Here at CTO we’ve been building church web templates and custom church websites for a decade or more. In that time we’ve seen the market shift from HTML templates, to the initial popular CMS products – like Joomla – and then onto the new dominant option – which is WordPress. That is to say, we’ve been around long enough to see the landscape evolve. And we have first hand knowledge as to why WordPress has become the giant it has. Trust us when we say there are some very good and clear reasons why WordPress is so popular. For any site looking to publish regular content, while providing a user-friendly experience where “non-coders” can easily handle the maintenance of the site, WordPress is the clear favorite. Not surprisingly, church websites fit right into that mold.
WordPress is the popular choice. No, more than that – it’s miles ahead of the nearest competitor in the CMS (content management system) market. In fact, check out these stats: as of the third quarter of 2016, WordPress-driven websites make up about 27% of the entire web! You might want to read that again, just to let the enormity of WordPress’s stake to hit home. More than a quarter of every website you ever run across on the web is now running on the WordPress CMS platform. Pretty impressive, right? That puts WordPress in a different league from other content management system options. And that’s just as true for church websites as it is for any other kind of content publishing website. How far ahead is WordPress, exactly? Look at it this way. Joomla’s the next most popular of the major CMS platforms, and it comes in at around 3%; and it’s losing ground to WordPress every single month.
Now, as I mentioned at the outset, we began our journey into the CMS-sphere with Joomla. Early on it was the best of the available choices. And at that early state WordPress was primarily seen as a blogging platform – and not much else. Even after WordPress began building out its functionality, it still took awhile for the general public to really see WordPress as full-on CMS. In fact, back in 2008 or so, I remember fielding questions from customers, wondering if WordPress really did as good a job as Joomla. Well, suffice to say, I don’t get those kinds of questions now. These days everyone (well, at least, ALMOST everyone) knows exactly how much WordPress offers. And that’s why it’s the go-to choice for church website development.
Let’s cover the basics as to why WordPress is such a great choice for church website development.
First off, WordPress separates it’s core functionality (the engine behind it all!) from the front-end look and feel of your site. And what does that allow? It allows for the creation of all sorts of great, and different, themes for the appearance of your site. As designers, we love this! It allows us to package up that amazing core functionality within the skin, as it were, of a wide variety of compelling designs. This lets the designers on our team go all out in creating layouts that are bold, beautiful and intuitive.
From a functionality viewpoint, WordPress has some great core functionality – as we already mentioned – but, just as importantly, it allows for the easy addition of all sorts of add-on functionality. That means that sites can add functions to their site, as needed. There isn’t just one cookie-cutter set of options for all sites to follow. Far from it! In fact, because WordPress is supported by a huge ground-swell of developers, almost every kind of functionality imaginable is available. And if a certain functionality hasn’t been created yet, for those with coding skills – like the skilled folks on our development team! – WordPress is user-friendly when it comes to building that additional functionality into the mix.
What does all that mean, from a practical point of view? Well, in the case of church website development, it means being able to add event calendar functionality, sermon organizing and uploading functionality, tithing and donations management functionality, etc. In other words, it allows us to take the decade of experience we have crafting church websites, and draw on that expertise to build the most important and widely requested functionality right into our custom WordPress church themes. As a result, our customers end up with websites that look amazing, but, just as importantly, are able to seamlessly handle all the kinds of content management tasks church staff usually require.
And there’s one more essential piece that makes WordPress the ideal choice: the user-friendly admin panel area. What’s that? I’m speaking of the admin area that your staff logs into in order to manage your church’s website. With WordPress, this admin area is laid out in a very common-sense manner, and makes managing your website virtually as easy as editing text in a typical text editor. That’s right, no coding knowledge is required! We build our themes so you don’t have to worry about that aspect. And this makes the task for whoever’s managing the site immeasurably easier!
Oh, I almost failed to mention – WordPress is remarkably stable, too. Unlike Joomla, which tends to cause headaches when launching new versions, WordPress has a backwards-compatibility commitment that is aimed at never leaving users with sites that are broken, just because they’re old. And believe me when I say, that commitment makes a HUGE difference. That alone, in our opinion, puts WordPress well above the competition. And as you have seen, there are many reasons, well beyond this, that contribute to making WordPress the amazing website user-experience it is.
Bottom line: if you’re in the process of either creating a new church website, or in re-launching an existing one, we HIGHLY recommend doing so with one of our premium WordPress church themes. We’re confident it’s the choice that provides you the best of all possible worlds.