The Launch

ymLaunch

Over the past few weeks, my business partner at Five Espressos and I have launched a new service called ymLaunch.  ymLaunch is a WordPress multisite that is built to help youth ministries have their own website.  I was a youth pastor for 12 years or so, and I always wanted my own web site.  I never had the time or the know-how to pull it off.  When it was time for me to be done as a full time youth pastor, I started learning and working as a WordPress developer.  About a year into that, I realized that the perfect service for me to build would be one that was for youth ministries.  So we built it.

So far, this has been a much larger undertaking than I ever imagined.  Don’t think for a moment, that just because a large percentage of sites today are being built on WordPress… it is easy work.  To do things right, it takes time, patience, development skill, amazing people that are willing to help (quite possibly the biggest upside of WordPress), and the willingness to dig deep and learn.

This is all extremely exciting, and a little scary all at the same time.  The product is not quite where I want it to be just yet, but we focused on getting the basics set for Launch.  We will be continuing to make it better, prettier, and easier to use for youth pastors.

ymLaunch is definitely a niche within a niche.  There are plenty of services out there for church websites.  What I found in my years as a youth pastor, though… is that it is really more ideal for youth ministries to have their own site.  They will certainly still want a page on the church site, with basic info and a link to the youth ministry site.  On their own site, though, they can have (and edit) their own calendar, downloads, pictures, and content.  This should make life easier, as there can be ONE place to keep all the content and info people need with regards to the youth ministry.  There are some other major benefits as well, but I’ll save those for another time.   Ultimately, I want to make this as easy as possible (and reasonably inexpensive) for youth pastors, so that they can continue to focus on what is really important:  ministering to students.

Site Refresh

I had some fun today with a site re-design.  I had to dig into PHP more than I ever have before.  I was not only happy with the results, but I learned a ton in the process.  embrace / refrain has always had a clean and minimal look, but it was still feeling a little cluttered to me.  Moving the menu to the right, toning down the font sizes, and making a new logo all combined to create a much cleaner look.  I like what adding just a little color does to the overall effect.

I also added a new archives page.  I have never liked typical WordPress archives, which is why I didn’t have any (at least in the menu, anyway).  What I really wanted was just a listing of posts by date. That way, someone who wants to find a particular post can do so quickly.  This morning, I spent some time looking around other blogs to see how they do archives.  I found a few that I liked, and then set out to make my own.  I still have a few tweaks that I would like to make, but overall I like it and it is very functional.