Derbyshire Village Websites in Focus

It was in April 2009 when our website was the subject of glowing praise from Tim Fletcher through the pages of the Burton Mail newspaper. We all felt proud when the website for our quiet little South Derbyshire village was compared with national newspaper portals being “packed with relevant, informative and up-to-date content.” Tim showered the website with many kind remarks such as

“Most village websites are relatively small-scale, low-tech affairs. Not Ticknall’s. The South Derbyshire village boasts a highly impressive site – Ticknall Life – packed with relevant, informative and up-to-date content.

With a very professional, unfussy design reminiscent of national newspaper portals, the site is easy to navigate and organised in a clean, logical format.”

Now, more than five years later, Ashley Franklin – you may remember him on BBC Radio Derby – has put pen to paper on behalf of the well-known county glossy Derbyshire Life, no less.

In the January 2015 issue of Derbyshire Life Ashley has produced a very interesting article about Village Websites, with an account of his own experiences in setting one up, and a review of some of the best Derbyshire village websites.

Yes, we do get a mention – a very favourable one – as you might expect. In fact, Ashley says:

“The most impressive website I have come across in this county was created . . for the South Derbyshire village of Ticknall.”

So there you are! It’s time for me to say again, as I did in 2009, Well done Ticknall. Thank you!

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the contributors, without whom it would not be possible to have a site at all; and I know that no-one will mind me singling out Teresa Johnson for special mention for her excellent eight-part series on the history of Ticknall Parochial School.

Footnote

A new Ticknall Life website is on the stocks for 2015. You can have a peek here, but please ignore the content – I am still working on the structure and functionality, as well as the design.

The reasons for building a new site are twofold. Firstly, the existing site is stuck with old technologies which are getting a bit ragged round the edges and cannot be upgraded. The other main reason is that we need to cater for the special needs of portable devices, especially mobile phones. Apparently more than half of web content is now (2014) consumed via portable devices.

The major national and international news portals have not yet embraced responsive design but the new Ticknall Life community website is mobile friendly from the outset.

There is a new domain, too – ticknalllife.co.uk . Try www.ticknalllife.co.uk on your ‘phone, then compare it with the same address on your desktop computer.

There is one other important point to make before the launch.

In spite of all that has been said about the community involvement in the Ticknall village website, there has been a lessening of contributions in the last year or so. This has been evidenced by, for instance, failure to update group activity programmes, reluctance to provide relevant content, or just not taking advantage of the website to promote and publicise forthcoming events.

Please remember that this is not a commercial magazine with staff paid to go out gathering content. If everyone just waits for the website to keep them informed then nothing will happen. It’s your website; you are the one who is supposed to inform.

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Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is editor of Ticknall Life community magazine.