Recently we posted a list of top content management systems for churches and ministries. While all of these systems are great for building your website on, for me one platform stands out: WordPress. There are many reasons to build a website using WordPress. First, it’s free. All you need to do is download a copy, upload to your webhost and you’re set. WordPress.com now supports the ability to map your domain to your WordPress hosted site! Second, the amount of free themes available are simply crazy, if you setup your website on WordPress you will have thousands of great design choices.
For the next few weeks I want to take you through my process and why I am building all of my websites utilizing an amazing framework for WordPress called Thesis. I can literally design, build, and launch a website within a matter of days, not weeks or months. Ready to see how Thesis will change your life? Good, keep reading.
What is Thesis?
From the outside, Thesis can look just like a theme for WordPress. You install it the same way you would for any other theme. It gives you options to modify your layout. But it is so much more! It is a framework, that allows you to quickly and safely modify your WordPress design to look amazing! With Thesis there are only two files you need edit, a CSS file and a PHP file. Which for me is huge, because I hate having to edit 8 PHP files to get the look I want for my WordPress sites.
Thesis was developed by Chris Pearson who is crazy about great code and web standards. He provides world class support for his framework and is always rolling out updates and new features. You can check out Thesis here. Oh yeah, and Thesis powers Church Website Ideas.
I hate PHP.
Well that’s not 100% true. It’s more of a love hate relationship. I love PHP for it’s ability to create vastly dynamic web based applications. I don’t like how overwhelming it can be to get started in PHP. As a designer coming into WordPress, the learning curve can be steep when trying to figure out how to get your design to function correctly. Enter the saving grace of Thesis.
As a designer I can trust that Thesis will make my site look and function great! All I have to worry about is getting my design elements into the theme. Thesis gives me two files to edit: custom.css and functions.php. This simple change to WordPress allows me to focus on my design and let the framework handle the other stuff, like the ability to change fonts on the fly, change or add columns, or adjusting line height.
Thesis loves SEO.
One thing that has been amazing since my switch to Thesis, has been the built-in SEO features of the template. I hate bulking up my WordPress installs with lots of plug-ins when I don’t need to. Thesis allows me to set meta data right from the post level! It also features the ability to quickly add nofollow! What does this mean for you? It means you can watch your site gain traffic as it moves up rankings in Google. Since moving over the Thesis, the Church Website Ideas website has gained 34% more traffic and most of that is organic search traffic.
Launching your first Thesis site might seem overwhelming, but it isn’t! Starting tomorrow I will be walking you through setting up Thesis and the basics of designing for this amazing framework!