Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tools for creating your own web site

A bit off the main focus of this blog, but I regularly get questions about how one goes about setting up a web site and composing the pages. (This question is particularly asked with respect to churches getting set up on the web.) There a few parts that need to be considered.
I've addressed a number of issues on this page: Guides and Guidelines for a Church Web Site. I point to a number of great resources for thinking about and evaluating design. I also have a section on how one goes about getting a site and hosting matters, and I also raise some questions about the purpose and goals of a church web site.
Another matter is that of the software or tool used to actually create the page. I still use FrontPage2003 for basic stuff, but since Microsoft discontinued support for its extensions, I do not recommend it to anyone else. I've tried Microsoft Expression Web and some other tools, but your best bet is to check this excellent list of Web Authoring Tools and HTML Editors. Of the tools listed, some of the free ones will do a more than adequate job for most basic work, and of those, I highly recommend KompoZer. (Which isn't for now listed on that page, but KompoZer replaces and supersedes Nvu for which further development has been stopped.) KompoZer is available for Win, Mac, and Linux. Some additional links:

It is, of course, a big step from a basic web page to one with all sorts of Flash or javascript stuff, but at that point, you are going to need a professional who is likely to be using Dreamweaver and other high end tools.

UPDATE: Well, you learn something every day on the web! Be sure to check out Tim's suggestion about using Wordpress over on SansBlogue. Who knew--other than Tim--that Wordpress has a Sermon Plugin and a mini-social networking tool.


  1. Thanks for posting this! There are so many options out in the ether that it makes trying to find one that will be user-friendly hard to locate!

    We are going to be using those lists and pages in our upcoming meeting, and I'm so grateful that someone helps by providing feedback that we can understand and use.

  2. I have had good luck with joomla. It's free, easy to use, and incredibly robust. http://www.joomla.org/

  3. If you are a Mac user (and if not, my condolensces) there are two great options for making great looking website and not having to use a lick of code. Sandvox and RapidWeaver. I personally use Sandvox and really like it.

    Besides simply using Wordpress (which I recommend to rural church pastors who want a site but can't afford one), another great site which has an online site builder and a free hosting option (and very reasonable prices) is www.xbuild.com. Check out an example church site, http://www.monctonwesleyan.xbuild.com

  4. If you need something a bit more complex, you should look at the Web Empowered Church's implementation of typo3, a professional content management system. The software itself is free, as long as you host it on your existing server. They also have a hosting option available.

  5. Try sites.google.com
    It can even use a domain with it http://sites.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=99448