A Brand New WordPress Theme for Congregations

I’m delighted to announce Faith 2012, a new WordPress theme designed with the needs of congregations in mind. WordPress has become the most popular web content management system in the world and my hope is that this theme will make it even easier for congregations to jump into WordPress and take full advantage of its powerful options.

Two things in particular make Faith 2012 well-suited to congregations. First, is the look. Not only is the tone geared to churches, synagogs, mosques, temples, etc., it’s easy to adapt by using your own photos in the the headers and changing the background. Second, the information architecture and menus are structured based on what I’ve learned from working with congregations over the years — and they too are very flexible.

Faith 2012 WordPress ThemeIn addition, unlike the majority of WordPress themes I’ve seen, search engine optimization is baked into the code in areas such as the the title and header tags. It surprises me how uncommon this is. My best guess is the worlds of WordPress developers and marketers don’t overlap that much. That said, the themes that come pre-installed with WordPress have excellent Google juice.

This has been a dream of mine and in the pipelines for almost a year. It began last November when I was approached by a sister congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bowling Green. We were in accord that many, many congregations need help with their websites, and they were open to my idea of developing a theme for them and then adapting it for the larger world. My heartfelt thanks goes to them for their support.

So today, at last, I release it into the Web stream. The Faith 2012 site includes some documentation and examples, as well as download links. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or suggestions.

6 Responses

  1. Paul Martin says:

    This looks very good. Thank you for making this available.

    I wonder if you could comment on the tradeoffs between WordPress and a full blown CMS such as Joomla for congregational use. I have been looking seriously at Joomla in part because it has packages to support the mobile web user. I don’t know how the two would compare in terms of ease of setup for a smaller congregation with limited resources. Would you care to comment?

  2. Anna Belle says:

    Paul — I wish I had time to give you the answer this deserves. That would be a substantial post. Actually I did a thorough answer to this, but it was eons ago in Web time and much has changed. (See Shoestring Part 2.)

    To oversimplify, the three big contenders these days are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Joomla and Drupal are more extensible and well-suited to large sites, but tend to be overkill for smaller sites. In choosing between the two, developer support for Joomla is trending down, while it’s trending up for Drupal. So if sophisticated is what you need and you’ve got developer support not just now but in the future, than I would suggest Drupal.

    Meanwhile, in the last couple of years, WordPress has morphed from blogging software into a true content management system. It’s perfect for smaller sites (by which I mean under 100 pages) — easy to install, easy to upgrade, and easy to develop for, plus there are hundreds of great plug-ins, including ones for mobile.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Paul Martin says:

    Thank you. I will take a serious look at WordPress. I used it to set up a blog for my wife about a month ago, and I was very impressed by the ease of use. I had no idea they had taken the software this far.

    I will be taking this out for a spin. We may be recommending your template at ecwh.org.

  4. Anna Belle says:

    Wonderful! Do let me know how it goes.

  5. Sue Mosher says:

    This looks very helpful! Does it have any optimization for smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices?

    • Anna Belle says:

      Great question, Sue! It’s on my mind too, actually. For iPads/tablets, it’s two thumbs up. On smart phones / iPods, it works fine but it’s not optimized. I tried one plugin, but the plugin broke the WordPress admin panel, so needless to say I’m not recommending it. There’s another plug-in that’s on my list to try. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/. If you try it, would you let me know how it goes? (I don’t have time at the moment to look at that.)