A guide to Surlingham.org
Version 14.2 Nov 2020
Surlingham.org is the community web site for the village of Surlingham, Norfolk. It is a source of information about the village for both visitors and residents, but also a central point for community groups and businesses to publicise their news to anyone with an email address or who uses the internet. 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 post items onto the site themselves and not have to rely on a single site administrator. These news items or ‘posts’ are emailed directly 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. The site receives an average of over 1600 unique visitors a month and has more than 320 ‘followers’. Unlike social media, we don’t carry personal posts which restricts notifications to those of interest to the whole community.
Surlingham.org was set up in April 2012. It is independently run and non-commercial. 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 arewilling 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 FAQs) 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, please do 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/organisation, how do I place posts?
You will need to use a computer or a mobile device (tablet or phone). WordPress which hosts the site is irritating in that it often makes changes, and expects the user to find their way around intuitively. Consequently it is hard to keep any instructions up to date. We hope the following will be of some use, however.
If you are using a tablet or phone you may find it easier to place posts using the WordPress App (free). The following web link gives some instructions on how to use it https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/use-wordpress-app-iphone-ipad/.
Using a computer gives you fuller functionality and we have attempted to give some instructions in the next section..
TIPS for writing a post. 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.
How do I write a post on a computer?
WordPress has recently introduced the ‘block editor’ which makes writing posts rather more complicated than previously. The gist is that each component of a post – the title, the text, the photo etc. appears in a separate box, or block. A lot of sophisticated things can be done but most people just want to write text and maybe add a photo or poster, attach a word document or pdf or provide a web line. The instructions below give one way of doing these which was correct at time of writing (Nov ’20). Please be aware, Word Press changes things frequently so there may be some variation. Our hope is that these instructions at least point in the right direction. If you have trouble just do the ’simple text only post’ below.
Log in to the site using ‘Useful services’ on the left 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.
The simplest way of making a text only post
From Dashboard use Quick Draft and enter your title and text in the two boxes. Click Save Draft. Click Publish (top right) to publish.
However, if you want to see what your post looks like prior to publishing it then it’s probably best to use the block editor instructions below. (Preview doesn’t seem to work Nov 2020.)
Writing a post using the block editor.
From the Dashboard click WRITE (at top right)
This now shows a Classic block. (You may have to click away a couple of dialog boxes first.)
The screen has a block for the title and another for the text. Type your content into each of these. To publish immediately press Publish at the top right. OR if you want to see what the post will look like before publishing, press Preview of post. From the preview you then click Close at the top left or click ‘edit’ at the end of the post to go back and edit it again.
Useful: the rectangle of icons above a block gives you options to use on that block. The three vertical dots give you yet more options.
Useful: To get back to the Dashboard at any time W (top left), All Posts, Dashboard will often, but not always, work.
Useful: If Preview doesn’t work, try the following. Save the Draft. Use W at the top left, All posts. You’ll see a list of posts including your draft. Click ‘Preview’ under your post on the list. This should work. Then click ‘edit’ below the previewed post to get back to edit and the opportunity to publish.
Useful: to delete a block backspace one or more times.
Useful: Whilst you are logged on as author you can edit your own, already published posts. BUT BEWARE, this MIGHT send a new email out to everyone.
How do I include a poster or photo in my post?
Have an image, saved as a jpg file ready on your computer.
Proceed as for writing a post using the block editor, above. After you’ve typed your title and text, click + at the top left. You will then see that the left hand side of the screen now contains the ‘block editor side bar’ which gives lots of options for the type of content you can put in your post.
Under MEDIA (in the second batch of icons) click Image. This will give you an image block under your text block. Use Upload to find an image on your computer and upload it. Alternatively use Select Image to choose an image that is already saved in the Surlingham.org library.
How do I attach a document (e.g. word, pdf ).
Have a word document or pdf file ready to upload. Proceed as for writing a post using the block editor above. Press + to get the block editor side bar, then select the File option from the second batch of options in the block editor side bar. Click Upload to attach this document to your post. Note that this gives the reader the opportunity to download the file but does not show its content in the post itself. (To do this save it as an image and insert it as a photo/poster option as above.)
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.
In your text write the words which you want to immediately precede the link e.g. Click Here. Select these words so that they become highlighted. Then click the chain symbol in the bar above the text block. Enter the name of the web site you want. (You can request that it opens in a new tab if you wish.) The highlighted piece of text becomes underlined. Publish or Preview as usual. When the reader views the post they can access the web site by clicking on the underlined text.
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.com or simply use ‘Contact us’ on the site.