Website Assistance

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Ronald Utter

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Nov 11, 2020, 2:07:45 PMNov 11
to WELSTech
Our congregation is considering an update to our website.  Looking for any recommendations for  an individual or firm that you have worked with in developing a website for a WELS congregation?

Ron Utter
St. Jacob Lutheran
Grass Lake, MI

Steve Daley

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Nov 11, 2020, 3:39:38 PMNov 11
to Ronald Utter, WELSTech
I'm not sure how much of the work you are planning to do yourself. If you are looking for a company that will take content from you and put up a mostly static site that doesn't get updated frequently, I don't have a suggestion. We have been using the firm that WELS has had a relationship with for years, called Finalweb.


Their latest 2.0 version of their website CMS (Content Management System) is fairly simple to use. We use their Live Streaming service to connect our live stream equipment to, and that has worked well for our situation as well. Their videos are helpful in getting you up and running. Their hosting rates seem reasonable for the level of support that we have received from them in the past.

The greatest issue that I have always found with a website is keeping it updated. The easier it is to log in, make a quick edit that changes your service times or adds a page with information that you need the better.

You can take a look at our Finalweb site at https://www.stpaulsouthhaven.com/ although I will admit that I need to do some housekeeping on our site as well.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Pastor Stephen Daley
St. Paul Lutheran Church and School
718 Arbor Ct.
South Haven, MI 49090



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Denice Turpin

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Nov 11, 2020, 5:52:08 PMNov 11
to Ronald Utter, WELSTech
We used Lemon Pie Design when we redid our website - www.newhoperacine.org. She worked closely with us to decide exactly what we wanted the website to look like and designed it for us. She offered to continue to help with it for a fee, but we opted to manage it ourselves once it was designed. The website is based on Squarespace templates. 

Denice


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Nathan Pausma

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Nov 11, 2020, 6:18:02 PMNov 11
to WELSTech, Ronald Utter
Our church re-vamped our website last year with Finalweb 2.0. We had Finalweb 1.0, and our website was in dire need of an upgrade. We didn't even look at other options, but there aren't many complaints that I have with Finalweb
They answer your emails or calls very quickly, and their developers even added some brand new items that I requested and had seen in other website building programs. Finalweb isn't a big-name company so they are a little limited in a few aspects, and it isn't as simple to run as Squarespace or Wix is, but you can make your website how you want it with the plethora of layouts, themes, preferences, and settings. They are also really good at implementing videos from outside sources (like Vimeo or Youtube) along with a solid live stream service embedded in the website.
I know that there are other options that are really good as well in conversation with some other churches and schools that have redone their website. Squarespace, Wix, Clover sites, are some other churches that I know use.
As Pastor Daley said, the greatest issue is keeping it updated. Here is our church and school's website if you want to check it out. (https://www.stjohnsfoxlake.org/)A few changes will be made in early December to spruce it up from last year, and as I said earlier it was created with Finalweb.
I hope that this helped.
God's Blessings on your search,

Ronald Utter

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Nov 12, 2020, 10:09:07 AMNov 12
to Nathan Pausma, WELSTech
Thank  you all for the excellent suggestions and insights.  Although I'm not personally familiar with the software, I believe our website was developed several years ago with Finalweb, so it was no doubt Finalweb 1.0 that was used and yes it has been a challenge keeping it updated.  Since we are a small congregation, we have limited resources in regard to online digital expertise.  I'm wondering if any congregations have looked outside their membership to use an outside individual (either within the WELS organization or outside it) as a website/social media consultant?  
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