wordpress

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!

The New Website is Here!

I'm excited for you all to see the new website!  There are a couple of things I want to highlight in the transition:

First, I wanted to thank my friends at My Square Creative for helping with the design elements of the site.  Matt and Chris are two of the most creative guys I know and their heart to serve the church is incredible.  I want to encourage you to check out the work that they are doing at http://www.creativechurchstaffing.com/.

The other big change for me was the move from Wordpress to Squarespace.  For over 5 years I have been using Wordpress on my personal site as well as many other sites that I have built for friends and clients.  At Community Bible Church our entire website is built on Wordpress.  There are a number of reasons for the move, but the keys for me were simplicity, style and something new.

The reality of my personal site is that I didn't need complexity or even great flexibility.  I want to have a place to let people know who I am, what I do and a place to share news and information.  I love the simplicity and style that Squarespace offers as well as the opportunity to learn something new.  As I dig into Squarespace I see a ton of opportunity for so many businesses and nonprofits to build a great website at an affordable price.  At the same time I think it's important to note that it won't replace Wordpress anytime soon.

Wordpress continues to offer great flexibility and opportunities that any website of any size can be built on it.  I have built 1 page websites and 300 page websites on Wordpress and will continue to.  The functionality and flexibility is second to none.   I love Wordpress and while I'm leaving it behind when it comes to my personal site, I'm in no way leaving it behind as a key resource moving forward.  

I would love to get your feedback on the new site as well as answer any questions that you might have about Squarespace or Wordpress.

 

The Wordpress Plugins that I Use

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I've made several posts about why I love the Standard Theme for Wordpress so much, but thought I should also share about the plugins that I use as well.  So here's what I use and why:

Shareaholic: my brother-in-law introduced me to this plugin and it has been one of my favorites.  I've tried many share widgets, but this one is head and shoulders above the others.  It also includes a Recommendations feature after each post which automatically looks at your post and all other posts and recommends similar posts to the reader.  This is an awesome plugin and I honestly saw my traffic double after just 2 weeks of installing.

Akismet- don't even wait to finish reading this post before installing this plugin if you have not already.  Naturally your blog comments will get cluttered with Spam and Akismet fixes this issue immediately.

Fast Secure Contact Form- I don't know if this is the best, but it works for me.  I tried a couple others and this one was just simple and easy to use.  It's nothing fancy and that's probably what I like the most about it.

Feedburner Email Widget- this like the Contact form is really just simple for me and simple for the users.  I can't confidently say that it's the best option for you, but it does work for me.

I would love to hear form you what some of your favorite Wordpress plugins are.  It still blows me away all that is out there on Wordpress and that so much of it is FREE!