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Jan
27

Picking a Great WordPress Theme For Your Church Website

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This post in the Using WordPress to Run Church Websites series is about finding an existing WordPress template (“theme”) that you can adapt to use for your church website.

Now that we’ve established the basic layout we’re looking for … it’s time to find a WordPress theme (WordPress-speak for “template).

One super great features of using WordPress is that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of website designers offer their themes for free to the public. And as one great theme designer said, you can save literally thousands of dollars by using these free themes.

You can browse all these at the WordPress Community Themes Viewer here.

What we’re looking for is a theme that supports easy tweaking for your church website.

You’ll want to find one that’s not complex, but is easy to read, with a clean look.

Here are some of my favorite themes that I think could tweaked for use on your church website:

>> Brian Gardner’s themes

>> Chris Pearson’s Cutline theme

>> Daniel gives a list of 10 great themes here

>> WPDesinger has several classic, clean, great looking themes available

>> PlainTxt has some super clean, basic and simple themes that are highly customizable

>> Basic2Col is super with the basic structure to tweak any way you want.

>> IfElse has one simple ones here.

>> Sadish has Green Flower and Hemingway Bright.

>> Here are four themes from the Community Theme Viewer … one, two, three, four.

See all the posts in the Using WordPress for Church Websites series here.

 
iThemes Builder

Comments

  1. Cory,

    Quick question: Most of these themes have a width of somewhere around 700px. I have recently changed my own blog from that width to 900px because the vast majority of my visitors don’t use 1024×768 (although a few do, and one or two still use 800×600, although I can’t understand why). They’re all bigger monitor resolutions for the most part.

    What are your thoughts on design as it relates to this issue?

  2. Rich Schmidt says:

    That’s interesting, Greg. I have the exact opposite problem. I have difficulty finding (good) themes that really do fit into that 800×600 browser window. The reason I stick with that size is that I was stuck with an old laptop with an 800×600 screen until this past summer. Now that I’m on a MacBook Pro, I never have the browser window totally filling my 1440×900 screen. So narrow widths still work for me, even though they do make the design work a bit more challenging.

    Realistically, the web is wider now than it used to be, so a 900 width is no big deal. If you want to be nice, you’ll make sure your main content & navigation fit within the 800 width (like Cory does here), even if some other things get lost off that right side…

  3. Cory Miller says:

    Great questions and dialogue here!

    Looking at my stats both here and my church’s website, about 15% or less have the smaller 800 screens. I think it’s safe to design for the bigger screens if your stats tell you that and you feel comfortable doing so.

    But I think the key is … designing so that even the smaller screens can find the most important information.

    I’m hoping to tweak my template here and use another theme that’s faster loading, by the way. This one has served its purpose though.

  4. I made the switch on my blog to the wider display based mainly on the thought (I’m stereotyping here, but my stats seem to support it) that those who currently follow blogs also tend to be a little more up-to-date in terms of their hardware. There are some who aren’t, as Rick has suggested, but for the most part this holds true.

    I also maintain my church’s website. I have not made the switch to a wider display on that site. The main website is a basic design I put together, but we also have a section called myCitadelSquare where we post current announcements. That section is WordPress based I’m using Chris Pearson’s Cutline them for that. I’m seriously thinking about switching the entire site over to be WordPress based (I’ll probably stick with Cutline, although I just really learned how to do conditional tagging and probably could put together my own theme with some effort).

  5. Armen says:

    Brother Cory, this is an excellent list. Infact, I was just thinking about having a play about with the Cutline theme to see if I could adapt it into something I liked for my own blog.

    What do you think?

Church Communication Pro is a blog and website dedicated to helping churches with church media, church marketing and church branding resources. We strive to keep pastors and their teams updated with the most effective methodologies and tools for church communication efforts.