LutherNet prides itself on creating simple, beautiful websites, but if you want it all, you can have it all. Interactive maps, contact forms, shopping cart, fundraising (donation buttons or Amazon 3%), user database, forums, Google Calendar integration, file sharing, FREE newsletter sending, photo galleries, Q&A section, animated photos, and much more. Joomla is a CMS that allows developers to create open source scripts that add all the functionality you'll see in the $50,000 website for only a few dollars. For example, the frontpage image component that shows a cross zooming around the desert cost us only $5. The person who created it will make thousands of dollars because he will sell them over and over again. Conversely, if you paid a programmer to create such a component for your current site from scratch, you'd have to pay thousands up front. Plus, when web standards change, your investment would require a rewrite, but the guy who created the $5 version continues to keep his up-to-date so he can continue to sell the component.
That's pretty much the way the open source websites work. You're not tied into one version of anything you use on the site. You can even change the editor. Templates cost under $100 each, and they are created by folks who would get over $10,000 for the design if sold to one company. It's just a better way of creating a sustainable website. LutherNet is not in the business of creating custom scripts to add to your site. However, with nearly a decade of CMS experience, we know where to look, when to pay for a premium version, and how to implement the add-on.
You can get a decent website from the do-it-yourself Wordpress creation tools. It can be inexpensive, too. However, you generally pay for simple add-ons, and those companies have very little incentive to truly upgrade their components because they have hundreds of churches paying for their service, many of which never need a custom solution. Some of those sites will also hijack your business Facebook page or your domain name. And, in the end, it still comes down to a lot of work for you to keep it looking right. At LutherNet, we get it looking right from the start, and then we keep it running smoothly. We're not afraid of trying new ideas. If you see another site with something cool, we can usually find a version of it that works with Joomla. Because we're a small company, we customize every single site to what the customer wants, always keeping ease of use in mind.