Site Renovation Underway!
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In November 2009 The New Coach Connection moderators, after months of planning,began a major overhaul of the look and feel of the site. The format is being updated and revitalized. We are switching to a WordPress theme, so many files have been moved. Obsolete files have been removed as well.
FIRST THERE WAS A YAHOO GROUP
This is not the first time the NCC site’s appearance was changed. The New Coach Connection Yahoo Group was launched in July 2001. Candye Hinton, NCC Founder and visionary, had connected with two groups of coaches, one in the USA and one in Australia, while conducting a 5-day workshop called Coaching As Your Next Career. They wanted to stay in touch after the workshop was over, so a new community was born. Back then professional coaching was not well known and so Yahoo Groups insisted it be placed in the sports section, where it remains today.
That Yahoo Group is still the core of the NCC community. We continue to hold to Candye’s vision of having a safe place where coaches and other solo professionals can receive support, learn new skills, ask questions, get help with problems, and build a thriving business. For the first several years it was the only place to connect. Our members now include many experienced coaches (some of the original members are still with us) as well as virtual assistants, consultants, trainers, web designers, professional speakers and writers and other small business owners. Here’s a screenshot of the Yahoo Groups home page for the New Coach Connection. (Visit NCC Yahoo Groups Home)
A WEBSITE IS BORN
This worked well, but there was no place to send people who were interested in learning more about the NCC community. So in March of 2004 Candye launched the first incarnation of the new coach Connection site. Now there was a place to introduce the group to others, share list policies, andprovide information about upcoming events. This is what the site looked like for its first several years.
BLOG ADDED TO OFFERING
In January 2007 Megan potter, the first NCC Blog Connector, approached Candye with the idea of adding a blog to the New Coach Connection offerings. Candye and other list moderators, the NCC Connectors, were excited about this opportunity.The new blog had its debut in February2007 and several NCC members joined the blog author4 team. Megan chose a completely different look for the blog, and even gave it a different name–Making Coach Connections. here is what it looked like.
FIRST ATTEMPT AT SITE INTEGRATION
For the first several months after adding the blog the main New Coach Connection site and the Making Coach Connections blog had completely different looks. The original blog theme,while visually stunning, was somewhat dark and difficult to read. Several members suggested that it would be preferable to integrate the look and feel of the site and the blog.So in November 2007 Don Morris, the NCC list manager and webmaster, created a new blog theme based on the News Portal WordPress theme, and created a custom template for the main site that closely resembled the blog’s theme. The name of the blog was changed from Making Coach Connections to simply new coach connection blog (in all lowercase). The two were similar, but had noticeable differences that were not visually pleasing. See both layouts below.
Compare with the blog theme launched at the same time. At first there were no ad banners for the blog, although these were later added and made the look somewhat closer than this original screenshot.
Kathy Mallary became the second NCC Blog Connector at about this time and served all of 2008. In January 2009 Adela Rubio became the third NCC Blog Connector.Both women helped shape the content and feel of the NCC Blog by their posts and their guidance of the blog author team. We have had quite a few author through the years, and would welcome anyone who wants to join the team.
The layout for the site and the blog did not change for about a year and a half. In the summer of 2009 Don experimented with a variety of new looks for the NCC Blog. Sometimes the blog’s theme was changed twice in one week. One promising theme was kept for about two months, but it perpetuated the problem that the main NCC site and the blog looked very different. During this time the custom template for the main site introduced in 2007 remained the same, but the blog looked like this.
The New Coach Connection removed all ad banners from the site and the blog in the summer of 2009, except the one to the company who provides us with our hosting account for free in exchange for placing a banner on every page. We receive no further compensation from Hostutopia. Our current policy is to accept no advertising, whether banners for Google Adwords. We also removed Amazon affilate links from book recommendations.
The NCC Connectors had been planning since early 2009 to integrate the main New Coach Connection site and the NCC Blog. The way we were gong to do this is by using the WordPress installation as a content management system for the whole site,not just the blog. This required replacing the site’s home page and several others to static pages in WordPress, not separate HTML documents. We used the feature in Wo9rdPress to show a static page as the home page, and created a new page for the blog entries to show up. The same links still work as before, but the backend is different.
The Find a Coach directory, the new name for the NCC Marketplace, uses a different PHP script, one called Particle links. Particles Links allows users to create custom skins, so a new one was created that matched the new magazine-style layout for the New Coach Connection and blog. As of the date of writing, December 1, 2009, there are still some tweaks to be made. But we are glad to finally have the look and feel of all the pages on the site to match much more closely than ever before. here’s a screenshot taken today.
So bear with us as we continue to make improvements. Please point out any broken links, typographical errors, or other issues you see. We are always glad to get feedback from our members. Use the handy form on the Contact Us page to send a message via email, or just post a comment on the discussion list.
We especially want to hear from anyone ho would like to join the blog author team.
Don H. Morris
For the NCC Connectors
Last modified December 1, 2009