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Stuff I Use

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]There are SO MANY options when it comes to WordPress that it can be overwhelming! I thought it would be helpful to create a page with resources that you can always come to for your WordPress for Church needs. Everything on this page is something that I have personally used and believe in. I recommend bookmarking this page for quick access. I will also refer back to this page often in the blogs for your benefit. For disclosure, some of these links are affiliate links from which I earn a small commission, at no additional charge to you.

My Most Recommended

[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]I use bluehost for literally all but one of my sites. Every new client for Creative Ministry Design is currently using Bluehost. I really just believe that it is the best option for any wordpress site, but definitely for ministry sites where the one updating the site needs simplicity and great customer care more than anything. You can read more about why I like them HERE.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]I love BlueFire for online giving. They are a relatively new company that caters specifically to non-profits and churches. It is so much more professional than PayPal. People can give right on your site without and SSL. Recurring giving, fund designation, and a virtual terminal make BlueFire the best. I have switched all my ministry sites from Stripe and PayPal to BlueFire. I have a post dedicated to BlueFire’s features HERE.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]So MadMimi technically isn’t a WordPress Product, it’s an email service to send out email blasts to everyone that follows your church, or updates to those who subscribe to your blog. And the majority of people that will sign up for your email will do so on your website. I love how easy MadMimi has made it to sync their sign up forms with your website. This site uses MadMimi. In the side bar right over there you can sign up for our blog by the way. Visit MadMimi HERE.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]One thing every church website has a lot of is forms. Whether it’s a simple contact form, filling out a giving form (for those that for some reason keep Paypal), RSVPing for a new comer’s lunch, registering for a conference, or filling out an application for an internship forms are an integral part of every site, and I only use Gravity Forms on my sites. It’s simply the easiest and most versatile form maker there is! Other forms plugins are free because they are complicated and limited. With Gravity Forms you get what you pay for and it’s awesome.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]As a church this was one of the best investments in our website. At $100 it is not a cheap plugin but after using it for just two weeks our media dept was singing my praises. It makes archiving your series a breeze. The podcast almost sets itself up. This plugin does so much for our online sermons, all with limited work on the part of those updating it. I’ve used free and cheap podcasting plugins in the past and just stayed frustrated. This Series Engine plugin was a life saver as well as a time saver.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]

Recommended Ministry Plugins

A WordPress sites awesomeness can live and die by the quality plugins that you use. Here is a list of plugins that I personally use on most of my ministry sites and recommend to all my Creative Ministry Design clients. I believe in them so much that some of our design packages even give away premium plugins.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]Nothing ‘irks’ me like ‘cheesy.’ And cheesy is what so many calendar plugins are. Not Event On. It is a sleek calendar plugin that just looks awesome and is full of features. One cool feature is that it connects with Eventbrite for people to register for events right on your site. You can also treat the ‘about’ sections just like a post or page meaning they accept shortcodes. For example, if you have a new comer lunch on the calendar, you can put an RSVP form (using Gravity Forms of course :) right into the calendar event page. So neat and looks great![/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][text_output][/text_output][gap size=”1.313em”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][text_output]SEO, or search engine optimization is not terribly important in my opinion. What is important is sharing your pages/posts via social media. This free SEO plugin lets you customize what people see on twitter or facebook, assign images to different posts, or just assign a static image/description for every page. It really sharpens your social media presence and lets you post knowing what is going to come out.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Those are some of my big ones. Now I’m just going to list out some plugins that you can check out for yourself. All of these are free and most of these are on every site that I build or manage.

Gravity Forms Class Selector is a plugin that neatly integrates with Gravity Forms to let me further customize by adding columns and different classes to the forms I build. For example, with this plugin instead of the phone number field being under the email field, I can quickly make them side by side.

Social Stickers is a great little plugin to gain social media influence in the widget area.

Mad Mimi for WordPress is a great plugin where you just type in your API code so WP can talk to MadMimi. Lets you put forms in the widget areas and also use shortcodes so they can go anywhere on your site.

Envato Toolkit is a plugin that works with your Themeforest account to keep your themes purchased from there up to date. Without this plugin you have to go into Cpanel and manually add the updated theme. Believe me…it’s no fun. These theme connects to your Envato account lets you know when to update themes.

Uber Grid is a neat plugin that I use on a lot of home pages to add a little pizazz. I’ve also used it on team/staff pages. In fact, I use it on our page for both of these things. Pretty neat plugin that.

 Tiny MCE Advanced turns your page editor into a full document editor. Before this it is pretty much bare bones, but this plugin adds a ton more functionality to your typing. For example, by default WordPress’ editor doesn’t have a font size selector. I know right?! But this plugin adds little things like that and more.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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