This section looks at the technical issues involved in setting up a church website, in a broadly non-technical way.
A few jargon terms are unavoidable, so we'll get them over with:-
- Content Management System: Software, usually used through a web browser, which allows you to manage a website's content (within certain limits) by selecting options, adding data to on-screen boxes, and clicking on buttons.
- Browser plugin: an extra program which attaches itself to your web browser and extends its abilities by enabling it to display additional data file types (such as PDF files, Flash animations).
- Spam: unsolicited and unwanted email (or other types of communication - usually sent in bulk).
The fundamental question...
... is what technical approach to take.
Most approaches will fall into one or more of these categories:-
- Employ a company to produce you a bespoke website
- Use one of the off the peg Content Management Systems available from a company specialising in Church websites
- Use a generic Content Management System (from a company, or install it yourself)
- Build your own site from scratch
Broadly speaking... option 1 could be very good, but if it is, it will also be expensive. Option 4 is fine if you know what you're doing, and an accident waiting to happen if you don't. You need a very good reason not to go down the Content Management route.
Choose a Content Management System with the facilities you need... to have different authors for some sections, to have an approvals process before publishing, to have private areas, to have interactive pages, to have a church-oriented news and events area... and so on.
To help you find and evaluate suitable packages, we've started a list of UK Companies providing Church Website solutions. (We've deliberately listed only suppliers with UK offices, as we think they are on balance likely to provide services more appropriate to UK churches.)
Not technical enough?
If you're looking for a website that explains how to cook a three course meal using only Cascading Style Sheets, or how XML affects global warming... you're in the wrong place. There are plenty technical how-tos / dos and don'ts on the web, but if you take our advice and use a Content Management System, you won't need to concern yourself with them too much...
Last updated: July 2008