How to use Surlingham.org
Version 13, March 2019
Surlingham.org is the community web site for the village of Surlingham, Norfolk. Whilst it is a source of information for both visitors and residents, it was primarily developed to help community groups publicise their news and events in an easy and effective way. In addition, a village calendar endeavours to keep track of all events which are going to take place – so do let us know about them, as they are planned to avoid clashes.
Surlingham.org has been deliberately set up so that organisations and groups can place news items, ‘posts’, onto the site themselves and not have to rely on a site administrator. All posts are emailed immediately to those who have registered to ‘follow’ the site and are also visible to those who just ‘visit’. In this way reminders and updates of upcoming events can easily be sent out.
Surlingham.org was set up in April 2012. It is independently run and non-commercial. It currently has about 260 or more ‘followers’. Almost all the village groups make posts, including the Parish Council. As well as publicising events, the site has been used in diverse ways from finding old friends for a hundredth birthday party and displaying photographs from the children’s art club to advertising local jobs. Also, we are often contacted by people from Canada and Australia trying to trace their ancestors.
We welcome constructive comment. Please bear in mind, however, that we are doing this on a voluntary basis and that we can’t always please all the people all the time!
How can I receive news and events via email?
This is called being a ‘follower’.
- go to Surlingham.org
- click the + Follow in the very bottom right of the window. You will be asked for your email address.
Every time you receive an email you will be given an opportunity to ‘unfollow’.
How can my group or organisation be listed on the site?
Just send the administrator (see end of this document) the group name, a one sentence or so description, a contact name and phone number (optional) and a web site link if you have one. To avoid spamming it is best not to give an email address.
What material is suitable for Surlingham.org?
A rule of thumb is that information on the site, and posts should be of particular interest to those who view or follow the site, i.e. those who are residents, visitors or have a connection to Surlingham. For instance, we are willing to include events in neighbouring villages or events in which Surlingham residents are playing a role. Website policies can be found under ‘Special Interest’ on the site.
How can I be authorised to place posts for my group or organisation?
We encourage groups to make their own posts (= be an ‘author’). This means that news on the site comes from a broad section of the community, and enables organisers to word their own publicity and issue reminders and updates as they think fit. Just email us (via ‘Contact us’ or the administrator) and we will authorise you. Making a post is not technical, (the instructions are in the next FAQ) and only takes a few minutes. Future changes of author are quite easy so you are not committed indefinitely. We do ask, however, that all posts are of potential interest to the whole community and not just within-group communications. As an author you are writing on behalf of your group or business, so please do not use the site for making personal posts or for any group OTHER than the one you have been authorised for. If in any doubt please use ‘Contact Us’.
I am an author for a group, how do I place posts?
WordPress, which hosts the site is irritating in that it often makes changes and expects the user to find their way around intuitively. There are often several ways of doing things. At time of writing the following describes a way of making a text only post which allows you to check a draft (called ‘preview’ the post) before publishing it. To insert an image or document see the next FAQ.
(i) Log in to the site using ‘Useful services’ on the right hand side half way down. You will need your email address or username and a password which you will have set up earlier (previous FAQ). This should take you to the WordPress ‘Dashboard’ screen. (If not you might obtain this via some combination of MySite and ‘WP Admin’ on the left hand strip.) August 2020 update: WordPress has just changed to using a ‘block editor’ as the default. To change back to the old one – which these instructions related to – go to WP admin on the dashboard or elsewhere if offered and select ‘Classic’.
(ii) Under ‘Quick Draft ‘ type in the title and the body of the text.
TIPS Make the title ‘catchy’ to encourage people to read the post. Also, only the first few lines of the main text – 50 words or so – will be visible when followers initially open the email – they have to click to see more. So it is a good idea to ‘entice’ the recipient with these. And best not to include email addresses as this can invite spamming.
(iii) Click ‘Save Draft’. Just underneath the title of your post click ‘Your Recent Drafts’ to get to an editing screen. You can now make changes to what you have written. When you want to how the post will appear on the site, click Preview on the right of the window. Then Click Edit at the base of the previewed message to return to the editing screen to make further changes. Continue with Preview and the editing screen until you are happy with what you have written. Then go to step (iv).
(iv) When you are ready to publish your post onto the site, click Publish at the top right of the editing screen. (You can publish now or set a later date.)
Whilst you are logged on as author you canedit your own, already published posts. BUT BEWARE, this MIGHT send a new email out to everyone.
Useful: If you are shown ‘My site’(top left) then ‘WP Admin’ will return to the dashboard. Also, Blogposts or Posts will list all earlier posts.
I am an author for a group, how do I attach a document (e.g. image, word, pdf ). Again WordPress keeps changing this so these instructions may vary. To show a whole single page poster within the post save your document on your computer as an image file (e.g. .jpg or .png). If you want to attach a word (.doc) or pdf document be aware that these will only appear as a link from the post.
One way to include your document in a post follows. Do (i) to (iii) above to write the text which will accompany the document and show you the editing screen. (For pdf or word files It is a good idea to use the text to give some idea of the content of the document so that readers can decide whether they want to open the link or not.)
From the editing screen, place the cursor where you want the image or link to be (beware – it tends to ‘move’ a bit and we don’t know why). Click ‘Add’, then ‘Media’ and select the desired document file from your computer. This should upload it into the site library. Click ‘Insert’ (bottom right) to place the image into the post. You can preview and make edits as described in (iii) above (for instance to re-position the document in the text). When you are happy click ‘Publish’ as in (iv).
I am an author, how can I include a link to a web site in my post?
If you want to place a link to a web site in your post it is best not to include the address explicitly but to say ‘Click here’ and enable the user to ‘click’ through to the site directly. You can set this up as follows.
Do (i) to (iii). However, now type ‘Click here’ in the appropriate place in your post. It is best to put this lower down i.e. beyond the first few lines (because the link will only open when the user is on the site, not when it is in an email in their Inbox). Then open a new window in your web browser (perhaps by clicking +) and find the web page you want to link to. Highlight the web page’s full name and copy it. Return to your post, highlight ‘Click here’ then click on the ‘chain’ symbol (‘Insert/edit link’). In the URL box which appears paste in the name of the web page, tick ‘Open link in new window’ and click ‘Add link’. Use Preview in the usual way to see what you have done. The ‘Click here’ should now be underlined and you can test the link to check it works. When ready – Publish as described in (iv).
Can I get my business listed?
We will list and provide a web link to businesses of particular interest to Surlingham residents and visitors. This is free at present but we may ask for a donation to e.g. church funds in due course. Send us some text, in a similar format to the current listing via Contact us or as described below.
Thanks for your support.
Paul and Louise Swift, 42 The Green, Surlingham. To contact us use email Paul.Swift@me.comor simply use ‘Contact us’ on the site.