Touchstone Energy® Cooperative’s new website platform enables electric cooperatives with little technical expertise to create visually appealing websites that are secure, user-friendly and fully accessible.

The SHiNE platform rebrands and expands Co-op Web Builder, Touchstone Energy’s previous website platform, with several “drag-and-drop” features to help co-op communicators update their websites. Touchstone Energy launched the new platform in March and revealed new features at the Connect Conference in Baltimore in May.

"SHiNE is a complete transformation of what a co-op's website can be," said Jana Adams, Touchstone Energy's executive director. "We built upon the solid foundation of Co-op Web Builder, sought and listened to member feedback, analyzed leading co-op and industry websites and integrated the latest technologies to create a brand-new platform—built by co-ops for co-ops."

During the conference, attendees learned about SHiNE’s custom-built content management system as well as additional templates, a “page layout creator” and other co-op-centric custom plugins. Touchstone Energy also announced improvements for members with Co-op Web Builder sites, including improved viewing and loading of images and ensuring that it works just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop.

“This evolution reflects our commitment to providing an even more versatile, powerful and user-friendly experience for our cooperative members,” said Sean Walker, Touchstone Energy’s senior manager of infrastructure operations and website services.

For their work, Touchstone Energy’s SHiNE team received a “Best in Web Ops” award from website host Pantheon for providing a better digital experience to members using their custom platform that makes it “easier than ever for their co-op members to keep their web presence current and up to date,” said co-founder and chief security officer Josh Koenig in a video shown at the Connect Conference.

In a recent Q&A, Walker went into more detail on SHiNE:

How do I get started or upgrade my Co-op Web Builder site to the SHiNE CMS?

Walker: Visit the SHiNE CMS page and click on “Get Started” to begin the process of upgrading your website to SHiNE. Our staff will reach out to you to schedule a demo and tour of the platform next.

What will happen to Co-op Web Builder?

Walker: Our team will continue to support existing Co-op Web Builder sites and help interested co-ops transition to new options available under SHiNE when they’re ready for a site refresh. The new SHiNE content management system is available for all types of websitesand is a benefit only for Touchstone Energy members.

What makes SHiNE easier to use for co-ops?

Walker: SHiNE offers a true DIY platform offering beautiful pre-designed layouts and a new revolutionary page layout creator, making it easy to create a professional website without any technical expertise. The user interface and tools are built for marketing and communications professions to shine online.

What are some other features on the new platform?

Walker: SHiNE co-op websites are always accessible to everyone, effortlessly! No more worrying about compliance because the SHiNE platform uses an AI-powered solution to keep all member sites accessible. SHiNE also offers a monthly website maintenance service that helps keep co-op websites fresh and up-to-date. It includes content creation, analytics and tracking reports to keep members engaged.

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