5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Church

So you decided to build your church website in WordPress! Congratulations on making a wise choice, and unless you have a budget of 10k or larger, you can grow with WordPress for years to come. Churches from 25 to 25000 could easily use WordPress since it is easily customized and is the largest open source PHP platform on the web today. So you perhpas you bought a custom theme for your site or custom designed it and now you need some easy to customize function. I have listed some important plugins that works well for churches as of version 3.9.2

W3 Total Cache

A very powerful cache plugin that helps with the overall performance of your website. It allows you to simplify how a browser pulls up CSS, HTML, JS, PHP and other objects each time your website is brought up in a browser. I always recommend a cache plugin of some kind for churches because of the large amount of information, video, audio and graphics.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/

Events Manager

Out of the box, the free version can add maps, categories and media for your events. It comes with a calendar, lists, and and widgets for your church events. With a little know how the plugin is very customizable to make your events look the way you want. I actually use this plugin for our church and we can add events based on each campus so it will only show on the campus page it is appropriate for. It is compatible with BuddyPress, Multisite and Google Maps. If you decide you need to take payments for events, upgrade to the pro version for $75 or $150.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/events-manager/

SEO Friendly Images

With many churches deciding to go parallax and responsive, more and more church sites are very visual. This means that your website may lack the amount of text content websites used to have. Making sure your images are properly titled and have important ALT tags is vitally important to your church website's SEO quality. SEO Friendly Images allows you to set your default SEO setting for images on your site. You want proper ALT tags so Google and other search engines will have a proper description of your images.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/seo-image/

Series Engine

This plugin costs a little bit of money but it is worth the investment of $75 or higher. Keep an very detailed archive of your online sermons both in video and audio formats. Set it up so viewers can choose to watch sermons based on speaker or series name. This plugin also allows you to setup an iTunes podcast for your church. If you are looking for a robust and customizable solution for online sermons, look no further.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.19.47 PM

http://seriesengine.com/buy.php

WordPress SEO by Yoast

This is my top pick for any WordPress website! Your church will benefit greatly from this plugin that has some very advanced SEO tools built into it. Every page or post you create is graded based on a focus keyword or key-phrase. It comes with great default settings but it gives you full control on what search engines can see on your site. Some of the greatest features include XML Sitemap generation, edit the "unseen" robot.txt file, set default social sharing information for each page and it is multisite compatible.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

There are quite a few not on my list of course, but would love to hear what plugins you use for your church site.

 

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Written by jmoran77

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3 comments on “5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Church”

  1. Hey Joshua, good stuff. WordPress is really handy for churches and I'm happy to see more and more switch to it.

    WordPress SEO is such a great plugin. W3 Total Cache is fantastic too but not always easy to configure. To get the most out of it, the server environment, theme and combination of plugins used needs to be considered. Even so, just enabling Browser caching and CDN gives a boost and isn't likely to break things or hurt performance.

    Some themes have sermons built-in. This is bad if the post types are in the actual theme (most themes do this) because the sermons will be lost when switching to a new theme. It's a good idea to use sermons in a plugin like you suggested. I haven't tried it but imagine Series Engine is handy for non-church themes. Otherwise, there are themes made specifically for churches like ours at http://churchthemes.com that use a free plugin for sermons.

    It's often a good idea to spend extra on an events plugin to get things like advanced recurring events. A lot of churches want bi-weekly and "third Wednesday of the month", etc. Does Events Manager have these? I'm trying to figure out which event plugins are truly worth recommending. I see a lot of people using what Modern Tribe offers (free with paid upgrade) and Timely (I hear features are good but performance is poor).

    We recommend these to churches in addition to Yoast's SEO plugin. I've tested them all and they work great. Our recommendation list is mostly a result of us finding plugins to meet the needs of multiple customers who repeatedly ask for certain features.

    - Antispam Bee
    - Contact Form 7
    - Simple Share Button Adder
    - Kebo Twitter Feed
    - Google Analytics for WordPress
    - All in One Favicon
    - Simple Page Sidebars or WooSidebars

    Plus these two which help keep thing secure and up to date:

    - Limit Login Attempts
    - WP Updates Notifier

  2. Hey Steven, thanks for the thoughtful and educated response! Love the plugin recommendations, always looking to see what other ministries are using out there. We customized our theme heavily so some features are built in for us, but some of the church themes with sermons built in are very poorly planned. We made a custom video player based on fitvid and it works great.

    Regarding Event Manager, the recurring events that are irregular are difficult and would require some good PHP knowledge for sure. We keep our recurring services up o campus pages and then we use Event Manager for one-time, regular recurring and large events. SO it works for us but for irregular recurring events and less customization wanted then I would definitely go with Modern Tribe's plugin. We may decide to go to that but the payment option for events was a nice addition for Events Manager, however we use CCB for our church database so we may convert payments and registration to CCB and Modern Tribe would then be our choice.

    Really appreciate your input!

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