Besides typical church services (experiences etc), every church, every now and then, will run an event. These events vary. Some are for specific groups or interests, and others more general. Conferences are a great example of a deviation from ‘typical’ events. Some events required registration and payment. After Setting up a WordPress event website, I thought this post might be helpful for others.
My Event Website Using WordPress – Plugins And Cost
A registration system, especially automated one, can reduce stress for attendees and organizers. Say goodbye to notebooks and (manual) spreadsheets.
What I Used To Create The Website
- As the title of the post intimates, I built the site using WordPress. I opted for WordPress.org, which is the self-hosted option. I did this to allow me flexibility in case I needed it. And, by default, I used WordPress plugins.
The plugins I used:
This plugin powers over 30% of e-commerce websites worldwide. Unlike Shopify, for example, you don’t have to pay a subscription to use it.
- WooCommerce BoxOffice
A ticket management and registration plugin. I ‘nagged’ the WooCommerce support twice, I think, and I had a great experience. I like the simplicity of this plugin. Exporting tickets, communicating with registered delegates and marking people present was a breeze.
- Payment Gateway
How you receive funds / payment. There are many options to receive payment. I used a local payment gateway in my country, but you can also use services like PayPal.
Other plugins on my website:
- Jetpack: this is many plugins in one. I use it because it offers, among other things, security, backups and more. It also helps leverage some of the resources of WordPress.com on your WordPress.org site. (Unfortunately, this post isn’t intended to cover such detail, but this post might be helpful.)
- Akismet: for protection against spam.
- Really Simple RSS: the website hosting company has SSL activate by default. This plugin helps run my WordPress over SSL. For more on this see this great post by Eric.
How Much It Cost
- WordPress – Free
- WooCommerce BoxOffice – US$99
- Domain – US$4
- Year’s (Website) Hosting – US$7
- Theme – US$0 (I used a free theme by Automattic)
- Man hours – Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of the man hours I spent on the website. It wasn’t a lot of time as I did little custom or extra work. Most of what I used was out-the-box. I didn’t have a lot of time. I settle for an informative and functional registration and payment website.
Total cost – US$110 (excluding man hours)
Why A WordPress And Woo Commerce Setup?
If you don’t have a church management system, or one that does a great job of registering and paying, this is an alternative. Also, if your church management system requires event attendees to be pre-loaded on the system it could create challenges. Hence an independent event website might be a plan.
One of the reasons to set up your own website is to have instant access to the registration funds. Platforms like Eventbrite, only pay out after events. I assume this is a way of protecting attendees, but it is not always the best for (legit) event organizers. Access to funds post events is not always practical for churches. A lot of us would know the pain of running an event on a shoestring budget.
In case you need to create unique functions on your website, WordPress gives you more control.
WooCommerce helped me set up a shop on our Facebook page. Setting up Pixel in Facebook allowed me to set up promotions on Facebook. People started the registration on Facebook and completed checkout on the event website. You can also set up different payment methods.
Going the WordPress route also made the blogging side of things for the event much easier. Most users, both technical and non-technical, were familiar with WordPress. This meant they didn’t need to learn anything new.
Setting up my event website using WordPress was a fairly painless exercise for me. This could be due to the fact that I’m already familiar with WordPress (have been using it for about ten years now).
Have you set up any event websites? Do you mind sharing what you used, why and how it worked for you?