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make your own free website

The following instructions are to produce a website:

  • That will cost nothing – there will be no cost for anything from software to hosting
  • That will be simple – so that anyone can set up a website
  • That will be quick – so that busy people can set it up, and keep it up to date

I provided previous assistance on how to make a website – the principles have stayed the same, but some of the details have changed.

St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Cambridge is one of the good examples of a website following these instructions. This includes podcasts, and documents using scribd.

I made the following sample website some time back: the parish of St Isidore of Seville – it took me about an hour to make. I made the following website at the same time as producing this post: The Anglican Churchit took me less than half an hour to produce.

Join WordPress.com and choose an appropriate URL

WordPress is a blogging platform. You can use it as a blog with the vicar, pastor, or any other person, using it as a blog. Or you can create several “static pages” and run it like a website.

A “page” or “static page” has unchanging content – unless the webmaster changes it – and does not (need to) have a date on it. A “blog” (short for Web log) always has a date (and so is in danger of appearing dated!) It is regularly used as an online personal journal – though clearly that concept can be adapted.

You could use the “front page” like a blog, with weekly updates (or as often as you like), for notices, reflections, sermons, whatever (you can switch comments on or off, and moderate them or not). I’ve got St Isidore’s site looking primarily as a website and less like a blog to show you that option – adapting wordpress (initially a blogging platform) for our needs of making a simple, free website.

Make your website

Under “Pages” click “add new” – give your page a name; place any content for the page in the writing area. Easiest for starting is to use “visual” and under that click the last button on the right (hover to read “show kitchen sink”). If you know how to deal with HTML (or say you are embedding a youtube video) you will need to click the HTML tag. You can edit the “permalink” so the URL of this page is just the way you want it. You can “upload/insert” an image, audio, etc. Play around, you’ll soon get the hang of highlighting, bolding, changing colours, etc. To add a link, highlight the words you want to become a link somewhere else, then press “link”. It’s all pretty straight forward and you can’t really go wrong. You can “save draft” and preview what it would look like. “Publish” makes it visible on the web.

You can delay what you write being visible on the web and have it appear automatically at a fixed time and date by clicking “edit” above “publish” changing details there and then clicking “publish” (very useful if you want to plan ahead, or you will be away – don’t forget to click “publish” or it won’t appear on your specified date and time).

You can change the look of your website completely in one click under “Appearance”. You can choose a design in which you can change the “custom header”. All the content of your website is independent from its look – so you can change the look with one click (including when you tire of its current look).

To add a video clip from youtube go to the video on youtube that you wish to add. Copy the information in the “embed” box, paste it where you want the video to appear (in HTML). Save. Publish. Done.

You can authorise a team of people to be able to work on your website – so that several people can be responsible for it (”users”). Children’s ministry can update that section. Someone else adds the text and recording of Sunday’s sermon. Someone else keeps the service times and notices fresh. The sky is the limit. It is free, simple, and fast.

If you have not done anything like this previously PLAY AROUND WITH IT – you cannot damage anything. If it does not look right, or does not work as you would like – all is easily changed.
One final (slightly) tricky bit that will make your site look even cooler.

You can add as many pages to your site as you like – but initially the front page is the blog – and so always has a date. If you want the front page to be a “static page”, not blog-looking:

  • Create the page you want to be your front page. For example, make a page called “Home” with a “Welcome to our parish” and put what you want there. Save & publish.
  • If you still want to use the blogging facility somewhere else on your site: create a page where you want that to go (eg. “This week”) and write nothing on it. Save & publish.

Now, breathe deeply for a moment, here comes the tricky bit:

You want, for example, “Home” to be the front page. Go to “Settings” click “Reading” (Settings > Reading. Click the button “A static page (select below)” and put Front page “Home” “Welcome to our parish”. Save changes (Don’t forget this!) Last bit: if you now check your site you will find “Home” TWICE on the pages tabs.

Picture 2

We don’t want the same page twice. So we will “bury” the second occurrence deeper into our site: Go to the page “Home” page (Pages > Edit – open the actual page). Under “Attributes” on the right hand side, you can see you can organise the “order” that the pages appear.

Above that is the section “Parent” – you bury the second version under any other page. SAVE (Don’t forget – easily done!). Check your site. All completed.

* If you don’t want to use the blog function at all: at the Settings > Reading, leave Front page displays Posts page to “select”.

Don’t forget: if something is not appearing on your site – you may have forgotten to save (changes); you may have forgotten to publish.

THERE IS A PRICE for my efforts at making it easy for you. Please, when you have your website, place a link to “Liturgy” www.liturgy.co.nz. (Links>add new – remove the two standard links first – you don’t need those). Let me know of the website you produce (or have produced) and I’ll link to it from this site, and even feature it so others can see what is possible. Add your suggestions, examples, improvements in the comments below.

Enjoy yourself – getting online has never been this easy.

Some resources to make your website even better.

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21 thoughts on “make your own free website”

  1. Good useful stuff, Bosco. I’m not on wordpess – I began on blogger and have tended to stick with it, so I don’t think it has the ability to ‘convert’ to looking like web pages.
    I’d be interested to know whether it’s easy to shift a blog from blogger to wordpress – by which I mean keeping all the archives of the blogger blog when you shift. Any idea?

    1. Mike, having tweeted this question, I have received replies that there is an export option in blogger, and there is an import option under tools in WordPress. I also received links to here and here. Followers on twitter have done this.

  2. Bosco / Mike…

    Have also tweeted an answer but this is so easy it is childs play. I have done it for two blogs I used to run on the blogger platform and all you need is (once you’re WP is set up) click on tools in the WP dashboard and then import and follow your nose from there.

    In my tweet reply I included a link to a website that detail step by step process or you can even look at the WP site itself for an answer.

  3. …and for very little money – and a little bit more technical effort – you can map a domain name to your site and lose the wordpress.com from the site address.

  4. Bosco

    Thanks for this posting which I noted back in February when I was preparing for my Sabbatical.

    It took me rather more than half an hour !) to get to where I am at the moment but I feel I am through the initial anxiety and beginning to enjoy myself.

    You are duly included in my list of links

    Thanks again

  5. I wanted to let you know how thrilled I am about my new site!!
    I made it for a ministry group at church. It is a surprise from me as their president, so I cannot take the chance and list it now, but I will after Sunday. It was so easy and FUN!! I love the sharp professional look, there is nothing cheap about it!
    I just cannot say enough, but THANK YOU ! and your link is the first on my site!

  6. Angelia Trigueros

    I really really liked all of your directions. I’d like to offer thanks to you for taking the time to type this web site. But I just have one question; do you have an RSS Feed I can sign up to? Please let me know. thanks.

  7. Thanks for your tips and for encouraging me to set up blog/site for my Parish. It was a learning experience. Your intro “Howto” got me off to a good start. When I had challenges with images, the support at WordPress was great.

    We hope that Our Lady of the Cenacle will inspire more people through this site to enter into our Cenacle Parish and meet the Lord.
    As on Pentecost, we know the Holy Spirit works great miracles!

  8. It appears we have a mutual acquaintance across the world here! (Lewis W. here in Texas). He told me about this post and yes we are seeing the same thing here in our part of the World – many churches without even a website – yes still here in 2012, 2 years after you wrote this…

    Which is about the same exact time my wife and I started our business/ministry to help churches produce great websites! We have learned alot in those past two years and we use our website to share lots of great info on what makes a website those first time visitors will want to check out and then finally come and visit your church physically.

    We are seeing great results with this at our church and our other churches we help with their websites.

    Would love all of your reader stop by!

    Patrick Steil

    1. Thanks for your visit and comment here, Patrick. I’ve looked at your website, and it makes many of the points I do on this site from time to time. Currently we are discussing this here. Blessings.

  9. Thanks for the help, Bosco. I have a basic site in place now, and we will see where I go with it. I see lots of over-elaborate websites out there that aren’t maintained. Your approach is straightforward to keep up to date. Simple and quick. You showed me the way.


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