New Website

Hello Smoky Hill! Our new website is up, as you can tell 🙂

Changes like these usually happen for a reason. There are two main reasons for the update, in no particular order:

  • Content. We have heard over and over again that our members and visitors get most of their information from our website. In fact, we’ve heard of several feel-good stories about how the content provided enough information for new members to make Smoky Hill their new church home.
    Unfortunately, maintaining the old website was hard work. I chose a technology/platform with Umbraco that played well with my skills and provided me everything I needed to fully customize the site, but it did not play well with my time. This simply translated into the CMS (content management system) to be harder to use and train others on.
    This affected how we got content in front of our members and visitors.

    The goal of this new site, using WordPress, is to allow the platform to get out of the way and allow our staff and volunteers to add content much easier.

  • Cost. Cost was another factor for the change. I chose to host our old website on Windows Azure where I had many credits that allowed us to host the site for free. It allowed for other ancillary apps such as the registration site to come to life. All for free. As with most things that are free, they run out. These credits were no different. When the credits ran out, the hosting cost would have been around $80 per month. I could’ve tweaked a few things here and there to lower the cost but no substantially.
    In addition, things like SSL were not free; SSL is what allows us to serve our content in a secured way (look at where it shows https at the top of your browser).

    I shopped around for hosting services with free SSL in mind (believe me, SSL is a must). I found BlueHost which allows us to serve the site at around $3 per month.


Now with that out of the way, allow me to discuss the current and future state of this site. Right now, it is a work in progress with moving content over and getting things stood up the new way. We will enable more blog posts, up-to-date content, videos, pictures and podcasts.

Developing this site and maintaining it should be easier, but it’s still not a one-person job. I’m looking for a few volunteers to help me with various skills; including those with limited or no skills at all. I’m a good teacher 🙂

If you would like to help, head over to our Slack Channel. Slack is a great way for us to collaborate on changes. More on this later.

Thanks all, and please be patient while we migrate to this new site.