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Recommended Web Site Technology and Structure

No one got started organizing rallies because they wanted to build a web site. No, it's because they wanted a RACE! So to minimize the hassle of getting a web site up and running for the event, here are our recommendations. The intended audience is someone that is transitioning from a different web site method or building an event web site for the first time.


WordPress is the easiest CMS (Content Management System) that you should use. It's ubiquitous, supported by any decent hosting company, lots of people know how to use it, and it's simple to upload documents like Supplemental Regulations and post them!

WordPress Options

Pages should be used for static information such as the location of your hotel and rally HQ. By default, "Pages" show up in the top menu. Posts should be reserved for press releases, updates, and time sensitive information. They could also be used to promote the event. Disable Comments as long as you have contact info up there, you probably don't want yet another way for people to contact you. Leaving comments on means that your site is open for spam. The Askimet plugin (installed by default) offers standard protection against this, but it is beyond the scope of our suggestions.

WordPress Security

When your hosting provider sets up WordPress, they will ask you for a username and password. Remember that this is a very important website that you and your rally competitors are relying on. If you can, stay away from using "admin" as the default user name, as it's the first thing hackers try to break. Consider something different that you'll remember like "rallypeep" and use a long password with numbers, letters, and a funky character. You can add a user and make them an "Editor". This will allow someone you are working closely with to edit pages and posts without being able to change WordPress settings.


There are tens of thousands of options out there for themes, we find the default Twenty Ten is a great start. The Twenty ... themes allow you to add photos to a header and quickly edit the color and look of your site without getting too complex. If you're going to consider adding a theme, check out OpenStrap. Note that the OpenStrap theme comes with an image slider, but you should use the "Meta Slider" plug-in instead. You'll need a version of your logo that is around 400x165 pixels in size. For the slide show, get three to ten images that are are cropped to 1024x300 pixels in size.


By default, Pages show up on the Menu automatically, but often we have more info to display than what can fit in that top menu. For this we can add categories and place pages under them in a sub-menu. This can all be done in the Menu area of WordPress. We've studied a lot of rally web sites from all over the world, and here is the best list of categories we found - use'em!


"Competitors" would be a category where "2015 Entry List", "2015 Documents" AND "Register To Race" would live. The first one would be a Link to your entry list, and the next is a Page with a list of documents your competitors could download. The last is a link to log into the NASA Rally Sport system. The WordPress menu system is very configurable!

Competitors (category)
...2015 Entry List (link)
...2015 Documents (page)
...Register To Race (link)


Plug-Ins expand the functionality of WordPress, but they can also complicate it. Here is a suggested list:

  • Auto-hyperlink - When you type check out it magically changes to
  • Disable Comments - Easiest way to just disable and be done with comments
  • Exclude Pages from Navigation - Handy if you don't make a custom menu
  • Meta Slider - A great looking slider that works well
  • Simple Page Ordering - Allows you to order "Archive" after "Results"
  • Simple Social Buttons - For letting people share info to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Insert Headers and Footers - For adding Google Analytics

If you want to add a countdown timer, then also include the following two:

  • T(-) Countdown - Always good to let people know how much time they have left
  • Widget Logic - Controls which pages widgets show up on, so the countdown is only on the front page

We DON'T recommend

  • We don't recommend using Drupal. Drupal is what powers, but it's too complex for the relatively straightforward task of managing an event.
  • We don't recommend using MS FrontPage or any other "create it on your PC, then upload all the files" structure. They become very difficult to manage and modify and you are tied to updating them just from the computer that has the software.
  • We don't recommend custom hand-coded HTML or PHP. The work-to-results ratio is too high and it is tricky for multiple people to contribute, thus slowing down updates.

Before anyone gets too excited, these are all fine technologies, but remember it's all about matching the technology to the purpose.