THE “FOUNDATION” OF A CHURCH WEBSITE
Hello again from your friends at Church Plant Media. We are glad to be with you again to further unpack the thoughts that we shared in our post A Church Website = an Online Building. As previously mentioned, to understand the form and function of a church website, it is helpful to define these 5 items: Cornerstone, Foundation, Floorplan, Exterior, and Entrance. Today, we will discuss the Foundation.
Here is how we defined the Foundation of a church website:
The foundation needs to be big enough for the building. It needs to be solid, dependable, and functional. You can only build the building as big as the foundation will allow. The foundation of the website is the Content Management System (CMS). The CMS is the tool you use to build and maintain your website content. It is the backbone of the website that supports the online building. The CMS should allow you to grow your website no matter how big you get. If you have a faulty foundation, it can be difficult and costly to repair in the future. In the same way, be careful when you select a CMS to uphold and power your website.
When considering different CMS products you can usually compare and contrast most of them using the following three differentiators:
- Open Source vs. Custom Built
- Limited Pages vs. Unlimited Pages
- Business Centered vs. Church Centered
1. OPEN SOURCE VS. CUSTOM BUILT
An open source system is usually free to the general public, and is customizable by you or a developer that you hire. At first blush, “free” seems like a huge benefit but it usually comes at the price of your own time to maintain the database, versions, and plugins. You are typically responsible for adding any new features that you need. The only safety net that an open source product provides is the one you develop yourself.
In contrast, a custom built system is usually developed and maintained by a single company like Church Plant Media. With a custom built system, the company who built the CMS will continue to maintain, upgrade, and support the product for a monthly fee.
2. LIMITED PAGES VS. UNLIMITED PAGES
Not every CMS is created equal and all CMS companies do not share the same philosophy of business and service. Some companies will charge you more per month based on the number pages in your website. In this scenario, if you want to add more helpful content to serve your church, then you will need to pay more each month. Other CMS providers have a single monthly fee but they also have a cap on the number of pages that are able to be created within their system. That means the platform upon which your church website is built will not be able to grow and expand along with your church and its needs. By way of contrast, companies like ours offer churches unlimited pages for a single monthly fee. This allows your church website to grow as the church grows.
3. BUSINESS CENTERED VS. CHURCH CENTERED
The pool of potential website providers has been growing exponentially during the 15+ years that we have been in business. From one-man design firms to large corporations, it can be confusing to discern who will give you the best product and the best service. Many website companies serve both for-profit and non-profit organizations, regardless of the organization’s beliefs or convictions. This type of business philosophy is often focused on profit and growth rather than ministry. There are a few church website providers who have chosen to primarily focus on serving the body of Christ, and we are happy to say that Church Plant Media is one of these few. Our primary business is centered on your church, so your church can be centered on its mission.
We hope these three comparisons will help you select the right partner for your gospel ministry online. If you have any questions it would be our joy to serve you. Feel free to call us any time.
Your friends at Church Plant Media | (800) 409-6631 x 1