Web production notes.

These will only be up for a temporary period of time, and are simply here for your information.


OK, for what is perhaps the blog within the blog, these were the steps in the design of this website, most all of which are done now. I put this, simply for your potential interest.


  1. First, quick order of business was to repair the code on the old site. Quotes and apostrophes were not done in “html code”, whichl threw “read errors” as black diamond question marks.
  2. Next was to contemplate exactly were the goals here: Besides the luxury of a fresh look, membership is paramount: How to draw in new members; how to give service to current, local members.
  3. What overall “look and feel”?
  4. What handful of major concepts were to be accomplished — i.e., what handful of menu picks would be across the top bar?
  5. Back end work.
    1. US Mensa offers hosting space, but they don’t offer the database hosting that will be necessary for WordPress. Some research, a little extra code, and the database was put to a different domain over which there is mySQL (database) control.  Then, getting them to talk; and then to listen for each other
    2. Very next order of business is to install security protocols. This is perhaps more of an issue than many comprehend. By the evening of the third day — the third day! — fifteen percent of the hits were coming from out of the country. –And these were trying to guess the login information.
    3. For this very reason, all email addresses and phone numbers were to be scrubbed off of the website.  A contact page was placed, one that gave the ability to contact specific Members and Coordinators; but without any revealing email information.
    4. Structure is now in place, with provision for about  half dozen menu-pick sections.
  6. Incorporated both static presentation information, and a member-interactive section. –The blog section of posts.
    1. Quandry: How to do this such that a volume of information is still kept coordinated? The Puzzles section, for example, had been wildly popular.  So, a quick resource link to go quickly to this section was important, and placed.
    2. Incorporating an ability for members to be the contributors.
    3. Accommodating for multiple categories. Personally, I had missed the 4M’s Funny papers, so I thought to include one section for humor. And then another section for everything else. So this now employed three pages and category selections.
    4. More category concepts came to mind, and the three pages yielded to a single-page “tag” structure — more elegant, and more flexible than categories, with the organization now presented as “Choose a tag category” — multiple of which could now be created on the fly.
  7. Pages:
    1. Main page.
    2. The 4M page, linking to US Mensa’s log in firewall to accomplish the dual goal of disclosure (of calendar) and privacy (of calendar).  All the old 4M issues were linked, creating a representative image for each.
    3. Join Us information, with links to National’s information
    4. Leadership section, photoshopping “pencilized version” of each person’s photo, having a photo for each, such that members can readily recognize others, BUT, not being searchable. (Did you know that photos are searchable on the web?)
    5. Blog structure — later named Musings when it became a single, encompassing link.
    6. Contact page, with significant tie-in to Leadership page, with ability to contact specific Committee or Coordinator (or General inquiry). As an aside, this was initially constructed to email each of those chosen individuals at their own specific email address. This was deemed too complex, both for the construction, and for maintenance going forward.
  8.  At this point, I attended the Hollywood AG; and chose a meeting on web and digital production. Though the structure was all but done, came away with significant, and deeper new ideas how to structure the website. It was here that the community participation was understood to be critical; and the number of categories bloomed (artwork, poetry, you-name-it), leading to the creation of the tag structure.
    1. Mensa for kids also became understood a critical addition.
    2. And the placing of this, as well as other commonly viewed structures, had to be given a place, front and center, page one.
  9. Mensa for kids was added, which took a significant amount of research to do properly, presenting, and linking to — and reviewing — some of the various resources.
  10. The Join Us page was altered to accommodate new understandings from the AG presentation — again, with the prime purpose to clearly present who we are, and how to become us.
  11. Structure done, now some important back-end things:
    1. SEO (Search engine optimization) was added, and each of the pages was reworked to optimize this reach. Besides the goal of making us more attractive to place higher in search engine results, each of those pages renderings (listing title and blurb) were written to be more meaningful to one who would inquire.
    2. Google Analytics were added to ultimately know which pages were the ones most requested, enabling us to ultimately “serve up” the most meaningful information.
    3. And last, but not least (trite, yes I know; but true in this case), the site was analyzed through tools at Google to see how they render the site. They returned errors they did not like. These were corrected, and ultimately, we then formalized the request to be added to their system — giving us a more favorable set of responses.

Best regards,
Don Chinnici

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