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Anyone use cloversites.com for their CMS? I like the ease of editting and updating and it would probably be a great solution for my church's staff as each ministry could update their content weekly. What are the likes and dislikes of cloversites? Any other recommendations out there with the same type of editing capability? I have looked at Joomla and wordpress, but cloversites looks easier yet.
I saw their UI in action at the National Youth Workers Convention. Seems like a good interface that's easy to handle. I need to get in gear and convince them to advertise here at CMN. I know they were advertising a lot on Facebook for a while.
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I think you'll like this thread over at www.churchtechreview.com.
Its a review of not only cloversites, but other different website content management systems.
Certain systems are good for certain budgets, elegance, technical expertise, creativity, simplicity, etc.
I've been testing their cms with a lot of others lately, not only in a search for our future church site, but maybe for a review board of my own...given this whole process.
As for Clover, they've had a PR campaign going on for sometime now (offering flip phones for video testimonials), so you may be hearing the name. Their all-flash church product is similar to an older flash-based church product called BridgeElements.
Content management systems, even tailored for churches, have existed for many, many years now, and that tech is very mature. Even for churches, there are scads of CMS solutions right now (paid and free), and there is a trade off between intuitiveness and power. Clover's cms does lean toward the intuitive side. Clover's cms is, what I would say, beautiful in design, just not very powerful for the needs of a growing church. In fact, the cms is probably more beautiful than the front-end website in many cases from the looks of some of their sites.
What they've done right: CMS beauty, enforcing content display standards, PR.
Where they need to improve: web standards, scalability, design offerings, cost, and possibly adding non-flash alternative front-end designs that the seasoned vets want, like me.
I looked at the clover home page source code to see what's going on there, and found some actual content. So, I'll respond to that. They claim that you can "choose from tons of designs", but I only count 18 as of today. Some work to do there. They claim "it's easier to manage content than ever", but embarrassingly, even I was stumbling through the cms interface for certain tasks, and so was a colleague. It's simple in the sense that you don't have much control over design, text and color. So, remove those options that other mature cms's offer, and yes, that certainly simplifies things. Also, the number of pages is limited to, I think, 80. A mature cms won't limit you. They claim there are limited options for churches as far as design, but do a search, and you'll find 100's and even 20 really good ones. They claim to offer beautiful websites, but I would call them "clean" and simple, and that does have its beauty. However, they're mostly reliant on your own photos for the beauty part. From a design standpoint, there's minimal design going on. Hopefully you have good photos. They claim it's "the most intuitive cms ever invented." Ok. I'll write that off to marketing or something. They end by claiming it's "priced for ministries". I have to say, in my opinion, that while the monthly is priced right, the initial cost ain't there, especially compared to many others.
So, the cms is slick, but as a website owner, you need to keep your visitors in mind, and I don't think this product is there yet. That being said, let's see what they do with it over the next 3 years.
Respect from a competitor - siteorganic.com
ccchurchtech makes some great points about what to seek in a good cms. Good points to consider.
As a long-time provider of church Website management tools, my firm has seen a lot of companies come and go.
I must say that Clover is doing a lot of things really well, and we are honored to have them in the industry. As a firm who cares passionately about the success of churches online, we encourage potential SiteOrganic clients, especially young and startup ministries, to use their resources wisely. Obviously we have some fantastic offerings on our side (the best, we think!), but I think it's a good idea to know what else is available. There is no one solution that will work for every single church.
Congrats to the Clover team on all that they have accomplished. Their spirit helps to push us to continue to be the best we can possibly be, and to offer innovative ways to expand God's kingdom online.
Executive Producer and Founder