I have really missed writing here. A couple of projects, news of a coming grandchild, and just life in general has made it tough to find the time. One of the projects I began working on is a new parish website for my parish. I am not the greatest designer in the world and had not ever started from scratch with WordPress. But I always love a challenge and definitely love learning new things.
Anyway, one of the great things I love about WordPress is all of the plugins that have been created. Rather than being “locked in” to a specific set of features that a software vendor added, you can make the WordPress product “your own” and easily make it feed your specific needs. “Flexibility” as I like to say, and I personally love services that are “flexible”.
Along the way, these are 5 plugins that I’ve found that I think every parish can benefit from:
- All-In-One Calendar by Time.ly – I’ve always been a big fan of utilizing Google Calendars and embedding them because they are rich with features, but this calendar system looks great and has just as good (if not better) features. events can be easily categorized and tagged which makes finding events very easy for visitors. Entry is simple and some of the great features you’ll find are mapping displays within the event, add links and images within events, easily exclude certain dates for repeating items, and more.
- Form Maker Pro – This came up when we were talking about online registration for new parishioners and bulletin announcements. I wanted an easy to use online web forms that visitors could fill out that not only went to an email address but was accessible for admins in the backend of the website. For $30, this plugin is well worth it. Create as many forms as you want, easy to use interface, delivery to multiple email addresses, very clean and organized delivery format to the recipient, submissions are stored on your server, and many other great features.
- Facebook Page Photo Gallery – Sharing photos from parish events I personally feel is extremely important in a parish website. It’s like the parish family photo album. Now we have social networks and the website which can make for challenges doing multiple uploads of the same content. This plugin allows you to upload to your Facebook page and feed those photos right into your website through simple short code. The other benefit is that Facebook has unlimited storage for photos and this relieves the burden from your website server which may limit you you storage space and transfer rates monthly.
- Shareaholic – We’re “apostolic” right?! What does “apostolic” mean? To send! So the social web and the ability to share content from your parish website is extremely important. Shareaholic provides for a great looking and customizable way to provide sharing functionality to your visitors.
- WPtouch – We talk about mobile versions a lot nowadays. I couldn’t agree more with Joe who has spoken in great detail about the importance of mobile and parishes going forward. WPtouch provides a very easy way to provide a mobile version of your website to visitors accessing the site on their mobile devices. Again, easy to use and easily customized for your parish needs.
So there you have it. What WordPress plugins are your favorites and could benefit other parishes?