I just switched over my church’s website (www.crosswaychurchwa.com) to WordPress. I did this because it is easier to update (multiple users can do this). It is responsive so it looks good on mobile device and tablets. I have already posted on the three easy steps it take to create a site and the questions you should ask if you church is considering a new site.
I thought I would start a new series on some of the best free WordPress Tools (plugins) that you can use to create your own church website. I will highlight a different plugin in each post. Before I do that, I thought I would begin with the Word Press basics. This post is a bit longer that most, but it is important for those of you who might have any knowledge about WordPress at all. I have included some videos from BlueHost to help explain things further. In future posts in this series, I will highlight the plug ins (useful tools) I used to create our site.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is free base software that millions of website run on it. WordPress was originally designed for bloggers. It has become great for general websites as well. WordPress is the basic software that runs everything. If you think of web design in terms of your computer, it would be similar to your iOS. It is the like Windows 8 for a PC or Snow Leopard for a Mac. There are some free basic tools (Themes and Plugin) that come with WordPress that you can use to create your site. You can also purchase other ones to make creating your site easier. I will list some of the ones I use in future posts.
Here is a great intro to Word and hosting from Bluehost;
How do I create a new site on WordPress?
1) Figure out the Domain Name You Want:
If you don’t have a domain (mine is www.churchwebtoolkit.com), you will want to choose one. The easiest way is to click on this link and type a domain that you would like in the box on the left and it will tell you if it is available. If it isn’t available, it will create a list of other domain names that might work. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sign up for bluehost if you click on the button. It just a tool they use as the first step of the process. In my case, I already had my site.
2) Find Someone to Host Your New Site
You will need a computer to run WordPress on. You probably already have a computer to view the web or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog. You also need a computer to run WordPress and connect your website to the internet. This is what a hosting company does. They literally have thousands of computers connected to the internet. When you sign up with a host, you run WordPress on their computers and access it from your web domain.
I use BlueHost for all my sites.
- They are cheap ($5-8 a month depending on the plan you buy) and reliable.
- They provide unlimited domains, storage and bandwidth. This means you don’t have to pay extra for storing your sermon podcast audio files online.
- They have great 24/7 customer support that can help you if you have problems or need help.
- They include give you a free domain when you sign up!
If you already have a domain and hosting, make sure your hosting company can run WordPress.
3) Install WordPress onto the Host:
BlueHost makes this simple (I am sure other hosting companies do too). Here is their video to show you just how easy it is.
If you have another hosting company, they probably have similar instructions.
4) How to create your site.
Now that you have WordPress and Hosting Company, you can begin to create your site. Here again, there are a ton of different resources out there on how to do this. I will be sharing them in the future. Here is a brief introduction to main components in WordPres
a) Introduction to Themes:
Themes are basic specialty programs that run on WordPress (kind of like Word or Pages or Internet Explorer on your Computer). Computer programers have created them to make it easier for you to make a professional website. There are many free themes out there. I recommend that you at buy a theme from someone. Many people will encourage you to spend $100 or more. I have found that GoodSpace (which I use to create this site) or a subscription to Elegant Themes (I used theme to create www.crosswaychurchwa.com) to be very good investments. I will write more on them in the future so stay tuned.
Here is Bluehost’s introductory video to themes:
Once you have your WordPress and a Theme installed you can start creating your website. WordPress can create posts or pages. I recommend that you create your church’s website with pages. They are more permanent and have more options.
Here is Bluehost’s introductory video to pages.
c) Plug In:
Themes can’t do everything. Plugin are additional little computer programs that you can install to do different things. This is honestly, where I will spend the majority of my time in this series. In each additional post, I will list one of the plugins I used to create our site and explain why I use it.