WordPress Jetpack…Publicize

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Jetpack Plugin Site

On of the challenges in parish ministry is trying to keep members and non-members aware of the work your church is doing. So when the internet came along, church gradually went out and developed a website. At first it was to to tell people where they were located, the times they had mass or services, and the office phone number. Now churches us websites to share newsletters, announcements, readings, prayer request, and schedules…

As technology continued to evolve, having a website is not just enough. Now it is important to have a Facebook, Google+, and a Twitter presence as well. But to keep posting information to all 4 sites can be time consuming.

This is where WordPress Jetpack becomes a useful tool if you have a self-hosted or shared-hosted WordPress based website. It has an option called Publicize, which can be configured to send a posting to your favorite social media page.

To use Jetpack, you first need to download it as a plugin and activate it. Next you need to connect it to a WordPress.com account. If you don’t have one, it is easy to create a free account. Once the connection is made, click on the Jetpack tab on your dashboard and then the configure and the Publicize box. You are then walked through the process of connecting to your social media accounts.

There is a drawback with using Jetpack to post to social media sites. It doesn’t post your entire posting to your social media website. Instead, it creates a link to website with a partial copy of your text.  If you go to my Facebook site www.facebook.com/catholictechnogeek you will notice all my posts are links back to this website. My tweets on twitter (@catholictechnogeek) only have the title and a link back to my website.

Despite the drawback, it is a great way to get the same word out to your varies social media sites and attract attention to your main website.

 

 

Building a WordPress Website: Domain Names- Part 1 (To Own or Not To Own)

So at this point, I have to assume (yes that is always a dangerous situation) that you want to do a shared hosted website using WordPress. So we {meaning you] need to make some decisions.

The first decision is do you want own domain name? What is a domain name? When you type a web address for places such as  Facebook (www.facebook.com), Twitter (twitter.com), or CatholicTechoGeek.com (catholictechnogeek.com), the name and the dot com is a registered domain name.

When you have a shared hosted website, may host providers are willing to register a domain for you. However, some hosting services don’t register the domain in your name. Instead, they register your domain name in their name.

In some cases, having the hosting service own the domain is not a bad thing. There are various ways of looking up who owns a website. If someone looks up who owns the domain, they get the company’s information and not your own.

In other cases, having ownership of your domain name is the better option. For example, for some reason you have an issue with your hosting service, and you want to move to another provider. If you own the domain, you can more easily move to another provider. If you don’t own the domain, you might lose you domain name when you change providers.

So take time to weigh the pro’s and con’s of owning a domain name….

 

Building A WordPress Website: Self-Hosted versus Hosted Website

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In my last post on building a WordPress website, I referred to a self-hosted website and a hosted website. I am sure some of you asked yourself, “What is the difference?”

If you take the two words and painted in broad strokes, you get an answer something like this: A self-hosted website is where you have total control over the website. This means from how the webserver is set up to how the website appears. A hosted website means that someone else has control over your website. Again, these are very broad and generalized definitions.

Most websites you see, including this one, are actually a hybrid of the two hosting options. I own the domain name for this website (catholictechnogeek.com) and have a lot of control of how my website looks. However, I do not have a lot of control over the web server the website resides. This is because I rent space on web server owned by a company that provides web hosting services. Sometimes this is referred to shared-hosting.

WordPress.com allows you to use their webserver to create a blog/website free of charge. You have control of the content on your site and you have control of how your website’s appearance. However, you do not have any control the webserver. In the free version you are also forced to use WordPress domain name.

WordPress.org allows you to download the program necessary to run a WordPress website on any server that meets the system requirements. If you go with a true self-hosted website, you have total control over everything on your website.  Or you can go with a web hosting service and install the program on the webserver.

Obviously, there are pro’s and con’s with going with either option. If you go with a hosted or shared-hosted option, you don’t have total control over your website. However, at the same time, you don’t have to worry about maintaining everything either.

So where do I recommend you start? If you want to learn about WordPress or start a website or blog without a financial risk, I would recommend going to WordPress.com and starting a free site there. Since the WordPress.com website does a good job walking you through things, I am going to skip discussing WordPress.com in my future posts for now.

If you are ready to completely self-host, I will not cover how to set up a webserver. However, I will in future posts talk about what to look for in shared-hosting provider.

Origins…How to Build a Website

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Originally, I built this site for church workers wanting ideas on how to build a website on a church budget; for a lot of churches, that means little to no money. Unfortunately, I had to destroy my sight because it was hacked. So I have been rebuilding it.

So in keeping with my original intent of this website, I will be starting a series on how to build a relatively cheap website using WordPress. If you scroll down, you will notice this website is a WordPress site. I have built two other websites using the process I will outline in future blog posts. The two other sites are  http://birthrightfm.org/  and http://www.nativitycatholicchurch.net/ .

The interesting thing with the Nativity website is that is actually several individual websites (each ministry area is a separate website).  That way each ministry can change things within that area without affecting the entire website. I also don’t have to worry about storage issues.

The reason I use WordPress is:

  1. IT IS FREE
  2. It is updated regularly (so security holes are patched)
  3. You can give permissions to users so they can post but not change the settings
  4. It is user friendly – meaning there isn’t the need for a lot of tech support on my end

There are two versions of wordpress out there. WordPress.org is a hosted sited and wordpress.com is for self-hosted sites. (More about the differences in my next post.)