Category Archives: How To

Posts containing advice for members of the web team

Ringing for Peace: Document/Poster

Please see the document/poster via the link below.  As part of the ringing initiative, Ringing for Peace, please print copies of these out, to display/make accessible to congregation members.

All you need to do is change the email address so it is relevant to your tower.

If anyone needs assistance doing this, please let me know.

Contact Peter Murdock-Saint


Ringing for Peace Battles Over Self Fill

Posting by Email to the website – FAQs

Can I include photos?

Yes, just put them into the text where you want them to appear on the web page. If you put several side by side, they will become a “gallery”.

Can I attach a pdf, for example a poster?

Yes. Please make sure you don’t include any personal information such as a telephone number or email address, though.

Can I set a feature image?

Unfortunately not, one of the webmasters will have to do that for you. Just include the photo at the top of the message, and they can move it up for you manually.

Can I post for another tower?

Yes. Just include the correct category for the tower you are writing about, such as:

[category hinton admiral]

More help needed?


This post was posted by email. As you can see, hot links, bold and italic text are easy to do!

How to post the weekly news to Facebook

Copy this URL:

Go to each Facebook group in turn and paste the URL into the “post” window. If you have time to write a short message about one of the news items, more members will click through.

The groups are:

When to post the news to Facebook:

As soon as possible after the email versions have been released. Posting too soon might mean members missed some news that was posted at the last moment.

How to post a cancellation

The Heading

Go for something that will immediately inform the viewer what is cancelled. Include the date, place, and what the event is cancelled.

  • Practice at Lower Wittering Cancelled on June 8th
  • ZZ District Outing on Sept 8th Cancelled
  • No practices at Little Wittering until further notice
  • No Sunday Ringing at Greater Wittering until June 10th

The Featured Image

There is a banner just saying “CANCELLED” which is eye catching.

The content

Is usually just a message about the cancellation. I usually omit “because the band are all on holiday” as that is personal information and this is a public website. I do include a contact name though. If possible, the person who sent the information in.

Understanding The Categories

  • If you think it’s of interest across the whole Guild, HEADLINE.
  • If the cancellation mentions a tower, the tower’s name.
  • If it was a district event, the particular district’s name.
  • USE A DATE STAMP – for the date the event is NOT taking place. Use the actual date stamp (eg 2018 Dec 20th-26th) in most cases.
  • You MAY occasionally need”1 THIS WEEK” if the cancellation relates to a series of weeks starting from now. Other categories such as THIS MONTH will achieve nothing and the post will not be correctly displayed.
  • If it is a Peal/Quarter report, use PERFORMANCE.

Examples of categories:

  • Practice at Lower Wittering Cancelled on June 8th LOWER WITTERING, 2018 Jun 07th- Jun 13th, CANCELLATION
  • ZZ District Outing on Sept 8th Cancelled ZZ DISTRICT EVENT, 2018 Sep 07th- Sep 13th, CANCELLATION, HEADLINES
  • No practices at Little Wittering until further notice  LITTLE WITTERING, 1 THIS WEEK, CANCELLATION
  • No Sunday Ringing at Greater Wittering until June 10th  GREATER WITTERING, 1 THIS WEEK, CANCELLATION

How to Post a News Report

The Heading

Go for something that will get your target audience to open the post and read it! if in doubt, make it a summary of the content itself (eg Report of the June CS District Practice at Hinton)

The Featured Image

This really helps! Photos from the event itself are obvious choices. Decorative words and phrases are good too.

The content

Be positive, be truthful, and don’t put any personal contact details in – ALWAYS link to a person’s contact page instead.

The Categories

  • If you think it’s of interest across the whole Guild, HEADLINE. This is used on the majority of reports . If in doubt, use it.
  • If the report mentions a tower, the tower’s name.
  • If it was a district event, the particular district’s name.
  • DONT USE A DATE STAMP – these are designed for future event invitations not reports of past events.
  • If it is a Peal/Quarter report, use PERFORMANCE.


Twenty second Training How to use “date stamp” categories correctly

  1. They are intended for FUTURE events only, not for news reports.
  2. 99% of the time, you need to tick the specific date stamp (eg 2018 Apr 21st-27th) not the top category (1 THIS WEEK or 1 CURRENT MONTH).

PS that’s all you need to know if your post relates to an event on a particular day.

If your news is about a series of events, the website doesn’t handle it quite so elegantly. But ticking “1 THIS WEEK” will keep your news at the top of the date lists until it is archived. So if it’s a weekly practice that’s cancelled for a whole month, for example, that’s perfect.

If your news is a list of 4 events over one year, then the website will present them far better if you make 4 separate news items!

Ticking “1 CURRENT MONTH” won’t do much. The programs will drop your news to the bottom of the event lists.

If you’re unsure, please send me a link to the post once it is live and I can check it!


How to quote addresses from on Posters and letters

As a general rule, it is helpful to quote the shortest working version of a website address. This makes it easier for people to type into their browser, and looks neater and more professional.

There are 3 easy ways to shorten an address:

  1. Start with (no need for the https:// part)
  2. If the address has numbers embedded (in the form of a date stamp) , they can also be omitted.
  3. The slash at the end (99% of the time) can be omitted.

If the address of a page is to be quoted often, it can also be given a shorter URL manually if needed. PLEASE ASK!!

Examples: becomes becomes becomes

How to Prepare the Weekly News


  1. To create an easily-navigated summary of the news for all members who opt in, to know what’s on and what’s interesting. It is suitable to be sent out on a weekly basis (currently Weds/Thurs) via email and Facebook.
  2. To inspire members who wish to, to ring more frequently, and to aim for a higher standard.


  1. To draw members’ attention to new events
  2. To summarise all known events and allow members to click for more information
  3. To share news which is traditionally cascaded down through the “normal” channels, generated by the Guild committees, District Committees, Towers, CCCBR, ART and other external bellringing organsiations
  4. To encourage all event organisers to share their own information (from practice night cancellations through to special practices)
  5. To share specially written news (for example writeups of events, significant performances etc) which otherwise might only reach a small audience.
  6. To drive traffic from members onto the website


Start with the email you received from last week’s news edition, you can click through from that onto old material or anything needing alteration. The minimum jobs to create a sensible weekly news are:

  1. All posts which went out as top slot last week need to be reduced to headline (if they are future events) or de-topslot-ed and archived (if news).
  2. All events which are now in the past need to be archived. The clever way to do this is described below – if you want a simple approach, just tick “archive” on all these posts. This will take them out of all news streams.
  3. If you are confident to do so, please do the date stamp cascade.
  4. All newly received news items need to be added to the website.
  5. After a short while (can be up to 30 minutes) all these changes will cascade through the news feeds and you are free to send out the weekly news.


The Date Stamp Cascade

Once a week, some time between Saturday and Wednesday, the date stamps should  be shuffled up in a “they all roll over and one fell out” manner. The following series of instructions and images explains this – please allow an hour the first time you do this. It is believed to be the most complex task on the website!!! If you are just putting out the weekly news as a one-off it can be left for a week with no ill effects, as long as you have marked as “archive” all past events.

The “1 THIS WEEK” category will contain a date stamp for a completed week and almost all the events will need to be archived. The screen shot below is from the category editor  and is being viewed after the 16th of March, so it is likely that all 13 items should be archived. Click the number (in this case the 13) to display all the relevant posts. Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.17.23

See below for the post editor.  Click the box beside “Title” to select ALL the posts BUT check visually that all should actually be archived. Sometimes posts are ongoing and need to be left as news. Untick any like that. Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.20.15

Then select the Bulk Action “EDIT”, search within the page for the word “archive” and tick the archive category and click UPDATE.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.25.03

Now go back to the category editor,  it is time to CAREFULLY delete the date stamp 2018 Mar 10th-16th entirely. To do this, hover over it and select the option “delete”. The category will disappear forever, but the 13 posts involved will be undamaged.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.26.56

Now it is time to correctly allocate the current week to “1 THIS WEEK”.  I am writing this on March 19th so the date stamp 2018 Mar 17th-23rd should be under “1 THIS WEEK” but is sitting under “2 NEXT WEEK” at the moment. Hover over it and select EDIT

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.31.54

This will move you to the screen shown below.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.32.46

Click on the parent category of 2 NEXT WEEK and change it to 1 THIS WEEK and press UPDATE.

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.35.09

Now return to the cateogry editor.  Now the next date stamp, in this case 2018 Mar 24th-30th, needs to have its parent set to 2 NEXT WEEK:

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.36.32

Now the gaps left by each move will need to be filled, until the date stamps are all in the correct slots.

The screen shot below shows a correct set of date stamps in this week, next week, rest of this month, and next month. They should show the following date stamps:

1 THIS WEEK – the current date stamp for today.

2 NEXT WEEK – the date stamp for a week today.

3 REST OF THIS MONTH – the next 2 stamps

4 NEXT MONTH – the next 4 stamps

1 MONTH AFTER NEXT – the next 4 stamps

LONG TERM INVITATION (other) – the next 4 stamps

It is sensible to create one new future stamp to replace the one you deleted – if you forget, you will have to do it when the first event is posted for that future week. The image below shows the correct set of date stamps in place on 19th March 2018. Please note one-digit numbers are preceded by zero to help the dates sort in a correct manner. Month names sadly don’t work properly so Jun shows before May. Oh well!!!

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 11.57.31


How to find a recent post…

… even if you have only just posted it, or the categories are incorrect so it isn’t appearing where you expected:

  1. The 5 most recent posts are listed in the footer section of every page. They appear instantly rather than having the usual time lag.
  2. All posts (draft, scheduled and published) can be found in the editor window
  3. Here is a list of the 100 most recent posts. This list does suffer from time lag.

How to use nested Sub-categories together with display-posts code

This code:

display-posts category=”0″

will pick up any posts which have the category of “0” checked, which is no posts at all on this site.

display-posts taxonomy=”category” tax_term=”0″

will pick up any posts which have any sub-category of “0” checked, which is almost everything on this site as “0” is parent/ancestor to most of the important categories.

This is not a bug, it is actually quite useful but you need to know the difference!!!

we use display-posts quite happily with up to 6 levels of nesting.

RM April 2017

How To Set Up a Cluster of Towers on the website

A Cluster is a group of towers that work closely together, and who would like to have a shared news stream on the website. If you want to set one up you will need to:

    1. Create a new CATEGORY with the cluster’s name as its name, and make all the affected towers into SUB-CATEGORIES of the new cluster category (this is important for merging the news streams).
    2. Create a new POST with the cluster’s name as its name. An example is Candover Valley Ringers. This gives the cluster it’s own URL – in this case, it would be Use the categories CLUSTER INFORMATION and the relevant cluster and tower names. Most clusters sit wholly inside one District so use the District’s category as well. This puts the correct menu on the left hand side, and adds the District news on the right. A nice feature image helps. Has the band already got a logo?
    3. Create a new WIDGET by copying the code from another cluster, and change the name of the cluster throughtout, and the ids of the tower pages.

That is the absolute minimum for a new cluster! Good luck! You might also want to:

  1. Create a “learn to ring” post for the cluster (if you make it cluster information, it will be displayed at the top of the widget), as well as on each of the towers’ home pages)
  2. Move all the towers to the new tower page layout.
  3. Have an overall cluster correspondent, displayed on the home page. Edit the person’s contact page, adding “cluster correspondent” and the relevant cluster name to the categories for that person.

How to find a Tower in a New Area

Whether you are on holiday, moving house or moving to University, you may be hunting for a band of ringers to join for Sunday or Practice Nights. Here’s a five minute guide to how to do it:

Search for a tower by Postcode…

Dove Online (the database of towers which covers the whole world) has a Postcode Search on this page: You can look in 5 mile radius or further afield.

… Or Search for a tower by town/village name

If you don’t have a postcode then start on the home page of Dove

Now Find out more about the likely towers

By one of those routes, you should now have a list of towers with very basic information (Practice Night, Number of Bells, Tenor Weight). Clicking on a tower’s name will give you the full page of information – check the “additional information” in case the bells are out of action for any reason.

Map of the Isle of Wight taken from Dove. Click for interactive
Click to enlarge map

The Google Map option can be very helpful – you will see not just a map of the tower, but also all the nearby towers. Click a tower’s icon on the Dove map if you want Google to give you Directions…

Jump to the local website

Where the local ringers have a local website (it could be a Guild, District or Tower site), Dove may list a URL for it – fingers crossed this should work, and you will hope to find more about the band including the all important Contact Information…

Get in Touch

If your visit to the tower is going to entail planning and travel, then it will be disappointing if you find that there is no practice or service ringing this week… and not all towers keep their web page(s) spotlessly up to date. So you are advised to ring/email beforehand just to check.

If there is no URL given on the Dove page…

Then some more detective work can be helpful:

  • TCCCBR NEW LOGO 2016ry the “Affiliation” link on the Dove page. This will send you to the CCCBR directory of Guild Websites and you should be able to find at least some local information there.
  • If you cannot find any contact information for the tower itself (and Guild websites do vary on this) District or Guild officers are usually more than happy to give you the benefit of their local knowledge.
  • Googling a church can be fruitful – the church’s own website often has contact information for the ringers.
  • Ifacebook logo smallf all else fails, ask your local ringing friends (you would be surprised how well travelled some of your local friends may be!) either on Facebook or in person.

And if you don’t like computers…

..dovecoverimage you probably would like to own a copy of Dove’s Guide in its original book form. This is currently £15.




How to add to a tower’s “website”

A tower has a home page for basic information (bells, contact, ringing times, postcode and church website).

It also has a widget either of its own or shared with others in a cluster.

A cluster would have one post for CLUSTER INFORMATION with a nice feature image which will be used as the home page on the widget. 

The cluster needs a category of its own (eg Bournemouth) and all the member towers need to be made subcategories of the cluster. Thus a tower cannot be a member of 2 different clusters. A member may be outside the guild – see Rochringers widget for how to program this. Out of courtesy to the other guild, such towers do not have a home page on our site but they have a news category. See Crondall. 

The band is free to add up to ten extra pages of information, all should carry the tower’s own category and the correct district category plus TOWER and TOWER INFORMATION. 

  • The ringing times post should be categorised TOWER BELL RINGING TIMES. If there is an embedded Google calendar then also tick CALENDAR PAGE. This will be embedded into the home page and the widget. You can control the layout of an extract see Christchurch Priory Ringing times for an example.
  • It is sensible to have a learn to ring at.. page which will be displayed in the tower page, the widget and the Guilds learn to ring area which is aimed at potential recruits. Category LEARN TO RING.
  • Visiting ringers like to have parking and disabled access information. Think about what makes access challening – is the entrance hard to find – is the obvious car park closed on Sundays etc etc – These can be put together or on 2 separate pages and the 2 categories and PARKING and ACCESS.  
  • Many bells have an interesting history – category HISTORY.
  • Other pages can be added as desired.

    A new post may be intended to be news to start with them become information- in which case tick both sets of categories and then drop off the NEWS category after a week. 

    Old tower information posts can be archived not deleted.

    How to Post News of a long term item about a Tower.


    When you want something to display on a Tower’s page for several months or more, it would be TOWER INFORMATION. This item clearly affects BELL RINGING TIMES because there are now none, and TANGLEY and  ANDOVER DISTRICT.

    In order to bring this to the notice of other members of the District, it is also NEWS, CANCELLATION, but only until you reckon they will have seen it (about a fortnight) at which point those 2 categories will be removed and it will only appear on the tower’s own Widget until it is archived.

    ** Not all towers have this type of clever widget yet – if in doubt please check or the news may get lost unless one is made. By the end of 2016, all towers should be upgraded to cope with this.

    How To Post News about Peals and Quarters

    The Headline:

    Should contain the reason that this particular performance is news.

    The Categories:

    • News
    • The specific tower and District where the performance was rung;
    • One of Tower/District/Guild (depending who organised it, usually Tower)
    • The organising Tower (if you didn’t ring it at home)
    • Performance (This links it to the page where are peals and quarters are displayed)
    • Headline (If it is one. Think about whether you want everyone to see it, or just members of a particular District)
    • Bellboard (if you want to copy information out of bellboard or link to it)

    You might want others such as WW1, Young Ringers, Surprise Minor, etc etc…the more you use, the more widely across the website the news will be displayed.

    The Tags:

    Please use the appropriate tag(s) for the method(s) rung. As you start writing the tag, suggestions will pop up – if it’s a new method to the website then you will have to type in the whole name. Please be specific – Cambridge Surprise Major not just Cambridge.

    The feature Image:

    A picture of the band or of the person achieving a particular milestone, or one of the pictures from the media library of the church where it was rung.

    The Post Contents:

    The introduction – should explain what the news value of the performance is, maybe give some background.

    We have permission to copy information and images from Bellboard. Be careful with the layout though because the rope numbers tend to run into the names. Copying from the pdf version of the page can make this easier. It is worth copying this across because it helps to build an archive on our site of what people are up to.


    How To Post the Weekly News


    To offer to each member of the Guild a tailored version of the current news and events, which starts with their most local information.

    Time Needed:

    About 10 minutes once you have got used to it. Maybe 30 the first time? Usually this is posted around 5pm on a Friday but can be any time from noon Wednesday to noon Thursday.

    Before You Can Share News:

    You need to be a member of the target network, and logged in to it.


    1. Facebook Groups: copy the URL of the weekly news page and paste into each group.
    2. Yahoo Email Groups: Visit the Yahoo-compatible news page and copy the contents. Make sure you are logged into yahoo as and visit the home page for the Guild’s yahoo groups Paste the news into each group in turn, adding an appropriate subject line. This is easy from a computer, harder from a phone where you will need to log in to gmail on your browser and switch to desktop mode.
    3. Google Goups:  Visit the main news page and copy the contents. Go to the google groups home page!myforums. Make sure you are logged in as Open the link to each **STARRED** group in a new tab (this will open a box for a new topic) and paste the news into the “new topic” box. Add an appropriate subject eg “Weekly News Friday 15th March”.

    How to control the “excerpt” of a post which is used by Display_Posts

    Sometimes you don’t want an excerpt to just be the first few words of a post , minus any formatting. A hand-written excerpt can contain html terms such as hot links. Here is an example:

    [display-posts id=”235260″ include_excerpt=”true” ]

    Gives this excerpt:

    “post editor”

    Note on Excerpts of posts They are edited by clicking “more options” on the left of the screen, and using the EXCERPT box


    “admin editor” (black screen)

    Edit using the box under the “Writing Helper”.

    There is more on excerpts here

    How to Retrieve a copy of an email you sent via a contact form

    Some time ago, my predecessor as webmaster asked me whether the website could be tweaked to send a copy of emails to the writer, not just the single copy it currently sends to the recipient. I couldn’t answer the question at that time, but have just worked out a “Not perfect, but better than nothing” solution. Unfortunately the answer to the question is still, strictly speaking, “no”! Sorry!

    Retrieving an old message (if it isn’t too long ago) doesn’t provide a way to automatically copy emails to the person who is sending them, but the emails you send are not lost for ever. Directly after you send one, WordPress displayed a screen showing the message that you sent, and THIS page is still accessible for a while, via your browser history. Here’s how to all your recently sent emails:

    • Open your browser and search the History for the words contact sent.
    • You should see a list of any emails you have sent since you last cleared out your browser history. The title of the pages (eg Contact Fred Bloggs) is displayed, and the date you sent the message
    • Click the one you want
    • The message you sent should be on that page. You can copy it to a safe place, or print it, or whatever.

    Keeping a copy of a new message as you sent it (safer)

    To avoid any chance of losing an email you sent via the website, you could copy the text you wrote, as soon as the “message sent” page is displayed, and email it to yourself.

    Rosalind July 2016

    How to do a Daily Webmaster Update

    1. Check the dashboard menu for comments which need approval before they are published.
    2. Check the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild Facebook Group for any new news.
    3. Check the Portsmouth District Group for Tower News (Lisa Ashforth does the District News)
    4. Check the C&S Facebook group (but Graham may get there first!)
    5. Check Isle of Wight Facebook Group (John Stock may get there first)
    6. Check Bellboard for any news-worthy performances. Not exactly straightforward because not all members use the Guild as the nominated association. Useful searches are: Performances rung for the Guild; Performances rung in Hampshire (careful, some are Guildford Guild);  Isle of Wight; and the Channel Islands.
    7.  Check the inbox for any directly mailed news items.
    8. And finally, archive any invitations which refer to past events.


    How to choose the correct category (out of Tower, District and Guild)

    I can’t think of a situation where you would need to use more than one of these on a single post….

    They refer to who organised the ringing event, so TOWER is for stuff initiated by tower captains; DISTRICT is for stuff originated by district committees, and GUILD is for stuff organised by the Exec, or events which are specifically for ALL members to attend.

    It’s important to choose the right one because a lot of the news feeds use these for sorting purposes and it helps members if similar news items are grouped together on this increasingly busy website!!!

    Here’s an example: If you change the time of a practice at Privett, then the categories would be:
    The last category ensures that everyone across the district who visits the website (or in future who receives the A&P weekly news) will see your post, as well as people visiting the Privett Home Page.

    If you organised a District Practice at Privett, the categories would be:
    That way, it would be listed at the top of the District’s news feeds, as it should be, to catch people’s eye.

    If the Guild organised an event at Privett then it would be:
    PRIVETT, GUILD, INVITATION and for most of its life HEADLINES as well. It would not carry the ALTON AND PETERSFIELD DISTRICT category because it is really nothing to do with the district and all members of all districts are equally welcome to it.


    How to Draft a news item, ask for feedback, and make it “live” later on

    If you want to work on posts gradually over a few days, and especially if you want other people to contribute, the easiest way is to leave out the categories, and publish the draft and revisions as you go. Once you have published the draft, you can get its address by using the green “View Post” button, copy the web address from the top bar of your browser, and send that to the people you need feedback from.

    Bear in mind that the image picked up by Facebook/Yahoo Groups will be the first one you chose (including none at all) so it’s best to fix that before you publish the first draft.

    When you are happy with it, set the correct CATEGORIES and it will appear on all the relevant pages of the website.

    How To… Shrink a “featured image” to make it display properly

    You will need to be logged into WordPress with at least “Editor” rights in order to do this. Also you need to be using the computer inteface with WordPress because the app version of the media library does not allow photo editing.

    1. Load the Media Library Page (The Admin (black page) version, not the “lite” (Blue) version)
    2. Click on the image you want to resize
    3. Click the “edit image” button
    4. On the right, reduce the “Dimensions”. Featured Images need to be maximum 300 pixels high in order to avoid being cropped. To avoid sizeways crops, reduce width to 650 pixels.
    5. Hit the “Scale” button to actually make the change live.
    6. This will affect all posts where the image is used, without any further changes being necessary, so next time you load the post, the image should be properly sized.

    Note – images can also be cropped in the media library editor – select the part of the image you want to display, and then hit the “crop” icon to confirm.

    How to Get the Best from Social Media

    How to Get the Best from Social Media

    “We get the best out of it by sharing stories, gathering information, asking for advice, giving advice, looking for individuals to talk to, pointing to our websites, advertising our Events …

    Making people feel as though they have a real connection”

    Social Media feels ethereal and intangible to folks who don’t use it, however it is an enormous engine driving business, shifting goods both solid for e.g. Ebay and Amazon and invisible for e.g. money and shares by pointing to companies websites, Apps and advertising campaigns.

    Social Media, also helps small businesses, Charities and Interest Groups ,of which we are one, by giving us a presence to a far reaching audience for free, Gratis. On Twitter we talk to Australia, New Zealand, America and all over the UK. Our recent ‘Firsts Fortnight ‘ Initiative was known all over and has inspired other Guilds to try it out and there has even been whispers of making it a national event. This is one of the best ways of using Social Media and would be of huge use to our community by promoting Bellringing, giving us a focus for events and driving news content to the Media and our own websites.

    Our Social Media consists of Facebook and Twitter and that is quite enough for the average age of our members.

    How we make use of Social Media is by connecting to all our friends in the Bell-ringing world by ‘liking’ and ‘following’ them.

    Then we get the best out of it by sharing stories, gathering information, asking for advice, giving advice, looking for individuals to talk to, pointing to our websites, advertising our Events and making people feel as though they have a real connection with the hierarchy which makes them feel involved which in turn creates loyalty.   The ‘Shang ri la’ of all groups, bodies and organisations.

    It’s a sort of multi coloured, multi sense engaging email that can whip up support for your event. Twitter can hook you directly into your local radio stations and  local /regional TV and newspapers.

    And it’s free!

    Our Guild’s Facebook Group is a safe closed environment for information, discussions and comment watched over by the admin team. The rules of be nice and think twice before you post are well observed and a credit to us and that is how you always get the best out of Social Media.

    For Details Visit

    Using The Guild Website to Strengthen Your Band

    Using The Guild Website to Strengthen Your Band

    The key audience for the website is members of our Guild. Historically, the Guild’s website has been a good source of up to date and accurate information about our Towers, Contacts, and District and Guild Events, and carefully integrated with Dove Online.

    The new Guild website still delivers this objective, however it has the potential to do more than that because it has at its core a powerful and flexible news management system. It gives you the opportunity to post your tower’s news and events, photos and videos, invitations, achievements and plans. The website is suitable for…

    1. Communicating with Ringers

    Imagine if all the people who might potentially ring with you in your tower, had easy access to your tower notice board. What would they see? Reminders of important dates? The occasional cancellation? Recent peals and quarters? Blue lines for your current methods? Phone Number of the Tower Secretary?

    You probably already use email or word of mouth to get this news out to your usual crowd, but by also emailing your news to for inclusion on the website, you can reach any visitors who might be planning to ring with you, plus all the other towers in your District…

    It’s a small effort to email news in, but might one extra skilled visitor at your practice night make a big difference? And don’t you worry about visitors who might turn up to an empty churchyard, when you cancel a practice?

    2. Communicating with your Congregation

    You probably have a poster on the main church notice board, and write about ringing sometimes for your Parish Magazine.

    Many of the readers, especially younger ones, will automatically go online if they want to know more about you. If you have your own tower website, you probably quote a link to it in all your wider communications. If not, why not quote your tower’s address on Your readers will find all your news, pictures (and perhaps videos) there, all the information they need to contact you, all of which informs them and enables them to form an accurate mental picture of “their” band. No more mental pictures of flying monks! Replace that fantasy with reality! 

    One church member who recently looked at a Tower’s  page ended up spending an hour browsing through other pages on the site.

    Your tower’s web address is very succinct.    



    3. Communicating with Potential Recruits

    When you make the effort to find recruits, you want them to get a clear picture of bell ringing and what they might experience if they become a bell ringer at your tower. The elusive “young recruit” in particular, is probably a sophisticated user of websites, You tube and social networking. The website is designed to support recruitment in several ways:

    • Easy to use from smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers & even smart televisions
    • Easy to navigate (all 1300+ pages of it), with context aware menus , cross referencing and powerful searches
    • Thoughtful use of colour, videos, photos, and logos to shake off our “boring” image
    • Closely integrated with Facebook and Twitter
    • Designed to be Search Engine Friendly
    • A dedicated “Learn to Ring” section with reference to EVERY TOWER that we are aware is currently recruiting and/or training new ringers.
    • A short address for your tower page that you can include in press releases and posters, plus:
    • Extremely flexible design means you can have as many tower pages as you wish, enabling you to target a page particularly at non-ringers, and quote THAT page address on your printed literature and press releases.

    One of our recent recruits came forward after seeing a website news item about a new Saturday class starting up.

    4. Building Personal Ringing Skills

    Sooner or later, most ambitious ringers need to spread their wings and ring away from home. Some bands are experiencing difficult times and unable to scaffold their learners beyond the basics, while others are regularly practicing advanced methods and able to help visitors to learn. To save you randomly visiting all your local practice nights to find what you need, the website gathers together practice night reports, invitations to Guild training courses, and information about residential courses. You can look at these by District or by method type – for example, visit the page, or use the “Search” button and look for the method YOU are currently working on…. To join in the support of ambitious ringers, why not:

    Post short news items about your recent successful practice, including what was rung. This will enable local ringers to find you! Don’t be put off if your ringing is basic – a recent survey in C&S District found that 50% of ringers say they are still working on basics (defined as up to “learning my second method”) and some of those are VERY keen to visit other towers!

    If you have a “method of the month”, let people know in a news item. Good ideas are catching – nearby towers may start to learn it too!

    When you enjoy visiting another tower, write a short news item about it.

    Visit and you may be surprised by how many invitations are posted there at any one time.

    Visit the website

    Email your news to

    How to quote the address of a web page

    Some (hopefully helpful) technical information about the address of pages and posts:
    If you need to refer to an address on the website, the date element of a news item is not needed, so for example the address can be given as
    – The address is by default the same as the title of the item but it can also be another address, and can be a conveniently shorter. **This needs to be decided before the item is posted on the site if we are not to create broken links. ** So the above post could have been addressed
    You can bag an address and quote it before a news item is created, and the webmaster posting it can retrofit it to make the link work. Just let us know if you need that to be done. This is VERY useful on posters – you can put a nice short address for further information at the bottom of the poster, and then it can be subsequently put on the website. **Please try out the address and make sure it is free, first!

    How to check a Post you have just added to the website

    We’ve all suffered the frustration of posting news and NOT seeing it appear immediately in the relevant news feeds.

    This is normal – it can take up to 45 minutes – but means you might want to visit the POSTS PAGE to see your post is as it should be.

    The POSTS page is part of the “dashboard” side of the website management system, and shows you:

    • The posts, most recent first
    • The categories and tags you have used
    • An extract of the text
    • The author (click on this and you will see a list of ALL that author’s posts – can be very handy!)

    Clicking on the name of the post will take you into the ADMIN VERSION OF THE EDITOR which is slightly different from the one you may be familiar with. To access the usual editor, click PREVIEW then the little word EDIT under the title of the post, as usual.

    Clicking Quick Edit lets you update tags and categories.

    Clicking Trash is not recommended – once a post is out of date please archive it.

    Click here to see the posts page

    How to use to support your recruitment

    Have an up to date Web Page and News Feed

    If a wannabe ringers finds your web page on using Google, then will they be impressed? How would you do on this checklist? If you are seiously trying to recruit, it is worth putting effort into maintaining your web presence. But that may be why you are on this training course!

    • An attractive photo of your tower or your band as Feature Image
    • Other photos on your page(s)
    • A video or sound recording of your bells
    • An item about how to learn to ring at your tower
    • An advertisement for a forthcoming training course
    • Recent news to let them know you are alive and kicking
    • An embedded (correct!) calendar of your ringing times
    • An embedded twitter feed
    • Phone number, name and email form
    • Recent news mentioning learners (helps non-ringers to visualise themselves learning)
    • Mutual links to the Church website – this can be to a learner-friendly page on your “website” within

    Remember a phone user will see a small version of your page with the news underneath so they will make their minds up based on what they see in the first minute or two….

    Plan a series of lessons for beginners and advertise it on posters locally and online.

    beginners bell ringing cxourse wickhamThis worked for Wickham… they displayed it in the 5 nearest villages and also let all sorts of local media and organizations know (including the local Adult Education who listed their course)

    Wickham Poster pdf

    Wickham poster pptx

    They backed this up with an excellent website, easy to find on Google.

    Even better to put a link to your page at the bottom of the poster! Link together all your advertising for maximum effect.

    Use Social Media as well


    Facebook – post a link to the website news item about your training course, in appropriate places on Facebook that you think non-ringers might see.

    Twitter – tweet your poster and the details and web link – this has delivered learners to the Birmingham School of Bellringing

    Meetup – this worked for the Docklands Ringing Centre.

    For more ideas about social media and recruitment ask Deb!

    Link together all your advertising for maximum effect.

    And Get High Retention

    At the Priory we have recruited 7 people in 2 batches and retained 5 of them – we are proud of this and technology forms an important aspect of our retention policy.

    • We send a weekly news sheet to everyone in the band by email and learners feel included in what is going on even if they can’t participate in everything
    • We remind each learner about each 1-1 training session by text. It’s a fiddle but we believe it really increases participation
    • We post regular news items about what we are up to – again this helps to make people feel part of the band, and allows parents of the children to have a clue what they are up to!
    • A fresh poster of ringing times goes up in the church porch every month or so, with a website address etc

    Non-technical retention stuff is important as well:

    • Be honest at the start – ringing is very difficult to learn and progress is slow.
    • Run 1-1 training for as long as they need it and slot extra ones in later if they need it.
    • Be aware of discouragement especially in adult learners. It is almost universal. See Steve Coleman’s excellent recent article in RW. ENCOURAGE and LISTEN is the message!
    • Take learners to other towers when appropriate – our District Youth Practice includes the bell handling stage and youngsters love it. We also had one learners outing to the nearest tower and this was a ball! Learners from others towers came too.
    • Run a learners practice as well as a normal practice – this makes for an exhausting 2hr evening but it is so popular there is a queue of learners at the door each week, however early we arrive!
    • Provide a learning ladder. Once the learners outstrip the band be prepared to take them to more advanced practices.



    How to issue a weekly news sheet to your members

    Weekly news sheets came into existence because the sad reality is your busy members won’t remember to visit the website regularly unless they are reminded. There has been a weekly sheet in C&S for several years now and the members pile onto the website within hours of its issue – there is always a big spike in “hits” on news day!

    I believe that a regular news feed adds 300% value to a website. In other words, it quadruples the effectiveness of the event adverts.

    All the news sheets that the team currently issue contain local, Guild and national news, in that order. The philosophy is that we are trying to create a sense of belonging for ordinary ringers – they are part of a wider community of ringers that many of them are unaware of. Members of C&S love this – they feel included, they find it interesting, and now decide to attend events, training courses and residential holidays without any nagging….

    There are lots of pre-made pages which are intended to be used as news sheets, and if you want one for your tower/district/special interest then please ask!!!

    It takes about 3 minutes to send out a news sheet unless it is a yahoo group – they are dealt with at the end of this post. To start with I will assume you are using a google group or a simple email list.

    Email Method (non-Yahoo-Group)

    1. Open a window to send your email – this might be a google group window or a simple email window if it’s just your band.
    2. The SUBJECT is your choice – something like “Fiddlecombe Bell Ringing News May 44th” works!
    3. Open the news feed’s page
    4. Copy the contents of the page
    5. Paste into the email box
    6. Remove any bits you don’t want to send
    7. Add a personal message at the top – this is a nice touch.
    8. and Send

    The News Feed Pages

    And there are at present 2 tower-specific ones:

    Email method for Yahoo Groups

    … make a right pig’s ear of the layout. Unfortunately this means photos are much more time consuming to use. Double whammy – Win-Port is a Yahoo Group.

    1. Copy a photo-free version of your news feed such as this one which is the Headlines Only
    2. Open a new message for the group, create new message, add subject, personal message etc etc
    3. Paste the news
    4. go to the end of each headline and press “enter” and wait 5 seconds. A photo and extract will be added for you.
    5. Send



    1. Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 13.33.08Visit the page you want to send to Facebook.
    2. Go to the bottom and click the Facebook icon and a “share to Facebook” window will open.
    3. Click where it says “share to your own timeline” and select the appropriate group or page.
    4. Write in the “say something” box – this is essential as the preview is a dull one here because there is no “featured image” on this post. Facebook is not able to see the news you are sharing for technical reasons.