This is the replay of a webinar covering the basics you need to understand to customize your home page, set up your meeting agenda, and begin using WordPress for Toastmasters productively. Conducted with help from Stephanie Nolan, who is helping organize a volunteer project to improve the documentation and training materials.
The first portion of the video was recorded after the fact for the simple reason that I forgot to turn on the Zoom recording function when the meeting started. You’ll see that partway through the opening presentation my webcam picture appears in the corner of the screen and the audio quality changes.
Read on for shorter video clips and screen shots covering the highlights.
The advantage of using WordPress as the starting point for a club website is that it is a standard platform for web publishing, used by major publications as well as corporate and marketing websites. Extending WordPress with two plugins and a theme allow us to add Toastmasters-specific functionality and branding.
The WordPress for Toastmasters software is free and open source, which means you can install it on any web server that supports WordPress. The Toastmost hosting service simplifies the process of creating one of these websites because the software is pre-installed. You can use Toastmost to test the software prior to setting it up on your own site, or you can make it your club’s permanent home.
To cover expenses, clubs pay $30 per year for toastmost.org website hosting after a 6 month free trial. I donate my time to this project but cannot afford to lose money on it.
Setting Up a Toastmost.org Site
To create a site on Toastmost.org, you must first have a username and password. If you are a member of another club that uses the service, you may already have a toastmost.org password. Otherwise, you can create one by following the instructions on the toastmost.org. You will be required to register for the WordPress for Toastmasters email list so I can stay in touch with you.
Then follow the procedure shown below to specify the name of the club, your requested web address, and your meeting schedule.
Basic WordPress Editing
WordPress provides you with a web-based word processor for editing your home page, other pages of the site, blog posts, and other content including event posts. The latest version of the WordPress editor uses the concept of “blocks” for different kinds of content — paragraphs, headings, bullet lists, numbered lists, images, image galleries, videos, and many others — where each content type has its own editing controls.
For example, when you insert or select a heading, you can choose whether it should be shown as a major heading or a minor one — h2, h3, or h4 — which changes the font size and provides a clue to the logical organization of your article. The image block lets you choose the size and alignment of an image and add a caption.
Creating a Page and Editing the Menu
When you add a blog to the system, it automatically goes to the top of the list of blog posts, which are displayed in reverse chronological order. When you add a page, you typically want to add it to the menu of your website so people can find their way to it.
Editing the Agenda and Agenda Templates
Meeting agendas are organized a series of custom blocks, including the Agenda Role and Agenda Note blocks.
Typically, you define an RSVPMaker Event template that outlines your typical meeting structure and create individual events based on that template for your upcoming meetings. If you change the template at a later date, you can update all those future meetings to reflect the changes in the template. A couple of default templates, Toastmasters Meeting and Contest, are predefined to give you a starting point.
Creating User Accounts Using the Club Central Roster Spreadsheet
To create user accounts quickly, you can download the spreadsheet version of your club roster from Club Central and import it into the site as shown here. You may want to repeat this process periodically to update the records, for example to identify members who did not renew and whose accounts should be removed.
Partly because video recording glitches, I am including screenshots and video clips of a few key features below.