Frequently Asked Questions about ACWPHow much will it cost our church for a new website?
Because we offer an à la carte pricing structure, your costs will be determined by what add-ons (if any) you choose.
The lowest possible cost for your new website is $360/year, with an additional $400 one-time setup fee. Under this option, you would choose one of our “off the rack” offered themes, and put all the content on your own site. If cash flow is an issue for your church, we offer a monthly payment plan with an automatic charge to a credit card (for many churches, this is someone’s personal card, and they are reimbursed by the church).
It is possible at the upper end to spend around $5000 on your site:
- $360 for you annual fees
- $4000 for a total setup package with custom theme & content help
- $500 for a logo design
- $150 for extra consulting, tutoring, special features added
Is there a limit to the number of pages we can create?
No, you can create as many pages as you need. Practically speaking however, just so you don’t overwhelm the website user, you probably don’t want to use more than 50 pages. Many of the church websites in our program are in the 6 to 10 page size range. Generally, the larger and more active the church, the larger the number of website pages.
What if we get started and discover that putting our own content on the website is beyond our technical comfort zone?
No problem. A big part of ACWP is that we are here to back you up! Whether it’s migrating content (text, images, etc.) from your old site, or helping you create new content, whether it’s getting your whole site ready to publish or just helping with one small thing, we are available to help.
For some projects we have a flat rate — for instance, we can move up to 25 pages of content from your old site for $500. For other projects, we charge $50 per hour in 0.1 hour increments. Small projects (like embedding a YouTube video) might only take 0.1 hour, or $5. We are always glad to give you an estimate on any project, and for many projects negotiate a flat rate.
What if we get content on our site, but don't like how it looks, or decide it doesn't look professional?
See above about help with content. We are always glad to consult with you by the hour about making your site more effective and better looking, and can even help “fix” your site content if needed.
What if our website manager isn't available?
See above about help with content. Need a PDF newsletter to be uploaded and linked to, but the website manager is sick or out of town? We are glad to help! Most content can be changed within 2 business days of a request, sometimes sooner.
How secure are the WordPress sites in ACWP?
Because WordPress is an open-source application, that means that it is more vulnerable to being hacked. We do take many precautions to secure your site, however. Most (about 85%) WordPress sites that are hacked are not using the most recent version of WordPress and plugins, which are always seeking to close known security loopholes. We are vigilant about keeping the WP core and plugins updated.
Additionally, we run WordFence, a sophisticated WordPress security application to monitor both fraudulent logins and hacked plugin files, as well as a number of other server-related security measures.
We also try to educate our participants about things they can do to keep their sites more secure, like using strong passwords, not logging into the site from public wifi locations, and safeguarding your login credentials.
We can also 2-factor authentication login as an option for users. This is where your login to your website requires a passcode sent to your cell phone by text in addition to your username and password. This extra step combines something you know (your username & password) with something that only you have access to (your phone).
While no websites are ever 100% hack-proof, we have thus far only had minimal issues, and those were caught extremely early before they caused lasting damage.
Can we host audio or video files (perhaps from our worship services) on our website in ACWP?
Before offering audio or video files of a worship service for downloading, be sure to check your licensing for the use of any copyrighted material (hymns, anthems, liturgy, etc.). Many standard copyright licenses do not cover podcasting or web publication of copyrighted material, and require an additional (and often costly) license for this use. For this reason, most churches who do share audio or video files tend to focus on the pastor’s sermon.
Audio & video files are by nature very large, and when stored in the same location as your website files, will over time slow down the speed of your website, which in turn will affect your search engine rankings (Google). It is now considered best practice to host (store) these files in a separate location and link to them from the website. For this reason, ACWP does not allow for uploading audio or video files to the website. Files can be easily uploaded to other hosting options (YouTube for video, or Amazon Simple Storage for audio), and linked or embedded in your site. We would be glad to provide suggestions or help getting started with this.
Can we have more than one user on our site?
Yes! Most churches use 1 to 3 users on their sites. A larger church might want more users. WordPress users can be added at an Author or Contributor level, where they will not be able to access site settings, and may need to have their pages or posts approved by a higher level user before they appear on the site.
When more than three users are active on the site, care will need to be taken that they coordinate their activities, or have specific areas of responsibility for content.
Do we have to use a Google Calendar?
No. Some churches choose not to have a grid or agenda view calendar at all. If they are not very active, they may prefer to simply have a chronological listing of activities on a calendar or events page.
Google Calendar is the only calendar application that ACWP supports at no additional charge. We will have to embed your Google Calendar for you from our network administrator level. We will ask that you add us as a user to your calendar, then check your settings and get the embed code. Any changes that you make in Google Calendar will then be pulled into the display of your calendar on your website when a user opens that page.
Some other calendars may be linked to or embedded in the HTML tab of your calendar page, but be aware that iframes (while they may initially seem to work) will break in WordPress, and must be added in a special way. We can help with this.
Will we be able to add our own plugins?
No. Your ACWP site will come with a package of more than 20 plugins that we have vetted for both functionality and security issues and which represent almost all the functions needed on church/ministry websites. Some of these plugins are enabled on every site –some of them in the background, like an email address obfuscator, which scrambles any email addresses on your site to prevent them from being harvested by spambots– and some are more visible in their function, like a form module for your included contact form.
Some of these plugins we do not turn on until you ask for the feature or function they enable. For instance, social media sharing icons that will appear automatically on pages and posts of your website. The more plugins you have enabled, the more complex the management of your website can become, and most of our participants want to minimize the complexity for their website managers.
We are glad to be in conversation with you about your needs and potentially add plugins to our offerings, but this will have to be done at our administrator level. Again, ACWP represents a cost savings because server resources are shared by all the websites in the program, and adding plugins can only happen at the administrative level that manages all the sites in the network.
Will we have full access to the 'root' of the site?
No. All access to the website will be through an editor-level WordPress user account, with special permissions to manage menus, widgets and some plugin features. Images and PDFs can be easily uploaded and linked to through the WordPress dashboard. Additional permissions to manage specific plugin settings from within the WordPress dashboard may be negotiated as needed. Most users appreciate that this prevents them from inadvertently “messing up” their site.
The cost savings of the ACWP come through all the participating websites sharing server and database resources, which means that a person with root or FTP access has access to all the sites in the program. If having this level of access and control is important to you, then ACWP is not for you.
We no longer have access to our current site to edit it, or to our domain name. Should we just start over?
As a worst case scenario, you can always cut and paste content from your current site. If your site is WordPress (or a short list of other builders that import into WordPress), we can migrate your site for you.
If however, you are not near the end of your hosting agreement, or your current site hosting is set to automatically renew on a credit card, you will want to track down enough account access to shut down the account once we get your new site ready to launch.
Continuing to use your existing domain name– unless that domain name is no longer your church’s name, or has other problems — is a huge benefit to your search engine (Google) rankings. It is almost always worth tracking this down, and reclaiming ownership of it. This is only possible if the domain is registered under the name of the church or an individual who is willing to cooperate in the process. Proof of identity is required.
We can help you figure out where to start looking by using some tools to try to determine where your site is hosted, and what company holds the domain name registration. You can follow through yourself, or ask us to do this on your behalf at our regular hourly rate.