Parish website. Online. Giving options

Online giving for churches

Your parish is just starting out, but you want to have online giving. Parish online giving is a great option to add for small projects that need attention.

Do you already have electronic giving?

If you already have a pre-authorized system in place it may benefit you to have online giving added to it, talk to your pre-authroized giving partner (usually your bank). They may have something already integrated into their system that you can connect with.

Why do you need online giving for your parish or ministry? [Read more…]

How To Choose a Web Host for your Parish

If your parish has a website (and you really do need one) you need to have web hosting. Web hosting is basically where your website lives, it’s a server, it just serves out your site to whomever comes to it.

Web hosts vary in size and quality, there are a number of thing you should be looking for:

Support.

If your site is inaccessible, or you have been hacked, or your email isn’t working. Is there 24 hour support that you can email, what about call, or live chat with.

Data capabilities

If you already have a site, and you have a lot of content, do they have the size for you, or room to expand, if you expand will it mean you has to leave them?

If you don’t already have a website (agin, you really, really need one), she. You will need to guess at what you will need. Take into account that most hosts will also include your email boxes in their total storage available. For example, if you have 10 x 1 GB email accounts, then you will need 10 GB plus what you need for storing your site.

Uptime

Check in on a hosts uptime, usually it is front and center. If not, look for one that does.

Storage and Bandwidth

Are you storing original sized photos, and lots of he video, the you will need both bandwidth (the pipe) and the space (the sink) to host all of that. I usually recommend that churches host small and place their heavy content on shareable services like YouTube, Vimeo, audiofile, these services would continue to have your content available even if you switch services or your server goes down.

Varial Hosting based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has it’s servers in Canada, and their plans are a great starting point. I have used Varial on many occasions for hosting clients websites. They really have been around for ever.

Location

If you are in Canada, keep your data in Canada. It will usually mean that you have to pay a bit of premium, but if your data needs to have privacy keep in here. Simplified, American laws allows for any data on an American server to be taken and duplicated without your permission or knowledge.

If you are in the US, keep this in mind as well.

Costs

Cheap is not the best judge of character. Starting from three dollars to higher priced packages. Look at quality vs discount prices.

Again, Varial Hosting is really a great option for your church to get going on your first website.

Shared or dedicated.

A shared server means that your data is hosted on the same server as a few or many other businesses, sometimes it can be in the 1000s of other websites. You are all separate, but on the same server. Usually this is cheaper, but other clients can degrade the speed of the server, or even take it offline. However, unless you have a lot of e-commerce going on, this option is perfect for parish websites, it is low-cost, and pretty reliable performance.

I recommend and have worked with multiple clients on Varial Hosting. It’s a local, medium-sized hosting company with attention to detail. Their owner works directly with the server and the clients to be sure that their needs are met. Response is quick.

Up next: How to Set Up a Parish Website with New Media

Disclosure:

The links are linked to an affiliate account, and I receive a commission from them. Thank you for clicking through.

Reliable Backup. Backup. Backup.

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I have told friends and clients about the need to have backups. I have sat for hours trying to restore data onto their laptops. It sometimes works, or I can get only some of their info. I backup to a local drive through Time Machine (Mac, automatic), and then I backup to BackBlaze. Both our laptop which has all of our photos on it, and my work computer backup automatically to the cloud.

We live in such a digitized computer and device-centric world now that most of the important data that surrounds our lives. What would happen if the computer or device were damaged and those crucial assets were lost forever? This is for business and home. May of my friends have lost a year or two of their kids photos. The effects would be traumatic.

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It’s important to take a preventative step to make sure that even in the event of disaster, your information is completely protected and secure and a service called Backblaze can do just that. And the best part is that it’s easy. Once you sign up for a subscription and download the Backblaze client to your computer, it does all the safeguarding for you in the background, automatically and without you having to manually do anything.

Anytime you add a new document or photo, Backblaze will store it for you in its secure data centers, so in the event that you lose your computer or it just breaks down, you know that all the information you had on it is still safe.  It is automatic. It doesn’t stop.

website-restore-files-1tb

And the best part about the subscription is that the fee covers unlimited data on your computers, which is definitely a nice bonus that you don’t see very often, with other companies often limiting data storage for each subscription level.

With sheer amount of data that rests on our computers, it’s essential that you have a back-up plan for keeping all that information safe. Take the time to install a lifesaver like Backblaze before it’s too late.

Note: Affiliate links provided.

Relaunch & Redesign of the Archdiocese of Regina Website

Church and Diocese web design. Archdiocese of Regina homepage

The Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan had a website. In fact it 2011 it still had a very large website. It was full, packed with archives of things that didn’t exist anymore, it had news dating back to 2004. The news (other than being dated) had no connections to ministries, it wasn’t connected to parishes, or even formation of the diocese. It was all just there. It really lacked organization, it also lacked appeal. It was difficult to find things that were important, it was hard to locate contact persons.

I worked with the Archdiocese of Regina for many months, in re-organizating their content, and moving that content from hundreds of static HTML pages into a database driven Drupal based content management system.

Church and Diocese web design. Archdiocese of Regina homepage

Church and Diocese web design. Archdiocese of Regina homepage

Features of the Archdiocese of Regina Web Redesign

  • Each ministry has the ability to edit and keep track of their own area of the site.
  • Each ministry has the option to set up their own blog.
  • Events on the event calendar can be added by the public, or by ministries.
  • Social integration! Facebook. Twitter and Youtube, as well as share links.
  • Major Redesign for the Library and Resource Center.
  • Content Management is easier than ever before, and they all have full access to make updates.

The Library and resource center needed to have a custom module created for it. Features include:

  • Searchable (full text)
  • Reservation system
  • Circulation System

Catholic Churches Getting Online

As a major change for the diocese all of the Catholic Churches in the diocese have a photo, mass times, and they can be searched by location.

CJamesRun is helping churches get online with web design.

Cary Molyneux, CJamesRun Design, has been working with Catholic Diocese to get them online, and to be able to have clear and functioning sites. I have worked with Diocese and Archdiocese to help them generate and implement a plan for their site. I have worked on updating their websites to meet the needs of their particular diocese.

Parish websites are smaller and can be developed and launched within a month or two.

If you want to contact CJamesRun Design about your parish or diocese having a new webmaster, or a new site, please do.

Design and Launch of Magnificat Ministries Website

Magnificat Ministries Frontpage, Design

Magnificat Ministries is a Catholic lay apostolate which has been actively engaged in the New Evangelization since 1993. The apostolate is built upon the spiritual foundation of our primary vocation to marriage and the call we’ve discerned to live the hidden life of Nazareth; characterized by personal contemplative prayer, silence, solitude and manual labor. Magnificat Ministries is located in Ontario.

Marcel Dion and his wife Linda, the founder and foundress, of the ministry were looking for a website that would convey the history, power, and beauty of the work that God has put on their hearts.

Rich, deep burgundy and bold blues highlight the features of the site.

One of the unique aspects of the site, is being able to use the power of imagery to communicate depth. As the designer of the artwork, I thought that it could be communicated through aged papers, and software more subtle lines, rather than hard lines and stark images.

The testimonial pages use bright, excellent photographs to highlight the speaker.

magnificat-tesitmonypage

 

On this site there are actually two blogs, one for each of the authors, that work in different ways. WordPress templates allow for customization depending on code, I added this in so that the requests of both of the authors could be accommodated.

magnificat-logos-blog

 

It was a pleasure to work on a creative site that took time to make it just right. Both the client and the designer are very happy with the outcome.

Magnificat Ministries chose to start their design from a WordPress Template. That template was then customized and adapted to their needs, and the graphics and layout were changed to suit what they wanted and needed for their ministry. I work with PHP, MySQL, and templates almost everyday. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the content managers that I work with the most.

Saskatoon Website Design

CJamesRun Design is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and we work with clients anywhere. Email, Skype, and phone calls make distance working easy and without problems. Are you looking for a web designer from Canada? Perhaps you are looking for a freelance webmaster. Please contact me with any questions you may have about this design or any other

Joomla 1.5 to 3.x migration and redesign

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Treasures of the Church (treasuresofthechurch.com) needed a new website. Their old site was Joomla 1.5 (which we designed many years ago) and needed to be moved up to the most current system of Joomla.

Security is really important, and old versions of Joomla have many known exploits, especially in creating spam. Their site became a frequent target for spam bots, and then every so often it was hacked.