2016 has been a year of massive change to the Club Motorhome website.
This has been to make use of planned new software developments and to move further away from being just one of the many motorhome forums around... Whilst I had my own plans for new features I wanted to incorporate we also ran a competition for members to give their own input as to what they thought would make the site even better.
There were some very interesting suggestions and I've implemented many of them during this year and will include more of the ideas in the near future.
The main changes include a completely new look and branding to the website. This is partly to keep a fresh appearance but also to make some of the other forthcoming changes possible and more integrated with each other.
There is a completely new forum system that's less gimicky and far more functional making user input as easy as possible whilst maintaining all important forum features.
New Social Network
Our biggest introduction though is our own Social Network which makes interaction between members so much easier and enjoyable than just a basic forum does. No-one can deny the success of the likes of Facebook Groups etc, mainly due to the ease of use and realtime response but there are huge drawbacks - an example of just one being how information gets lost and difficult to find. Well we have addressed that by integrating our forums into the social networking feature, new articles and stopover updates, photo albums and general chit-chat also form part of our own social network pages on the Club Motorhome website.
The Club Motorhome members' website experience now revolves around their own page, 'Your Page' in the menu. It's the heart of the members' involvement with the site and each other being the place to register, login, catch up on the latest goings on etc. It's where members make friends, add photos, status updates, form special interest groups, type forum posts and so much more. All the advantages of social media AND all the advantages of a dedicated website!
There are far more features to this central part of the website than I'll cover here but when all is fine-tuned I'll produce some tutorial type information on how it all works. In the meantime just have a play with all the settings and options and find out just how great it is for yourself!
New Private Messaging
There is also a new integrated private messaging system that is so much quicker and easier to use than our old one.
New Stopover Listings
Once those new features were all in place I set about re-writing ALL of our stopovers to make them easier to use, update and review by our members. The photos now display via galleries, the mapping is more comprehensive and they are easier and more user friendly to find in the first place!
Each stopover submitted by a member is now attributed properly to them with a link to their profile as 'author'. It's also possible to see articles submitted by a member from within their own profile.
New Comments Feature
New commenting software has been included with every article and stopover that allows member feedback and also the upload of photographs. So, for example, its perfectly possible for a member to upload a photo of a stopover from their phone whilst they actually there!
New - eBooks!
Not leaving it at that I have incorporated software that allows all these stopovers to be downloaded as eBooks. These eBooks, once on your device (computer, tablet, phone, Kindle etc) no longer require an internet connection to use - so perfect for travelling. Ebooks cover each area whether a UK county, a European region or state, even entire country listings. The eBooks are light in terms of filesize so they download quickly and don't take up much storage space on your devices. These ebooks can be downloaded straight from the main menu or from the relevant stopover listings pages. And, most importantly they stay as up-to-date as the website because every time a stopover is added/updated/remove the relevant eBook is 're-rendered' meaning it's updated and ready to be downloaded again - members can download the eBooks as often as they like during their membership.
Our eBooks now replace the old Pub Stopover Documents.
While all this has been going on more and more videos have been added to our stopovers, I don't think there is another motorhome resource that betters Club Motorhome for its video coverage of motorhome stopovers. There is now also an opportunity on each and every stopover for members to update with a link to a video that could be included. So if you come across a video that can be shared for any of our stopovers just include the weblink to it, if it's suitable I'll include it on the stopover listing.
Upgraded and Improved Blogging
The blogging software has undergone enormous updates and improvements and now provides the opportunity to create your own very professional looking blog within the Club Motorhome website. These are all viewable/readable by non-members so your friends and families can follow your writings without having to join Club Motorhome.
As just one example member 'Spinner' has taken this in his stride and looking through his recent blogs will give you a guide as to what is possible. Try it for yourself and see how you get on. You don't have to publish it until you're ready and you keep control of all its input - its your blog!
So... There's been a lot of backroom fine-tuning with our server and I won't bore you with the details of that, but I think I've covered most of the main aspects of this years improvements and I hope that it shows, together with all the original great features, that the Club Motorhome website is one of THE best fully featured motorhome websites available! If you are reading this page and you're not yet a Full Member then you may like to read what you get for subscribing.