While WordPress is a great platform to run your website, it doesn’t have all of the features you probably want in a modern church website. It’s nice to know you can expand the functionality with some of the 3,000 or so plugins that wordpress.org offers. The question is which ones can help you out of all of those.
To make your website the best it can I’ve put together a list of the most useful WordPress plugins for churches. I’m certain that there are many others that could make the list, but these make a great starting place.
Podcasting: We have been using the PodPress plugin for some time and have been generally pleased with it. What you want to provide in Podcasting is a way for people to subscribe to your messages in iTunes, but still be able to download them individually without using iTunes. PodPress does this well, plus it lets people listen to the message inside of the post without saving it to their computer. You can download PodPress here (plugin has been taken down) as well as learn more about it.
Contact Form: There are numerous contact forms for WordPress available out there. I like cformsII quite a bit for several reasons. It allows you to have multiple forms which is especially handy if you need several sign ups for events or contacts or some other purpose. Plus it comes with several built in styles that can be adapted to fit the feel of your website. It allows you to specify what information you collect and whether responses are required or not. You can put initial information into the form that gets cleared out when someone clicks on it. It is very professional in appearance. You can download here (plugin has been taken down).
Newsletters: Many churches like to send out regular newsletters to keep their congregations up to date with what is happening at the church. There is a fantastic plugin called MailPress that allows you to use WordPress to run your email campaigns. This is a full featured plugin that allows you to send emails to all users, or just a select number of them. It also allows you to style the email to look like your website to keep your style consistent. We’ll go into more depth soon about what the ins and outs of a good email campaign. You can learn more about MailPress and download it here (plugin has been taken down).
Calendar: What church doesn’t have some calendar of upcoming events? Even if it’s just the weekly services, something is planned just about all the time. One of the best ways a church website can help out a congregation is through the use of an online calendar. WordPress does have a variety of plugins that can help you in this regard, most of them do have their limitations. Right now we are setting people up with WPListCal by Jonathan Kern. You can find out more about the plugin and download it here (website has been taken down). This plugin will allow you to keep an online calendar of upcoming events. It doesn’t set recurring events, so it’s better suited special or one time meetings than weekly gatherings. One thing this plugin does well is produce a list of upcoming events that you can easily feature on your homepage or in your sidebar.
WordPress is a fantastic tool to manage your website’s content. I hope that with these plugins it will be even more useful to your church or ministry than it is now. Part of its great flexibility is its ability to adapt and stretch through the use of great plugins and themes. Here at www.organizedthemes.com we are committed to helping you make the best use of all these tools.
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