Many churches and ministries are making the leap to creating an online presence that will extend their reach and better serve their members. Building a website however, can be a daunting and expensive task. WordPress began as a platform for bloggers to share their ideas across the internet and has evolved into a comprehensive content management system (CMS).
Put simply, WordPress is a system for us non-computer programmers to confidently create and manage our very own website. WordPress now offers many of the benefits of a more sophisticated CMS while retaining the simplicity of its original design. This is the first in a series on how WordPress can help your church or ministry extend its presence in the community. Here are 5 simple reasons why using WordPress to build your church or ministry website may be the right option for your organization:
1) Vast number of themes
It’s like “Extreme Makeover, Webpage Edition.” You are the architect and designer, you get to choose the color scheme, layout, tabs, pages, blog layout, and widget placements. This may be the most difficult part of using WordPress for your church website—choosing a theme from the millions of possibilities. You want your website to represent the feeling of your church. There are millions of themes already made, and if you don’t find one to your liking there is always the option to go custom.
2) Open source and Community Developed
Community Developed means the WordPress software is constantly being updated by a worldwide team of developers, and you’ll never be stuck with an out of date website platform. Open source means no one has to pay for the right to use the software and anyone can develop custom add-ons and share them back to the community.
3) Widgets and Plugins
These little gremlins are enhancements to the WordPress software. Most of them are free and all of them add pop and pizzazz to your site. Social media plugins allow your congregation to share happenings about your church online, and continue the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever social media sites people use. They are easy to install and let readers share your content to their friends and family, thereby extending the reach of the church. Watch as your sermons, events, and blog-posts get “liked,” “tweeted,” “stumbledupon,” and “shared.” As easy as “cut and paste,” you can display a calendar of upcoming events in the sidebar, feature pictures from your ministry Flickr site, or encourage online giving with a Paypal donate button or link to your Church Management System’s giving page.
4) Add and edit your own content
From fully-customizable, to a do-it-yourself blog, WordPress offers so many variations, you are sure to find one that exactly fits your needs. You have the option of going through an outside company to maintain you site, but WordPress also gives you the ability to build, update, and change the site yourself, with no programming experience required. It is as easy to learn to post and edit content on a WordPress site as it is to send email.
Need I say more? You might opt to pay for premium themes and plugins, but the essentials of WordPress are free for you to use as out-of-the-box solutions, or fully customize yourself. These options will help your church or ministry create and maintain an impressive online presence in your community.
There are two choices for free WordPress websites. WordPress.com is a free online blog hosting service where you can create a blog in minutes. From WordPress.org you can download the WordPress source code that you can install on your own server. For that you’ll need a domain ($10 per year) and a hosting server ($10 per month). Most hosting services can automatically install WordPress for you as well.
Carrie H. Busha has a lifelong passion for writing and sharing ideas. She sees in integral connection between one’s personal faith and the betterment of all of humanity, and through her posts here explores new ways of experiencing spirituality and charity through technology.
Previous CTT Blog Posts:
- What Kind of Church Website Do You Need?
- Is Your Church Website Useful?
- WordPress Driven Church
- Church Communications Pro: Church WordPress Theme
- Tony Morgan Live: Using WordPress for Church Websites