CONTENT MGMT. SYSTEMS -- Testimony of a Transition to CMS
A Simple Updates Story
This is the story told by Janine Lim about her church's website, the first eChurch Award winner to use Simple Updates, hosted by Darryl Hosford.
We started the PMC website in the fall of 1997 after my husband and I moved back into the area from Ohio. After Net '98 was broadcast from Pioneer Memorial Church, we decided to begin offering RealAudio files of Pastor Dwight Nelson's sermons. In the summer of 2000 we began offering MP3 audio files, after a physician wrote in requesting the popular format so he could listen to the sermons while jogging. The focus of the website during those times was the most popular church bulletin, posted by Fridays, and the sermons and accompanying study guides.
In the fall of 2003, it became apparent that the website had grown exponentially and needed an overhaul to become more user friendly. We started with a split for our two main audiences. The PMChurch.org part of the website focuses on the local church; and the PMChurch.tv part of the website focuses on the sermons and the study guides requested by TV viewers. We also increased the web team with several new members and local university students from the names collected at the first annual 2003 Ministry Fair.
Converted to Simple Updates
Over the summer of 2004, we studied the NAD eChurch award criteria and the previous winners and used the information to convert the website to a new format using Simple Updates, a content management service with our hosting provider, Hosford Web Services. Now the web team focuses on the overall site design and maintenance, and training and equipping each interested ministry in maintaining their section of the website.
PMC has been hosting the website with Hosford Web Services since January 1999 when we began offering RealMedia. In December 2003, we learned about the new service, Simple Updates, and became very excited about the possibilities. Due to web team schedules, we had to wait until the summer of 2004 to complete the overhaul. We are thrilled with the possibilities and new direction the website has taken with Simple Updates.
Transition to Simple Updates
To transition, we started by creating a template or design, with a careful eye to the eChurch award criteria! After the template was loaded into Simple Updates, and the basic navigation pages created, we could then start offering the ability for various ministries to update their part of the website. We started by giving the Executive Assistant the ability to upload the church bulletin directly to the website. Our web photographer, Elisabeth Heyn, has access to the photo libraries and updates the featured pictures on the front page on a regular basis. We have pastors editing their section of the website and Pathfinders staff and teen leaders editing the Pathfinder page.
With Simple Updates, people can edit just their page, or set of pages, without having to know HTML. With each login account, different rights and responsibilities can be assigned. In addition, a major new feature added to the website is the calendar. Simple Updates made this very easy to do, and it even includes the local sunset time without any effort on our part! If you enter an address for an event, it automatically includes a map to the address. Such amazing handy features are very appreciated!
The only two challenges we've had with Simple Updates are from our team members who have strong HTML background who took some time getting used to the system. But now that they know where the Source button is, and can edit the pages in HTML, they are satisfied with the system. The other issue we've had has been copying and pasting from Word to Simple Updates keeps the annoying HTML that Word creates. But with a little persistence, that can be solved as well.
Simple Updates Team
It has been great working with the Simple Updates team, as right now we are the biggest church using it. We have been asking for features that they haven't thought of yet, which is good for development and helps them understand how we're using the product. It's a win-win situation both ways. Simple Updates has been very responsive to our requests. I highly recommend the tool. It has changed my work from just doing the weekly grunt work to thinking ahead more, recruiting and training, and making the site better, which obviously increases the quality of the website!
Jan 2006 Update
This article was written November 2004. January 2006, Janine enthusiastically wrote to say that -- we have 51 people editing their small part of our website (e.g. Andrews University students, Pathfinder counselors, ministry leaders, pastors), a wide variety of people! It's a wonderful reason to use SimpleUpdates to easily spread out the work load!!
Author: Janine Lim