Content Management Systems

If you run a church website, you must be aware of several constraints that do not apply to your own personal web space.  They all centre around a simple fact: you are not immortal!

As you'll see in the "Domains" thread, you should never register a church website in your own name.  Register it to "The PCC Secretary" or "The Incumbent" or whatever is most applicable to your situation.  Do it before you are about to leave!

In a similar way, you must never become too locked in to the activities of one person.  Having a single webkeeper who is responsible for adding all of the material to a website (and is the only one capable of so doing) is a recipe for a static, boring web presence.

The solution is, almost universally, to move to a Content Management System.  All of your data is stored in a database, hidden away on the server.  A request for a page means that a blank page is loaded, along with the instruction to fill it with the information that is stored in the database.  This site that you are reading is created in this way.

To create a page, you must first log in with the details you'll have been given.  This will open up some sort of "Admin" area where your page can be displayed on a screen, looking for all the world like a word processor.  Making a web page is not quite so simple as writing a WP document because there are one or two rules - but it is not very different at all.

You (or your administrator) can set up as many web editors as you like.  That means you can enthuse one person to keep up to date with the flower rota while someone else can concentrate on the weekly news story.

No longer does your website need to languish behind the bottleneck of one person.

There are several options available to you and your choice may determine - or depend on - whoever is providing your web server space.  Some systems, such as WordPress, are really created to create and maintain blogs, but can be made to serve quite well as a website.  Other systems, such as Drupal, Joomla and Typo3 are available, but they will probably require an expert to set them up properly. 

A better solution may be to sign up with someone who is offering the complete package ready made. 

ChurchEdit is a commercial company that is making significant inroads into this market.  A typical parish will pay from £160.00 with one web editor or £190.00 with up to five (that includes a .uk domain name - 2012 prices). 

Other, simpler systems are available, such as the "PCC" system that is running this site.  Typically, this will cost about £40.00 - £50.00 per year.