Thursday, August 28, 2008

Creating a Church Website Resource List

When summer began, Chase Replogle, a talented senior at CBC, and I began working on Central's new website. A part of the entire process also involved developing an official style manual and maintenance team for general communications at Central Assembly. It was a massive undertaking to be sure. Emerged from the fire of web research, endless meetings, and over 6 working proofs in 3 months, we have finally finished (for now). I'm sure the refinement process will never end as can be expected but the tool we have now surpasses anything we have ever utilized. Take a few minutes to check it out. Thank you to all you helped in the process: Jesus, Carmen, Jill, Chase, David, Kyle, Steph, Cheri, Sharon, Church Marketing Sucks, Jane, Daisy, the Gadds, Ashley, Carter, Dylan, Carrie, Joel C.

Below is a list of web resources we used to create Central's website. Although we are not experts, we were able to accomplish the entire site in house, saved $$$$ on design cost, reduced fixed monthly expenses by half, and are extremely happy with the final representation. The list counts down in order to highlight our most valuable resources least to greatest.

12. Colourlovers - Colourlovers is great to help the process of selecting a color palette.

11. KeepVid - Although we did not use this software on the final site, it helps you to download any video online to a quicktime file straight to your desktop.

10. Blue Host Web Hosting - Easy choice here. Simple, stable, and cheap.

9. iShowYou - Mac software which allows you to record tutorials of your screen activity. We used it to record the video tutorial for online giving.

8. WordPress - WordPress is the platform we decided to use for Pastor Jim Bradford's blog. We tried Google's blogger but the name was already taken and Wordpress's features seemed better for our needs.

7. PayPal - The PayPal business plan met all of our needs for online giving especially since we do not currently need full merchant account services.

6. Constant Contact - When considering our e-newsletter solution, this industry standard was the winner. There are other less expensive options but only by a small margin. The benefits far out weigh the slight extra cost.

5. Podbean - Podbean is a great solution for hosting weekly messages (aka podcasts). They give plenty of storage for our 4 weekly podcasts.

4. CushyCMS - We debated over whether a content management system was the best platform for us. The clear decision came down to realizing that 80% of our new site would be static or rarely need changing. CushyCMS was an easy and free way to incorporate a CMS platform in the areas we needed dynamic text capabilities. Our news page under "I'm a Regular" is one of our CushyCMS pages.

3. Wufoo - WOW!!! Wufoo literally saved us hours of programming. Because of its form generating software at a reasonable price, we are able to easily build and/or modify forms for any site we design fast (e.g. online giving, micro sites, etc.).

2. MediaLab's SITEGRINDER - IRREPLACEABLE!!! What more can I say? Without Sitegrinder, there is no way we could produce a single page on our own. Sitegrinder gives you the ability as a designer to produce HTML/CSS code by labeling the Photoshop layers. The look of the whole site was designed with it.

1. Adobe Photoshop - The main reason why Photoshop is number one is because we needed it to design the website and then grind it out using Sitegrinder.

Add your comments if you know of anything that is better in its field. Also, if you need more information on any of the products listed let me know.

1 comment:

Nik said...

Dude, sweet site. You guys did a good job. Great direction for you guys. Did you get my email? Your link for my blog site is wrong! it is "iamnikwhite". Well, I just wanted to let you know that.