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Need Help With our Web Design
Okay so I recently took over our Media Ministry. Our website is an epic fail from the previous admnistration. Realizing that web design is not my strong point. Are there any suggestions as to who I can contact to bring this together. I wa looking for college students or someone needing the practice, as currently there is no budget for our media ministry, I funding it all out of pocket. Brothers & Sisters help me please.
I just went to a conference yesterday and the leader in one group recommended using WordPress and using a graphic designer to help with the 'look' and supposedly you don't have to be a web designer to use it. We'll see
Wordpress is a great option. Dreamhost.com offers free hosting and domain name for a non-profit. Great way to go. Let me know if you need a little more help!
Owner All Saints Media
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I've done some design for a couple of different churches using a basic hosting provided CMS.
I believe a critical element for church sites is ease of editing and updating - the churches I've done work for can't run off to and pay a webmaster every time they want to update a page with, say the schedule of upcoming events.
There are, of course, hosts dedicated providing church sites with degrees of CMS - but the one I worked with years ago (I don't recall the host, but the church was http://www.gracechurchperrysburg.com/) had limited options. (At that church, in theory each ministry was responsible for it's own page - guess which staff member did a lot of updating favors for other ministries at that church.)
In my opinion, the first thing to determine is whether the church needs a lot of splash or something a bit more static.
In my limited experience (I mainly do low cost, simple sites for small business startups - easy stuff anyone could do but people starting a business generally need to focus on their business and don't need the distraction), the more splash, the harder to maintain and update on a regular basis -- but maybe there are systems that do both...
FWIW, I've used pretty much weebly.com which is easy to create on (with limitations, of course) and very easy for folks to learn to update.
Options for your church's website makeover
I'd strongly suggest Wordpress. It's the most popular platform on the planet. That means it's going to get updates, support, and lots of answers readily available on Google. And it's free. And more people know how to update / edit that platform than any other--it's just so much easier to learn than most.
Here's an example Wordpress site that we have developed and will customize for a church. It has sermon hosting, easy manageability, and professional design/code. We offer this design to churches starting at $199 (depending on customization):
GoodSenseTechnologies DOT com/grace
Here's the recommendations I've come up with for ease of management, updates, etc. regardless of your website design:
Tasks for the Church Secretary or a Volunteer:
- Weekly: update the events list (super easy, if they can handle gmail they can learn this)
- Weekly: email news updates/reminders/suggestions to a pastoral staff member. Once approved, post the news.
Assistant Pastoral Staff:
- Weekly: approve news, write news items (if time, willing)
- edit the welcome to new members and about us sections of the website (once and done!)
- Weekly: record the sermons; save as mp3 with sermon date, title, & text; ftp to the site; email link to tech guy
Media/Tech Guy (probably you!)
- Weekly: Post the new sermon (add notes / outline if you have it) including link to the mp3 that's already loaded on your site.
- Monthly: Design some new graphics for the front page to correspond to the events on the website.
- Provide support to others working on the site
This is the system we've painstakingly developed and implemented in our church. We also have a pastoral staff member edit a detailed outline of the sermon from the pastor to post with the sermon mp3, so if you have someone willing that's super. It's also pretty easy (down the road) with a site that hosts your own sermons (like the one I linked to) to get your sermons fed to a podcast which will get additional exposure / downloads.
Okay, so TMI, right? Anyway, my best suggestion is to use wordpress. Message me if you need specific recommendations.
My warning: Please, whatever you do, do NOT sign up with a tech company to pay for a proprietary website platform that requires you to pay them to keep your site up. Wordpress is free, hosting is cheap. You should never have your content depending upon a contract with another company. Your support can depend on them, but if contract is terminated, be sure the site, the hosting, the domain, and the website platform (CMS, etc.) is yours to keep!
Take care, and blessings!
GoodSenseTech DOT com
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cbcmary (Thursday, March 15th, 2012)
Add in to the weekly tasks to make sure you apply ANY and ALL updates listed, for both wordpress and the plugins.
As it is open code and is so popular, people find the exploits as well. Also, don't go overboard with the plugins unless you have someone to check with, as well, not ever plug in is the most optimized code, and I have seen some horrible code behind pages from installs that have a ton of plugins.
Another downside to Wordpress is for the non web person, the options in the admin are overwhelming. Some people will see so many controls they will shy away, some will see all kinds of things to "tweak' and see what they can do.
A good template and a good set of instructions (with screen shots) helps get you started on a good path. Also I recommend getting and learning to use both SEO plugins and caching.
If you have any particular questions, feel free to ask here or PM me. I don't get on here as much as I used to, been busy with starting my own web development / hosting company. (for mods, no will not be trying to sell services, just giving back with free help to help spread God's message).
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cbcmary (Thursday, March 15th, 2012)
Wordpress is the way to go. Most of the top content-focused sites on the net are using Wordpress now. Installing plugins and updates takes 2 clicks. Templates are a breeze to work with. Wordpress is simply the top CMS out there. Don't overpay for sites that advertise their own "CMS" system like it's some great achievement. Wordpress is free and the leader in the industry by far. I love me some wordpress
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cbcmary (Tuesday, April 24th, 2012)