premium versions we can consider upgrading to if we deem suitable. The Theme utilises the latest HTML5 features and is a “responsive” Theme, i.e. the layout changes depending on the screen/browser size and therefore lends itself nicely to the modern mix of desktop and mobile devices, each using different screen resolutions.

The only significant work required was to style the Theme using CSS to give us a unique look (our blue/orange/green look).

Site Structure

It was decided that a first time visitor may well wish to visit a page about the village, but such a page was probably not the best page to have as the home page as the content would not change greatly from one visit to the next. Therefore the home page is a dynamic Post “blogroll” – which is WordPress’s main strength – with a separate page “About Our Village” being the first true page within the website after the home page.

Posts can be made without any significant knowledge of HTML or websites and so it will be possible over time to have many people responsible for adding content.  Every time a Post is created it simply turns up on the home page, with older Posts slipping down the page with age. To keep the site fresh it is therefore very important that we get a constant flow of content.

The header and side bar areas remain constant throughout the navigation with there being additional main menu items for key areas of interest to the village. The image below shows the top level menu items (Home, About Our Village, etc through to Contact Us).Website Menu

Some of these main menu items also have sub menu items, as indicated below:

Home Page

The Home page’s layout is mainly achieved via the Theme, which is a blog-roll of the latest posts arranged in a grid format. The remaining pages are mainly static in nature and can grow over time.

About Our Village

This is where we might expect a first time visitor to go first, or where someone looking for some highlights about the village. It is not the home page because it is largely static and so subsequent visits to the site will be better served by seeing the latest posts.

The Green Spaces is large enough to have a spin off page (also with a sub menu item) and so is only briefly mentioned here. Also, until the Village Directory gets under way we have also included a basic page (also with a sub menu item) containing a list to any local pubs, shops & services and industry.


Contains a summary of the Church’s history and current activities, a couple of pictures to liven it up and a link out to an existing website for the time being.


Contains a summary of the School’s history and a link out to the School’s own website for current details rather than attempt to repeat time-sensitive information such as term dates, contacts, diary etc.

Village Hall

This contains a brief summary of the facilities available to hire and contact details for making a booking.

Parish Council

Contains a summary of the Parish Council itself and how to contact the Parish Council. Contains information on how to apply for a reduced rate Ryton Pools annual pass, contacts number for reporting Highway issues and a link to a contact list for the current Councillors.

It needs to also contain the Parish Council Minutes (with a sub menu) plus various other points of contact relating to the Parish Council or wider matters.

Parish Plan

Contains a brief summary of the Parish Plan itself.

The bulk of this area is separated into separate pages for each Action Group, each with their own sub menu. Some of these groups as yet contain no true content. It is hoped these pages will contain contacts, progress, future plans and any other relevant materials like action group Minutes. To date, only the Village Directory, Village Newsletter and Village Website have any substantial content.

Clubs & Groups

Whilst the Events calendar has been populated with many of the regular Clubs & Groups activities etc. this page contains a summary of the existence of each of the Clubs & Groups, with contact details.

Each Club or Group can have its own page if they feel they have more to say.


Populated with regular Clubs & Groups activities plus other special events going on in the village.

The control used to for this a Plug-In called ‘All-in-One Calendar Control’ which supports some nice layouts, including a sidebar widget, the ability to enter recurring events and enter locations using Google maps.

Contact Us

Provides a web form through which contact can be made with the village website team, who will do their best to forward the request to an appropriate member of the community.