OK, it’s actually Friday when this is posting, but I didn’t want to mess up the theme name. 🙂
Website hosting service is something that every business and organization must find the right solution that works for them. After looking at several options and varying price points, we settled on Squarespace. They are a full feature hosting service with built in online site creation and management tools.
Here are the things that were important to us in choosing a service:
- Ease of use. We have volunteers managing our site as well as staff who all have different levels of knowledge and experience with websites. We wanted something that once built, was easy to use going forward.
- Full online integration. We wanted the ability to update the site from multiple locations and platforms. I have dealt with a website built with software on a single machine before and it just isn’t convenient or practical for our context of multiple people able to update the site.
- Reasonable price. Free hosting always has limitations. All the services we considered with free hosting, just had too many limitations for what we wanted to do. Since we were going to pay for hosting, we wanted something that was affordable, yet could still handle what we needed.
- Video & Audio capabilities. We made sure that the service we chose was able to handle modern media and media embedding.
- Custom URL and easy page names. While our actual URL is registered through another service (that also offers hosting, but wasn’t as user friendly) we needed to make sure that our hosting solution worked well with the registered domain and that added pages and subsites still showed up as part of the main site in the address bar. This makes for easy navigation and even for simplified directing of people to specific pages from outside sources. For instance, we do most of our forms online that people fill out, graduation information, pre-marital information, etc. The ease of giving them the site http://www.capitalcitychurch.org/whatever-the-form is very convenient.
- Forms. As stated above we use online sign ups and information gathering regularly. The ability to do all of that from our actual website interface is very convenient and keeps a consistent look and feel across our online presence. It also keeps people on our actual site and able to navigate to other pages with a simple click on the menu.
- Static page and blog options. This was very important. We didn’t want something that was blog based for the main page; too many limitations. We also didn’t want something that was not blog capable.
- Fully customizable. Templates are fine. They give structure and can make building something simple. However, they also are limiting and can end up looking too familiar. We wanted something that could be built from a blank slate basically. The templates we use are only in page type (blog, form, etc.) otherwise, each page was custom built by one of our designers.
These are the main things we looked at in choosing a hosting service. That is the key: know what is important and what the site needs to accomplish before it is built. There are many great hosting services available, we just found Squarespace to be the one that works best for us in fitting the above criteria.
We are pleased with the results: www.capitalcitychurch.org