Posted by: William Perrin | September 17, 2008

Saltaire online – what would Sir Titus Salt have made of this?

This website on the famous Saltaire is a beautiful ultra local site.   It was so comprehensive that I thought it might have been done by an agency for the tourist board so I asked Pamela the webmaster to tell the story:

I moved to Saltaire in 2003 when I got married. I didn’t know too much about making websites then, but I had been inspired by the Nelson village website in British Columbia, Canada – the place where they filmed Roxanne (a reworking of Cyrano de Bergerac) – a gorgeous place.  I left a message on their chat board and it was picked up by a couple who grew up in Nelson, and we’ve become friends.  Fabulous!  So – when I discovered that Saltaire didn’t have a website – I took the initiative.  I cobbled together a few rather pathetic pages – but that didn’t matter – my intentions were good and I stuck at it.

Nearly 3 years later, the website has grown and is supported by a team of people who contribute and answer emails.  Saltaire is a World Heritage Site – and so it gets lots of interest from all around the world.  We get the most fantastic snippets of history – it’s like putting a jigsaw together.  We all work for the love of it – there’s no funding and no money changes hands.  Everything we do is free.  I’m not retired so, as you can imagine, I’m doomed to be poor!
I act as a webmaster generally – a point of contact and an editor.  Access to the website is encouraged and we’ve not had to refuse to publish anything yet. It’s very enjoyable and the website has been used as a platform to support the Saltaire History Club and to publish The Saltaire Journals and The Saltaire Sentinel.  All very gratifying – and it’s certainly helped me to feel part of the community and make friends.

Great story from Pamela – getting a team working on a site really allows you to expand the range of content you can post – and it is good ultra local content that keeps people coming back.  Pamela’s point about ‘sticking with it’ is crucial – I remember the first dozen or so posts on my own site – it was really hard work to get it going and i felt like a fool much of the time.  But setting up an ultra local site is one of the best things i have done.

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