Why we use Wordpress at Community Bible Church

At Community Bible Church we chose to build our website on Wordpress. We moved from a custom coded site (HTML, CSS, and PHP). I don’t even understand what those are and the cost of upkeep on a custom site is challenging and often limited to just the developer who created it.  About 3 years ago we switched to Wordpress with the help of our development team at PlainJoe Studios. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Powerful - there are seemingly no limits to Wordpress and we loved the power of a CMS with few limitations

  • Flexible - Wordpress is easy to update and easy to change.  We have been able to change “themes” a couple of times since launching and the infrastructure has allowed for great flexibility.

  • Customizable - having a development team like PlainJoe we were essentially able to build a custom website on the Wordpress CMS, so the freedom to customize for our unique needs has been huge.

 

Since launching on Wordpress we have had minimal issues and continue to believe we made the right choice. We continue to watch trends, but don’t currently have plans to change anytime soon.

Do you use Wordpress? If so, what has your experience been? Why did you choose or not choose Wordpress as your website CMS?

By the way, if you’re looking for a good Wordpress Theme for your church, Church Themes provides a great option at an affordable price. I built one website just to test their platform and found it very easy to setup. While the customizations were minimal, the basic theme was very functional and great for churches on a budget with minimal design/development support.  

Wordpress or Squarespace for your Church Website?

When it comes to church websites there are generally 2 primary options for websites: Squarespace or Wordpress. In the past there have been many other CMS (Content Management System) options built, but Squarespace and Wordpress have far surpassed all other options from my perspective. Here’s my perspective on both:

Squarespace is simple, flexible, beautiful and functional. Within Squarespace you can manage your domain, hosting, setup emails, and essentially have everything in one place. Just about anyone can build a Squarespace website in about an hour and have the site live and functional on the internet. Squarespace even makes it easy to setup simple PayPal donation forms within their management platform. The downside to Squarespace is that most Squarespace sites look the same and the customization options can be limiting.

Wordpress on the other hand, seemed to take over the internet about 8 years ago and has continued to grow tremendously since then. Wordpress offers a powerful and flexible CMS and with the thousands of Wordpress themes available churches can customize a website that is completely unique. The challenge to Wordpress is that you have to setup emails, domains, and hosting on separate platforms. You also must continue to upgrade your account and plugins which often can be susceptible to attacks from hackers.   

So, which should you choose? Well, if you are looking for a clean, simple website and you are not real picky then I strongly recommend Squarespace. If you are looking for a very customized website and you are willing to pay for custom development then Wordpress is a great option for you.  

In the coming days I will share why I choose both Wordpress and Squarespace for different sites that I manage/oversee. I would love to hear which you chose and why. If you chose to use neither I would also love to hear from you!

3 Churches to Watch on Snapchat

Here are 3 churches on SnapChat that are worth following and learning from:

1.     Central Christian Church in Las Vegas (centralonline)
2.     Crosspoint Church in Nashville (crosspoint_tv)
3.     Community Bible Church (cbcsocial)

I can only share 3 because I only know of 3. This social network is wide open and there is a massive audience of teenagers and young adults ready to view your stories. What are you waiting for? Get to snappin!

3 Tips to Crushing Snapchat

I want you to crush Snapchat! While there’s no shortcut to creating great mobile videos that engage this audience there are some best practices that I think can help you focus your hustle.  Here are 3 tips that I recommend you integrating into your strategy:

1.     Share your username on your other social networks - currently there is no way to organically find people. You must use your other platforms to grow this platform. That’s part of what makes this platform special is that it’s really hard for Marketers to win big. It’s made for real, personal interaction. Help those that are currently interacting with you elsewhere also interact with you here before they stop interacting elsewhere.

2.     Use the stories feature to tell stories - please, please don’t just use Snapchat for announcements. No one will listen. Use this platform to tell stories. Real stories of what God is doing in and through your church. As people are engaging with your stories it doesn’t hurt to pop in an announcement or two, but don’t make announcements the center of your Snapchat strategy.

3.     Be creative! - use filters, slow down video, draw on images, and make silly faces!  Be creative and have fun! When people think of church, they rarely think of fun. Why is that?  Wasn’t Jesus first miracle turning water into wine at a party? I don’t want to open up the floodgates of debate, but I do think churches should be known as a place where people have fun. Snapchat is a place where people have fun and if you want to engage most effectively here, look to make people laugh and have fun.  

I hope these help! What other tips would you recommend to other church or ministry leaders looking to crush Snapchat?

Creating Great Content for Snapchat

At the core of Snapchat are stories. Telling stories via video in short segments is key. This requires great creativity!  

As you think about what it is that you want to share, think about what it is that you want people to know about your church. Likely that includes: what is most important to your church (families, Bible study, missions, etc.), what are your worship experiences like (show clips of your music) and who is your Pastor.  

I might have already stepped on some toes, but I believe these are the stories that those not yet connected to your church want to hear. Great stories are powerful and raw. Share real stories of real people. Share music practices rather than just polished presentations. Show your pastor behind the scenes rather than just behind the pulpit. Tell the real story of your church.  

At the core of Snapchat are real stories. Not polished, highly edited, posed stories; but raw, real, and relevant stories that connect people the core of those they follow.

Snapchat might not feel intuitive to you at first, but as you get to know it you will begin to understand the raw beauty behind this social network and why young people are drawn to it.  

Oh, by the way, use filters. They might seem goofy, but they’re fun. People like fun!