I'm on a high today because I'm finally in a position to announce the developments I've been working on behind the scenes for some time!
If you've visited this site over the last few days, you will have noticed many changes:
- the logo (thanks to my youngest daughter, Jemima!)
- the colour scheme (ditto)
- the layout
- the new front page
But the changes are much more than cosmetic.
I have launched a number of new initiatives to significantly increase the value of this site to its members - both free and paid - and to lay some of the foundations for future development and growth.
Here is a summary of the changes - I hope you like them: let me know in the comments section below.
Your Digital Strategy Manual & Your Digital Roadmap Planner
There two artefacts - available to both PRO AND Free members - are critically important.
My goal in creating them was to get new members into action faster by helping them answer the question: "Where do I start?"
Specifically, they aim to answer these three questions:
If you're looking for a starting point - this is it!
Your Digital Questions Answered
This is the core service of the site, which I believe is where the main value of PRO membership lies.
What has changed here is
1. I've given it a name (as I have with the other services)
2. If you are a PRO member, as well as asking questions in the Forum, you can now also ask questions in a fully-featured Help Desk. Choose whichever mechanism you find most convenient - but bear in mind that you may get extra input from other members if you use the Forum.
The introduction of the help desk is part of the laying of the foundations for the future. It will give us more options for different forms of and channels for support in future.
We are also using the Help Desk as a traditional help desk: any member can use it to report issues with the site or the sign-up process.
Your Digital KnowledgeBase
It was always part of the plan to build a growing repository of pre-packaged guidance and advice. What I've done here (apart from branding it) is to formalise the way it will be structured and organized, and implemented that using advanced WordPress plugins.
I was delighted to find that it's possible to do things in WordPress which I thought were possible only in more sophisticated Content Management systems, such as Drupal. And I am by no means pushing the bounds of the possible in WordPress.
Again - this is part of laying the foundations for future growth.
Non-members get access to some of the KnowledgeBase. Free members get access to more, and PRO members get access to everything.
One component of the knowledge base is the Glossary. At the time of writing, I've not created many glossary entries, but this will form a major part of the knowledge base. Glossary terms are automatically (but unobtrusively) highlighted wherever they appear on the site.
Your Ready-Made Website
This is the start of something big!
Up until now, Your Digital Ally has not been especially helpful for someone wanting to build their own website - which for many people is the starting point for their use of digital technologies. If you're building a website from scratch and don't know where to start, it's not that easy to make progress simply by asking a whole series of questions.
Your Ready-Made Website Site is our first step in addressing this issue. It consists of a fully functioning site, based on the smartest, yet easily configurable, theme I could find, along with some additional plugins.
PRO Members can use this site as the starting point for their own site. There are easy instructions for cloning it onto your own domain.
To see what this site looks like, click through the thumbnails of the pages using the viewer on the right - or
Originally, I had conceived of the pre-packaged advice consisting primarily of short How-To documents that give guidance on specific well-defined tasks. Although these will form the backbone of the KnowledgeBase, I now also intend to create a number of comprehensive Project Guides that bring together many tasks. I see this as an essential element of "empowering" members to use digital technologies more effectively.
I have already started working on the first such project guide which will be How To Build Your Own Website - naturally enough. Obviously, it makes use of Your Ready-Made Website and represents the second step in addressing the issue of helping people build their own website from scratch.
I hope you like these new developments. Tell me what you think in the comments section below.
And of course, if you're not already a free member - sign up here.