I recently redesigned the church website. The old site was functional, and even useful. When I built it 3 years ago I was terribly proud of myself for my l337 internet skillz. I actually used like 2 PHP commands to make it work properly. But I have learned a lot about websites in the last 3 years, and there were a host of technical and design issues with the old site. Also, in its prior format, I was the only one who could edit or alter the website in any way. There was no question, a redesign was necessary.
As I considered the redesign, the first thing I had to do was decide what platform to build it on. Because I wanted it to be simple for others to use, I had to build it on a Content Management System (CMS). I considered wordpress.org because I am familiar with wordpress.com (obviously, since you are reading this blog there), and I figured that it would be simple enough and that the learning curve would be shallow. I also considered moving everything to squarespace. It looks very simple, very customizable, and intuitive. I chose against it, because the cost was more than our current hosting plan. It would cost roughly $200/year. Currently we pay just over $80/year on Go Daddy. This is not a great difference, and squarespace is definitely not cost-prohibitive, but I figured it wasn’t the best use of God’s money.
In the end I decided to move it to Joomla because I [unfairly?] consider wordpress mainly a blogging platform and I wanted a bit more flexibility. Also because there are a staggering amount of free joomla templates out there and the support for joomla is incredible. I chose to use the Jamba template by joomlashack.
The newly redesigned site should be useful to visitors as well as church members. it has the latest calendar, our twitterfeed, and our latest announcements. There are feeds for announcements and a podcast of the latest message for our deployed soldiers and those people who cannot hear the message that week. It is also full of information for visitors to our church. But most importantly, it is editable by people other than myself.
Tomorrow - the challenges of the move to Joomla and the template