If you are at all familiar with WordPress, you may be asking yourself “Isn’t WordPress a blogging platform?”. That’s a fair question. While WordPress started out exclusively as a platform for blogging websites, it has grown into a platform for managing all types of website content, including a church website. WordPress has a strong community of designers and developers that are actively involved in providing new designs and functions. It is used by one of every six websites worldwide (more that 60 million), making it the most widely-used website Content Management System (CMS).
Church websites are also changing. They are often the first exposure visitors will have to a church and a primary source of information for the congregation. There are new requirements that may not have been considered in the original website design.
- Are the aesthetics still pleasing to the eye or does it look dated?
- Does it support new technologies such as mobile devices?
- Are the news and event information kept current on a daily basis?
WordPress can help to address these issues now and into the future. Let’s look at some of the ways it can help.
We all like free stuff. WordPress is free software that is made available to everyone under the GNU General Public License (or GNU GPL for short). Additionally, there are over 2600 free WordPress themes and 31000 free WordPress plugins available on the wordpress.org website. Your website can be enhanced with additional functions as you need them at little or no cost.
Themes are packages of styling that provide the look and feel of your website. It is important to select a theme that is either designed for your needs or can be modified to meet your needs and reflects the tastes of the congregation. Most WordPress themes define:
- The design, look and feel of the website
- Page layout
- Widget placement
Many themes are designed to be responsive to the size of the browser and device (desktop, tablet, smartphone), displaying the webpage content appropriately for the device. Since we want our website to look good on mobile as well as desktop devices, this can be an important factor in selecting a theme for a new website design. There are thousands of themes available for WordPress. Some are generic and targeted to blogging websites, some are designed for a specific purpose such as those found on our website.
Plugins are packages of additional features that can be added to WordPress individually. ChapelWorks offers plugins in our theme/plugin bundles that add many features churches need to manage their websites. The core functions in ChapelWorks plugins are designed around church ministries and departments so each of them can have their own webpage with information about including ministry news and events.
WordPress is easy to learn and use. It’s used by millions of people every day to communicate news and events worldwide. There are a multitude of tutorials, blogs, articles and videos relating to just about any aspect of WordPress just a Google search away. Additionally, wordpress.org provides an excellent online reference called the WordPress Codex that includes an introduction to WordPress.
WordPress is developed with security as a primary requirement. Most hosting providers will also offer additional security measures to assure that your website is protected.
It’s Well Supported
There is strength in numbers. With so many users, hosting companies are very familiar with WordPress and many offer enhanced support services for WordPress websites. There is a entire ecosystem of companies providing premium themes and plugins for just about any need.