There’s a good chance your church website is using WordPress. After all, WordPress powers 29% of internet sites thanks to its free price for the actual software, the wide supply of themes and plugins to customize the look and add powerful functionality. Well, the latest update to WordPress, WordPress 4.9, adds some very useful functionality for churches that you should check out.
Changes to Customizer
A while back WordPress introduced the customizer, it’s a feature which allows you to see changes that you are making to your site “in real time” (it’s not really). At first, it was really simple things like setting a menu location or different color settings. But over time more features have been added including adjusting widgets, adding menus, even editing CSS.
Now you can collaborate, save a draft, and schedule when your changes will go live. This is a great change when you want to test a new theme look, but want to get someone else’s feedback or don’t have time to do it all in one sitting.
There has been a simple CSS and HTML editor in WordPress for a long time, but now there is a CSS syntax highlighter. This is also present for HTML in the code widget. Even better, there is now greater sandboxing for editing code which means you’ll get a warning about a syntax error when you save a change in the editor.
Easier to Switch Themes
Have you ever switched themes and then had some widget in a place it just didn’t belong? It’s happened to me lots. But now this shouldn’t happen thanks to WordPress’s greater awareness of widget placement. Menus should also stay when you switch themes.
These changes are great, but in truth, these features are really for people who don’t follow “the best practice” for editing their site design and code. The best method is to run a local development and staging site. These help you avoid issues of making an edit and crashing your whole site. You can also test plugins and more when you run a set up like this. Still, it is nice to have this updates for people who don’t have the technical skills to run a local site.
What Does WordPress 4.9 Mean for Your Church?
Well, if you are a big church with an on-site website development team, then this probably doesn’t mean much to you. But if you are a smaller church with a couple of people doing what they can for the church website, then this will make a huge difference.