Last updated October 19th, 2023 at 11:37 am
The latest milestone in my (yikes) quarter century long relationship with the Southeastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA) was the development of their new WordPress-based membership website, which launched in July of this year.
SEBA, founded in 1983, is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote bluegrass music. SEBA accomplishes this mission through a variety of activities, including organizing and promoting bluegrass jams and bluegrass performances.
My involvement with SEBA began in the late 1990s — shortly after our family relocated to Georgia from the north — first as a member, and in short order, as a volunteer, helping maintain their original website.
In the early 2000s, I got promoted from volunteer to Head Web Guy and converted the original website from a series of patched-together static HTML pages to a dynamic site based on PHP in MySQL.
Over the course of the past 20 years, I had the pleasure of working with many different SEBA officers and other volunteers to progressively extend website functionality and to keep it running to serve the organization’s membership. Using custom programming, I implemented a number of features that allowed SEBA personnel to maintain the website themselves.
Goals of the New SEBA Website Project
Even though we had implemented a lot of functionality over the course of the past two decaces, many of the processes involved in operating the website still required time-consuming tasks by the volunteers, such as manually processing membership payments and renewals and keeping the membership database up-to-date.
A goal of the new project was to make an extremely user-friendly website that allows SEBA officers and volunteers to maintain as much of the content as possible by themselves while requiring minimal ongoing intervention by me.
Another major goal of the project was to build in membership functionality so that (a) people can join and pay for memberships online, (b) premium content — most especially digital versions of the organization’s monthly Bluegrass newsletter — could be made available to logged-in members and protected from the public, and (c) the site would reinforce and foster the community nature of the organization.
With the new website, people can join the organization (with either Personal or Business memberships) simply and immediately with a couple of mouse clicks. We also implemented a user-friendly membership directory system whereby members can publish their own membership profiles as a way to reinforce and foster the community nature of the organization.
About the Custom Post Types
If you’re new to WordPress Custom Post Types (“CPTs”), check out this blog post of mine that describes in layman’s terms what they are and why and when you’d use them.
I created four custom post types for the SEBA project:
Using Advanced Custom Fields for creating custom fields, I designed user-friendly back-end forms through which authorized logged-in users can add and edit posts for each post type (read how I restricted access to the Chapters post type here).
Here are screen shots of the front end and back end forms for Chapters and Directors.
A Team Effort
Huge thanks go out to Dan Daniel, long-time and current president of SEBA, and David Belcher, indefatigable newsletter editor who is an impressive amateur web developer in his own right, for all the long hours, hard work, and patience they applied to this project.
If you are a fan of Bluegrass music, whether you play an instrument or not, do consider checking out the website and joining the organization.