I have been administering the Webster Hills UMC website for a year now, largely making basic content changes and adding Newsletter information whenever it comes out on Wednesdays. I’ve never really been very happy with the system, personally, as it isn’t really a user-friendly system. We are using ACS Technologies Extend, which is specifically designed for churches, to allow full integration between web content, online calendering systems and financial systems (i.e. the ability to make automatic withdrawals as an offering each month, or see how much you’ve donated that year, etc.). That’s all well and good, but the back-end system is so arcane that you need to go to training seminars to fully understand it, let alone get the people at your church to deal with it. Since I’m a bit more comfortable doing web content management, I just kinda took it on, but I really don’t understand how half of it works.

Anyway, we’re moving to a new system. ACS is difficult to deal with, and not particularly cheap. We already had an account and server with, and they provide many useful FREE tools, like WordPress (which my site runs on), to install and update automatically. Very, very user friendly once it’s set up. I chose Joomla to use for the new church site, as it provides a bit more flexibility with themes and plugins, allowing me to make it look how I want it to.

The site is currently sitting at (now defunct, as of 09.02.09). It doesn’t quite have the bandwidth I’d like, so it may seem a bit slow, but it’s much more functional. The other benefit, as the guy that’s been putting information up there for a year, is that you can log in and simply click “Edit” on any article you want to. Very, very easily. This means that the church staff can just go on and change information themselves rather than sending me an e-mail and hoping I get it done that day. Articles can be uploaded by anyone and approved by an administrator. I can do polling. I can move the poll from one spot to another. I can have a rotating banner at the top of the screen. I can make that banner as large or as small as I want. These are all things that I was unable to do with ACS, which made life truly annoying…

Anyway, check it out and give me suggestions. I don’t have all the content on the new site yet, but I’m hoping to shift it over to “www” sometime mid- to late-July. You should check out the regular site first, though…keep in mind that I didn’t design that…just been managing it…

3 Replies to “Projects”

  1. Might want to take a peek at the site using IE. Seems like the banner image at the top is pushed out to the right beyond the rest of the content using that browser.

  2. Yeah, I noticed that… It works just fine in Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera. IE pisses me off royally…

    Did you try it in IE 8.0, or 7.0? I’m hoping it’s fine in 8.0 so I can just say “upgrade your browser”…otherwise, I’m tempted to leave it and say “best viewed in Firefox, or any browser other than IE…”

  3. I tested it. IE 8.0 renders the rotating banner correctly, so hopefully as Microsoft rolls that out, it’ll get better for most people!

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