Getting Started #2b Figuring Out Your Church Website

Steps one and two of updating your church website can be found in my previous post. I covered making the decision to get that site updated and gaining access to your church’s website if you don’t already have it. Now on to the next step.

Step Three – Figure Out How it Works

Screen-Shot-2018-02-01-at-5.52.37-AMIf you have website management experience or, if you are a tech wiz, you can likely skip this step. If not, you may be staring at the administrator console of your site wondering what the heck to do next. There is no reason to be afraid, there is plenty of help to be found. I am going to cover some of the major website platforms and providers. If you have one that is not on the list, let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 6.03.10 PMSquarespace
If you are getting to work updating a Squarespace site, you have access to a lot of help. Just visit support.squarespace.com. Squarespace offers an extensive selection of guides, videos, and webinars. Whether you are starting from absolute scratch, or just looking for some specific instructions, you will likely find what you need.

What I really love about Squarespace is the community support. If you can’t find an answer to your question on the support page, you can search for the answer or even pose your question to the community. If you are really stuck, Squarespace offers help via email or live chat.

Check out support.squarespace.com

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 6.24.50 PMWeebly
Weebly is a close second to Squarespace when it comes to online help. Just go to their “help” page and find answers and guides related to every aspect of Weebly. Weebly also offers direct help via email, chat, or phone.

Check out hc.weebly.com

Screen-Shot-2018-01-31-at-6.28.31-PMClover Sites
Clover is all about churches, and their customer support reflects that. They have plenty of online help and will be glad to offer support via email or phone.

Check out: help.cloversites.com

ShareFaith
ShareFaith has you covered if you need help figuring out your website. They have an amazing support page with instructions and videos regarding every aspect of your site. They also have a live helpdesk available by phone, and you can even schedule an appointment!

Check out: support.sharefaith.com

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 5.59.55 PMWordPress
I saved WordPress for last because I have a lot to share. Statistically, there is a very good chance your site is a WordPress site. 75,000,000 websites are powered by WordPress. I don’t have any specific stats on churches, but it is fair to say there are a lot of churches running their websites on WordPress. Despite its popularity, I opted not to start with WordPress because, although it is a great platform, inheriting a site that was built and formerly managed by someone else can be a bit of a nightmare. WordPress is one of the most configurable and customizable website platforms available. That means that there are millions of possible configurations. While the underlying architecture is the same, themes, plugins, and other modifications can make it difficult to figure out what is going on.

 

If you are not a tech wiz, you honestly may want to get some help. It would be worth your time to do a little more research to find out who built the site. They might be available to help you get it figured out.

But, if you are on your own and you are experienced, or brave, here are some resources that may help.

Complete WordPress Training For Beginners – Free – Udemy.com
A free four-hour course that will give you an overview of the WordPress platform. It is a few years old and it focuses on building a WordPress site from the ground up, but it will give you a solid overview of how the platform works. While you are on Udemy, check out some other WordPress courses. They aren’t free but may be worth the investment.

WPBeginner
An entire website dedicated to helping new WordPress users. They have articles on just about everything WordPress.

Here are a couple of posts regarding what to think about when inheriting someone else’s WordPress site:

What to Do When You Inherit an Existing WordPress Website – 1stwebdesigner.com

What to Consider When You Inherit a WordPress Site? – Bisend.com

Need Help with Something Else?

There are a lot more providers out there, but I am not going to cover them all. However, if you need help with your website platform and can’t find it, just let me know in the comments, I would be glad to do some research and post more information.

What’s Next?

If you are still scratching your head or feeling a little overwhelmed, check out my next post. I will discuss thinking through whether you should try and make your current website work or if it is time to start from scratch.

 

This post continues my pledge to help churches take some first steps to live out the resolutions I listed in my post, “Five Communications Resolutions for 2018.” You can read about what inspired the post in, “The One Reason Nothing Comes Out of Those New Year’s Resolutions.”

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