Heal Your Church WebSite


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

WikiSpaces: yet more church content management on the cheap

If your content is well organized yet relatively static then a simple service such as WikiSpaces may be all the hosting and content management software your church, charity, community and/or classroom ever needs.

As much of a fan as I am of leveraging the power of blogs as a form if inexpensive, in-house content management for churches, I also realize that it may not be the best tool to manage and maintain your organization’s web presence.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • is your, or can your church’s message be well organized into small, single topic compartments?
  • does this information remain relatively static?
  • do you or will you have opportunities to invite other staff or lay persons to add or edit content?
  • will said staff actually contribute content from time to time
  • do you have a need to post from anywhere?
  • is your most frequent need for posting sermons, lessons, studies and periodic special event descriptions?
  • are the lack of forms, picture galleries, polls and slick programming a non-issue?
  • are you happy with your current web site but would like to leverage a wiki for lesson plans, topical studies and/or sermon series?
  • have you tried the WordPress or Blogger thing and it’s either too much, not enough or not just right?

If you’ve answered yes to a majority of the above questions, and if you’re a small to mid-size church whose message is clear and compartmentalized – but not all that well presented or maintained due to constraints on time and resources then perhaps a Wiki is the way to go to help you move your content management issues off your desk space and into the web space.

Meaning, perhaps a service such as WikiSpaces is the right tool for the job – the same way a hammer is usually better than a chainsaw for driving in nails (though not nearly as much fun).

For those of you nodding your head – I spent a couple of hours last night cobbling together a simple demonstration site over on WikiSpaces that includes some examples and links to help you decide if there is indeed a Wiki in your organization’s future.

screenshot of demo site - click to go there

Honestly, even though I was using the limited, ad-sponsored free version, I found it offered several cool tools such as an easy-to-use AJAX-driven editor, RSS file integration, easy-peazy backups, and a reasonable pricing structure for those who want no ads and more features.

Now if I could just figure out how to integrate either Google or Yahoo’s calendar applications, I’d think we’d be all set for the perfect “poor man’s content manglement” solution … but I digress.

Leave comments here to share the smarts – or just to say hi and or gain editor access to my little mad little experiment

8 Comments

  1. Wikis are fantastic. My company has an internal wiki with all sorts of random, important information (we’re a software company, so we use Trac which has an integrated bug tracker and source code viewer – also awesome for churchy programming projects). My wife and I also have a private wiki running MediaWiki (the same stuff that powers Wikipedia) for maintaining todo lists, shopping lists, and big project plans.

    PS – Glad you’re back “on the grid,” Dean.

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  3. I’m not sure if a wiki would be the best solution for a church website. It might be good for an in-house kind of thing, relating information to church members, but for visitors? For the unchurched? For prospects? I think they expect a little more.

  4. Hi Chris, thanks for the input. Just as I don’t think a blog fits everyone’s needs, nor would I assume a wike fits everyone’s needs.

    That said, I think the sword cuts the other way, that a blog and/or wiki might be the right hammer to drive the nail.

    For example, you raise the issue of the unchurched – how is content delivered by a Wiki any better or worse than delivered by a Blog on their end?

    The real issue here is on the needs and abilities and resources available to those sending the message.

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  6. Unless the church has a really dedicated core of volunteers monitoring the information, it could get out of hand from spammers.

    More imporantly, I echo the opinion stated earlier where it would be something good for members, but not as an outreach tool. Those not comfortable with church look for authoritative views on subjects related to church and have a high dose of skepticism about other believers telling/knowing the truth.

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  8. I thought I had left a comment before but it’s now showing up now. :)

    I think at the time you wrote this article (2007) there really weren’t a lot of options out there for churches to have an affordable method of gaining a new website. Most of the companies back them wanted to charge an arm and a leg to churches for even a basic website so I can see your logic in trying to utilize Word Press or a Wiki.

    Of course the natural arguement for those solutions, even back then, is assuming that someone there at the church had the technical knowledge to be able to even set one up! I have personally worked in a lot of churches over the years and I can assure that most church volunteers would not be able to handle it.

    That is in part the reason why I started MultipliCMS.com (www.multipliCMS.com). Since I have been a Youth Pastor, Worship Leader, Music Minister and now studying to become a Pastor one day, then I know first hand the needs of a church from the inside. I wanted to create an online tool that was easiest enough for even the most novice computer user while still providing a dynamic experience for the end user that happened to come by the church website. Simple to use should never mean having to settle for just a blog or a wiki.

    We now have a brand new package (it’s not even on our website yet) for starter churches or churches that just happen to be on a budget. It’s called our RightNow package and it runs just $499. If anyone would like to learn more about how your church can get this deal please send us an email to support@multiplicms.com and one of our ministry advisors will contact you shortly!

    There isn’t a more affordable solution for churches on the web and we made it that way because our heart is to serve the body of Christ…not take advantage of it!