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Posted on Jan 3, 2014 in Tools | 6 comments

Clover… And Why You Should Care about Your Church’s Website

UPDATE: I’ve recently built the website for my new church using CloverSites. You can visit Cypress Street Church of God’s page here to see yet another example.

I never considered myself “artsy”.  My wife is the artsy one: crafting and drawing and sewing with a deftness that makes we mere mortals sick! It wasn’t until I became a worship pastor that I discovered my own ability to distinguish between what looks good and what does not. I suppose many worship leaders have this gift. It stands to reason that someone with an ear for what sounds good might also be wired with an eye for what looks good.

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And so I’ve been asked to work on random creative projects ranging from logos to ministry/church names to paint colors to decor to websites and more. These creative projects have proven enjoyable but also time-consuming. I suppose that’s why larger churches hire “creative” staff in addition to worship leaders.  But for many of us leading worship in the blue collar ministry context, we’re it! And I think we owe it to our churches to lend our “eye” as well as our “ear”.

Websites are a perfect example. If we leave our church websites to the “techy” people in our church, we will–more often than not–have very functional but drab websites. Many of the guys/gals who understand the code and other technical aspects behind websites lack the more “artsy” gift of making things look good. Browse some church sites and you’ll quickly identify which have put a techy volunteer in charge of an artsy endeavor.

So what am I suggesting? That worship leaders must also be in charge of church’s websites? Not necessarily. All I’m really asking is that you be a voice for excellence.  And I want to give you a great suggestion to bring to the table: Clover Sites.

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In my time at LifeQuest Church, we’ve had two major website endeavors.  The first was to hire a local website design company which resulted in a LOT of communication to achieve the look we wanted and a LOT of money as every little change resulted in labor charges. The second was a breath of fresh air from the start. So let me share 5 reasons I love Clover Sites:

  1. My absolute #1 reason for recommending Clover is the same reason I recommended ProPresenter: I’ve actually found it enjoyable to use! And in the world of website management, that’s truly a rarity.
  2. Clover’s editor makes it easy to keep things looking good. In fact, I can train and place volunteers in charge of sections of the website without regard for whether they’re gifted with an eye for design.
  3. They’re designed for churches. They offer sites for all types of organizations now but they started out in the church site business and you can tell.  In fact, their home church is the one Francis Chan planted in Simi Valley, CA and they still run that church’s custom website.
  4. Their customer support is awesome. The source of the two or three problems I’ve ever contacted them about was….me! (ugh) Their response has always been quick, kind, and helpful.
  5. They’re constantly making things better. They’ve added a ton of great features since we joined about 3 years ago and I’m really excited about the HTML5 upgrade coming soon (current website owners will get a free upgrade).

$1,000 may seem daunting. Maybe your church has never spent that kind of money on things like websites before. But we have found the product to far outweigh the price and trust your church wouldn’t have regrets, either.

Are you involved with your church’s website in any way? What do you use? Do you have questions about Clover?

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Photo credit: kaibara87 / Foter.com / CC BY

6 Comments

  1. This is definitely an area that my church needs to address. We have a fancy schmancy “looking” website, but the opening page is too busy IMHO. To me, the opening page of any church website should load quickly (immediately) and have all the standard ministry link titles in a very obvious location and order. If you want to get a little fancier with the page art, pictures, videos, etc., save it for interior pages.

    • If they blanch at the cost, you could consider Wix, they have some clean looking templates and no set-up cost.

      • I was talking with our sound man last night after our worship team practice and he mentioned that there is talk among our church leadership about changing our website completely. I mentioned Clover and he said that is one of the 2 that were mentioned. I don’t know what the other one is, but I’m excited to know this is on the current agenda. I will mention Wix to them, as well.

        Off topic slightly, but one thing our church has initiated through our current website is online giving/tithing. So far though, people are not taking to it as I thought they might. To my own shame, I haven’t actually setup my account for this either. My pastor asked by a show of hands last week how many people were using it and barely a hand went up. We are still a predominantly older church. By that I mean, folks that aren’t as computer literate, perhaps resistant to online purchasing, etc.

        • Yes, Clover offers the online donations but we haven’t used it because we don’t believe the increase in giving would outweigh the extra fee’s incurred. It’s possible that a church could actually lose money switching to online giving. But I know the concept is to bring in people who have never been giving to church before. For many of those folks, online is where they do stuff!

          Tough decision, I think.

          • Since I last wrote, I decided to setup my online giving account. This may sound really silly, but I wonder if some people prefer to be seen placing an envelope in the offering plates each Sunday morning? Not necessarily like a prideful thing, but maybe they just don’t want to pass the plate because they may look like they aren’t contributing (silly, I know!), even though they gave online? I know we should not be judging anyone like that, but I’m talking about human nature. It is my understanding that because of the online option we have had a couple of recent substantial one-time gifts from people from other parts of the country who believed in our missions focus. It’ll be interesting to see if this catches on with our local congregation over time.

          • Maybe so. I know we’ve got a few “old school” folks :) who just really believe they need to bring their tithe in to the church every week. Literally.

            I have personally found it to be a bold-faith commitment to actually set up an automatic payment plan through my bank.

            I wonder how much of this is a generational issue. Even beyond the tech side of things. Just the concept, in general. Interesting.

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