Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

I’m (thinking of) moving to WordPress

I know I’m about a year behind everyone else, but I think I’m going to make the move from MovableType to WordPress.

This is not because I hate one and love the other, rather I just don’t see the energy in the MT community that I see with WP. And other than multiple blogs – do I see all that much of a difference. In fact if I could figure out how to assign different default theme for a given category and it’s subcategories in WP, I’d pretty much have everything I’ve gotten out of MT community with regards to designing a church website.

One concern I did have was data conversion, but after taking all the data from Chuck Holton’s “Mission4.com” and porting it to his “LiveFire.us” in about 10 minutes flat – spending another 15 to 20 minutes tweaking and existing theme as a stop gap until we can develop a better one – I’m thinking why not? Yeah, okay, I still need to get the email posting working but that’s probably more a problem with the nut holding the keyboard than the software.

Yes, it would mean having to do some considerable rewiring to Scripturizer and Sermonizer and a few other tools, but hey, I just moved to a new state, got a new job, got a new house … why not a new blogging software? C’mon someone, talk me out of it!

* Update * note the title change – some good comments and private emails may have me looking in a different direction (yes, you can blame Eliot first … but some others have been doing a good job of talking out of it as well).


  1. WordPress is the way to go, I haven’t looked back since switching. On the multi-blog thing, there are some options, but they’re limited and not really up to what MT provides in that area. But that’s not really a huge downer for most bloggers.

    Oh, and Scripturizer and Sermonizer will need doing, but I’ve already got a VerseScrpe replacement for you :)

  2. After using both systems in a variety of production environments, I’d have to agree, WP is the way to go. The only drawback I have for WP is the administration panel. The way it is setup is far less intuitive and helpful than MT’s. But, the ease of implementation and customization was amazing!

    Enjoy your new digs!

  3. Just pleeeeaase stay away from Kubrik!! :)

  4. The admin panel is something that is being looked into for the next release. There are other several plug-ins to configure it to personal preferences. That’s what I like about WP. You can take it out of the box and personalize the entire experience.

    And I’m sure that having MeanDean as a regular user will only enhance everyone’s experience. Welcome to the collective!

  5. Personally, I’ve been somewhat disenchanted by WordPress. Yes, there is a lot of community buzz, and yes, it is incredibly easy to set up. However, I tend to not do much with it once it is installed. I can’t play with templates nearly as easy or without breaking things. So, I tend to not even bother. I’m very tempted to move back to MT for several sites because I want to do some custom pages that I know are easy in MT but I think will be a hastle in WP. If WP had a simple, extendable tag system like MT, I think my frustration would be gone.

  6. For running a church website, I am very tempted to drop the idea of using either of them, and instead roll my own app in Ruby on Rails… I think you could Get a more customizable website that is just as easy to maintain.

    Learning curve is slightly steeper, but I think this is going to be the wave of the future.

  7. I’d vote for ExpressionEngine (http://pmachine.com) over WordPress, it even has a scripturizer plug-in.

    Though it does cost money, it is a very complete system, now with a forum module (as well as a gallery module, etc…)

  8. Scripturizer exists for WP (though I haven’t used it yet). http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/Scripturizer

    I have just started using WordPress, and just last week I launched the beginnings of a church web site using it – http://redeemerbaptist.org. I found it pretty easy to mess with visually and structurally. The simple event calendar is a free plug-in, too.

    It’s really easy to use. Seems easy to build templates. Lots of plug-ins. And free. It was too good to pass up. :)

    Oh, and the fact that you can add static “pages” as well as category-based pages is really nice. (See the above church website, upper left in nav.)

  9. I use Blosxom. When I peeked at the elegant source code, I knew it was the one for me. It makes me feel like I’m the one in control and is super configurable. Plus there are a wealth of plugins already available to add things like comments and trackbacks. Blosxom is my personal favorite.

  10. For the time being, I have been using Blogger. It is possible to customize the templates so they look nearly identical to our main page – though sometimes when we want a blog that really looks bloggy, we don’t even bother. For instance, http://www.aisquith.org/impact is meant to be a blog, so we left it looking like one. I know, that’s probably considered blasphemy here. It’s just that I have users who need to upload content, and I don’t want them to break the site.

  11. I can honestly say that I’ve yet to find anything that I could do in MT that I can’t do in WP.

    The template tags are great, and the thing I love most is it’s inherant simplicity (although to some that may be a negative) it’s simple, but not simplistic. I agree that the admin pages are not the best, but they’re getting a revamp in the next release I believe.

  12. Hi,

    I actually find WP tags more flexible than MT, if you are proficient in PHP. If you know the internals of WP, you can do a lot of fancy stuff that can be very awkward to implement in a semi-static style in MT.

    However, if you know the internals of WP, you’ll also find out all these ugly hacks, inconsistent designs, and potential security risks. There are certainly a lot of buzz behind WP, and the software is getting better and better – but I just felt that there lacks some maturity in the core product.

    On the other hand, you mentioned on b4G that you are moving to CivicSpace. Btw, CivicSpace is an add-on to Drupal, instead of a folk. Drupal is one flexible CMS that does things in a very smart fashion, and I very much enjoyed working with it.

  13. You know my vote, EE all the way…;)

    But then again, I haven’t played with the others, so it’s not a fair call.

    But then again, I haven’t had any reason to…

  14. Yesss!

    Glad to see you coming down the aisle to repent :)

    As for using different templates for different categories, it’s easy with conditional tags and PHP includes. It’s a lot easier to use custom PHP in WordPress because all the pages are dynamic. You also get built-in mod_rewrite support.

  15. Dean, say it isn’t so! (Uh, I guess you already did. :-P )

    I get some good natured ribbing from other bloggers (mainly the guy above me) for staying with MT. I’ve been waiting for you to update Scripturizer for dynamic pages so I can start using them on my site. If you go WP, what will I do?

    Besides, have you seen all the cool stuff coming in MT 3.2?

    I haven’t played with WP, but I really don’t feel the need. I love the fact that with MT I feel like I’ll never get close to its limits. That I can just use it or customize the snot out of it. I suppose WP can do that too.

    I do wish it had the community behind it that WP has. That buzz is the only thing that i find attractive about switching to WP.

  16. I use WP for Niphal now, and it works a real treat.

    We also have the ability for others to include their own news posts and for it to be looked at before it goes live. I’m really happy with the ability for it to be customised really easily too, with a nice template that I’ve setup. But I bypassed the normal templating system myself and included it into a hardcoded page.

  17. As someone who has made the switch from MT to WP on their personal site, I highly recommend you stay with MT.

    WP is fine, it was easy to install and it’s easy to use now that it is set up. It was that part in between that was a nightmare. I’m glad I tried it, because now it is one more tool in my toolbox. But, I probably wouldn’t use it again.

    The template tags are not designed well. By default, many output code that is specific to Kubrick, but doesn’t make sense in most other situations. I don’t want my list of categories wrapped in a <li> tag. And the configuration strings you use to change those tags are just… odd. A space after the equals sign means one thing while no space means another? C’mon…

    The biggest difference is documentation. MT is very well documented, but WP is not. I think Scott Yang is right when he says if you know the WP internals you can do some fancy stuff. But, try finding anything about the internals in the official documentation wiki. Actually, don’t bother, it’s not there.

  18. I use bloxom, and like it also, but it may not be a good solution for dean. I think that porting his old articles might be painful, and because it is a fairly different system, there would be a lot of other migration effort involved.

    Other than that, I think blosxom is a fantastic system, extremely powerfull through both its simplicity, and its wide variety of plugins.

  19. I have been using WordPress for my personal blog (Locusts and Wild Honey)since January, I really like it. I modified one of the existing themes by revamping the CSS, changing colors and graphics, but keeping most of the standard 2 column layout. I added a few plug-ins, including Scripturizer, did a few PHP tweaks, and things work great.

    My Church web site needs a make-over and I’m thinking of switching to WP. I currently use a static design I coded by hand. I think WordPress provides plenty of flexibility for my needs. If things work out, I’ll be able to design other church sites with WP. With the “pages” thing in WP 1.5, all the growing number of plug-ins, and template/ theme easy customization, its seems like a great platform for dynamic church sites – not just blogs.

  20. That’s my plan as well. I want to design a church web site with a blog layout, but a small posting area that only shows the exerpt. The rest of the page will be dedicated to the more traditional aspects of a church website, with pages to each of the main pages and links to showcase the sermon notes, bulletin announcements, etc. Also, WordPress has RSS feeds by category all ready to go, so one blog can house the podcast, notes of what’s happening, prayer requests and more.

  21. Try the new version of MT (3.2) first. It’s on the movabletype site as a public beta and it’s very good. It doesn’t add a huge bunch of functionality apart from easy of use of multiple categories, but the rebuild is faster and the API is far more comprehensive. It’s really quite good.

  22. I’m about to try WP for our local ministerial group’s website. If that goes well, I intend to use it for our church site, too (maybe). I should be done with the ministerial group’s site by the end of this week.

    I’ve not used MT, though, so I can’t really add any helpful advice there…

    If you do make the move to WP, I’ll be interested to follow along & learn as much as I can! :)

    PS – I see you’re still not allowing email addresses that end in .info — forcing me to revert to an old .com address… Not very friendly, Dean! :)

  23. I use both Movable Type and WordPress and unless I absolutely have to use a multiblog system, I use WordPress. It is fast, easy, and if you know just a little bit of PHP, very customizable. The plugin API is a breeze. I hate writing stuff for MovableType, but with PHP and WordPress, I am off and running in NO time.

  24. Actually, I’ve used both MT and WP and I just moved to Drupal. I liked WP much better than MT, partly b/c I’m more proficient with PHP than I am in Perl. Two things I didn’t like about WP:

    1) To get it to do what I wanted, I had to hack it a lot, which made for very painful upgrades
    2) the WP community does not seem to be very concerned about possible security bugs in their software (at least, based on what I saw in the dev email list). That is, of course, my own personal opinion.

    From what I’ve seen of drupal, it does what I wanted it to do natively (no hacking required) which should make for smoother upgrades — and it’s still written in PHP, which for me is a plus.

    Good luck on your upgrade!

  25. And now that I’ve gone back over to blogs4god to see what you did, I see that you’ve already discovered drupal…

    as usuall, a little late on my part… :-)