Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Church Website

For almost a year I've been working with a team to update our church website. The biggest update we made was the move from static html pages to a full blow custom content management system built with Expression Engine. Needless to say, I'm REALLY excited about the site going live last weekend.

We still have some debugging to complete to call this version finished; however, I'm really happy with our EE designers at EjaeDesign in New York. They took our really rough ideas and made them come to life. This being our first website built upon a content management system took a lot of back and forth communications to get on the same page. It was worth the effort.

In addition to Expression Engine, we utilized several other tools in putting the website together.

  • Lighthouse | Simple hosted Issue tracking, bug tracking, and project management software.

  • Jumpchart | an online interactive sitemap creator

  • ConceptShare | Online Design Collaboration Made Easy

  • Project Management Extranet | Where we communicated milestones and exchanged information

  • SlideShowPro | a Flash photo gallery and slideshow component for the homepage

  • Wimpy Player | Streaming MP3 Audio and Streaming Video Players

  • del.icio.us | links to many church websites we researched

  • FeedBurner | media distribution and audience engagement services for blogs and RSS feeds

  • Scribd | a way to easily put your documents online

  • Adobe Creative Suite | Photo Editing and Optimization

We chose Expression Engine for our content management system due several reasons. The biggest was longevity and flexibility. EE does a wonderful job separating your content from the design (we can easily change our design in the future) and it is really affordable to use. I highly recommend the product and hiring an EE expert like EjaeDesign to get you started. While we could have programmed and designed the entire site ourselves in-house, EjaeDesign's experience building EE sites allowed us to focus on the content and functionality instead of the nuts and bolts of template and CSS coding.

You can read more about our updated website on the "About Site" page at www.FirstFederated.org.

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