Community Group

Woman’s Club of Wilmette Website

A devastating fire struck the Woman’s Club of Wilmette clubhouse in February, 2015. A landmark building also used for many community events, the Woman’s Club vowed to rebuild and restore the facility. A new website, intended to be the basis of the building fundraiser, was initiated in February, 2016 but the project stalled. In October, 2016 we were asked to rescue the project.  The site launched six weeks later.

When we entered the project, the new site was being developed on the WordPress platform using a WordPress theme. Although the major obstacle to launching the site was the fundraising and membership commerce components, our client wanted additional work done to enhance the site design, layout as well as add new content.

The Strategy
Rescue projects are often “fun houses” of discovering development errors, non-standard practices and incorrect selection of functional tools (plugins in WordPress parlance). Problems pop up where they are entirely unanticipated. For this project we replaced the membership commerce tool altogether, and re-configured the donation commerce tool. We also added a calendar tool to minimize the need for constant calendar updating and to provide a better look and feel.

Site Hosting
We followed best practice by moving the entire site, as we inherited it, into our own limited access “stage” development environment with full intent to publish the production (public) website in the client’s existing hosting environment. To do so required a hosting upgrade to a secure site (https vs http) due to the new commerce functionality.  Alas, the existing host failed to be responsive and also sought to impose a high fee for the service.

Our effort to move to a new host was further complicated because the client’s domain registrar was  out of business and they had also misplaced their domain registration access credentials.  We worked with the client to recover the access credentials and host the site with an internet service provider that provided a free secure site upgrade and also offered free hosting for non-profits.

Although the unanticipated obstacles added out-of-scope costs to the project, in the end the website was launched just slightly later than projected and functions securely and without flaws