Catholic Parish of Alstonville and Wardell
Following changes to the Catholic Parish of Alstonville and Wardell, a new website incorporating both Our Lady of the Rosary at Alstonville and St Patrick’s at Wardell was needed. At the start of this project, Our Lady of the Rosary at Alstonville had had  website for some years, but like many websites, it needed a complete makeover and a move to an environment that would make it much easier for Parish staff to manage content, images, calendars, documents, etc. To my knowledge, St Patricks at Wardell didn’t have a website.

I love the design for this website which was done by the very talented Jodie Clowes (jodieclowesdesign.com.au). And as sometimes happens, there were a couple of completely random coincidences – Jodie and I had both worked at the same organisation some years ago, and Kirstie McLean, who was my initial contact with the Parish, works just down the road, and her partner operates the health and fitness centre located at the end the street!

The site has a beautiful, almost ethereal, tone and whilst the notion of a church website was completely new for me, I’ve since discovered that church websites are quite a large niche market, particularly in the USA. The site conveys a real sense of Parish life, and  I have to say, it made me feel happy while I was putting the site together. This might sound a little bit odd, but if you take the time to have a look at the wealth of images and the breadth of events in the calendar, you’ll see what I mean.

The requirements list for this site was quite long and as well as the site needing to be responsive and easy to manage, we needed to accommodate content, video, image galleries, calendars, document management, news stories, online forms, maps, customised (and dynamic) menus, and more. WordPress was an obvious choice, and for a template, I chose the Elegant Themes ‘Divi‘ drag and drop page editor which allows for customised pages throughout the site, without being restricted to a fixed format.

I’ve used a variety of plugins including the Timely All in One Event Calendar (with which I have a love/hate relationship!) and Filebase. Anti Spam Bee, WP Optimise, jQuery Vertical Accordion Menu, Yoast SEO and Wordfence, amongst others, are also installed.

Jetpack tiled galleries is a very easy way for site owners to add and manage image galleries. The challenge for the galleries is more to do with keeping images compressed and WP Smush.It helps with that! Video is hosted on YouTube.

Training has been done by phone over several weeks, and I’ve also used WP Help which is a great plugin that allows you to build help resources, hints and tips, into the WordPress dashboard reducing the need for lots of notes in other formats!

Site Release:  8 March 2014

Visit the Site: alstonvillecatholicchurch.org.au.

The finished site

(the background image is fixed making it challenging to get a complete screenshot!)

Alstonville Catholic Parish website 2014

The original design

Alstonville Catholic Parish original website design

The original site, circa 2012

Alstonville Catholic Parish website circa 2012

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