Speaking of Clover.

Clover Sites 3: Launch Plans

When we posted the Q & A a couple weeks ago, some of you mentioned that it would be nice to know exactly what Clover Sites 3 will be launching with, and what will be released after the initial launch.

We’ll do a more comprehensive roadmap later, but for now, here’s an answer so you can make plans for your site:

Features Clover Sites 3 will be launching with:

- New site designs (our goal is 10 new designs)
- Multiple sections on each page (this is huge! we’ll post more about it soon)
- Ability to change fonts
- Much more control over colors
- Mobile responsive designs (changing size for iPhone, iPad, etc – you can read more about this here)
- Easy vs Advanced editing (like with Clover Donations)
- Multiple users for the Greenhouse (with simplified permissions)
- A much more sophisticated text editor
- Ability to embed custom HTML
- Brand new media player with HD video
- New slideshow/gallery section

- List page (like the current one with list/grid options)
- Donations page (like the current one)

Features that will be added after launch:

- More site designs
- Calendar
- Forms
- Password protected pages
- Hidden pages (we may be able to get this in for launch)
- Archived pages that can be reused later
- More control over permissions for multiple Greenhouse users
- Ability to embed buttons inside text
- Ability to replace any photo area with a video, map or any custom embedded HTML
- Control over your CSS (we’re hoping to have this for launch, but we can’t promise it)

In addition to just the raw list of features, we’re planning on making constant little improvements and additions as we go along. For example, one high priority thing on the list is to add additional layouts for our new gallery section. Another is to offer more integration between Clover Sites and Clover Donations.

Watch for more upcoming posts with details on some of the new features. We’ll be posting more info as often as we can!

55 Comments

Richard DuPree said on May 13th, 2014:

Will these new features be available to retrofit a site, or will they apply only to new sites?

Ben said on May 13th, 2014:

Hey Richard – these will only be available for new sites on Clover Sites 3. We’ve had to create everything from the ground up for it, so unfortunately there’s no way to add this to the current sites.

Kyle Nieman said on May 13th, 2014:

I am sure you guys are tired of questions like this, but forms are something we use often on our site. Do you have any idea how long after launch it will be for those features to be added?

Darryl Potts said on May 13th, 2014:

For those of us with existing Clover Sites, will there be a way to put a new CS3 together while using the existing site? Or, will we have to build it while it’s live? Thank.

Ben said on May 13th, 2014:

Kyle – we don’t have a timeline yet, but we will do our best to give a comprehensive roadmap closer to the launch.

Ben said on May 13th, 2014:

Darryl – that’s a really good question, and I didn’t realize that we haven’t talked about that yet.

Yes, you will be able to keep your current site running while you set up your new site. And we’re going to do our best to start your new site with all the content from your current one. At least the text of your pages, and things like media items.

Because the new sites have different designs, and have different capabilities (like multiple sections on a single page), there isn’t necessarily going to be a one-to-one translation from your current site to your new one. At the very least, you’ll probably need to edit the pictures on your new site to fit their new sizes and layouts. But again, we’ll do our best to make it easy and allow you to have creative freedom from there!

Martha said on May 13th, 2014:

So…I’m alone in the office right now & just said, “Yeeees!” out loud to my computer when reading that Archived pages will be available later. Thank you!

Mo said on May 13th, 2014:

Will it be possible to delay getting the new site until such things as forms and password protected pages are added?
Some or most of us will have these things in place already and ideally need a way to keep using them in the interim between the launch and subsequent update.

Ben said on May 13th, 2014:

Haha Martha, I love it :-)

And Mo, yes, you’ll be able to wait until whatever features you need are in place.

Amy Gall said on May 13th, 2014:

Thanks for the details – helps me so much!!!!!

Caio said on May 14th, 2014:

I’m so excited about this! Can’t wait!

Cecilia said on May 14th, 2014:

Thank you!

Melanie said on May 15th, 2014:

I’m coming late to the party… are the Clover3 sites a new site that we purchase?
Thanks!

Darby said on May 15th, 2014:

Glad to hear about lots of the updates, but definitely won’t be able to use CS3 until calendar, forms, and password protected pages are available… especially forms, we use those for everything!

Ben said on May 15th, 2014:

Melanie – good question. If you are a current customer that has a website from Clover already, then you’ll be able to upgrade and switch over the Clover Sites 3 for free. If you don’t have a site yet, then you’ll purchase one like normal.

Emily Smith said on May 15th, 2014:

Hi, I have a couple questions! I apologize if I missed them, and you’ve already mentioned these answers somewhere. Will we be able to add more main pages with CS3? Right now we can only list 8, so we end up putting information under categories that don’t really work. Will you also be able to link to a spot on a page, rather than just the page itself? Also, This might be what you mean about “multiple sections on each page”, but will you be able to include smaller pictures that link to documents/other pages, instead of just having one main picture on the main page? And finally — we have one pastor who would really love this feature haha — when you scroll over a title of a page, will it GLIDE out and show you the list of pages below it… so that way you don’t have to click it to see the list? Sorry — a lot of questions! If I should email someone different please let me know! Thanks!

Ben said on May 15th, 2014:

Hey Emily – No problem. I’d be happy to answer all of those questions…

With CS3, it will now let you add as many pages as you want. I can’t guarantee it will always look great in all the designs if you add a ton of main pages, but now we’ll let you make that choice instead of limiting it in the Greenhouse.

At some point, we will make it possible to link directly to an individual section on a page. This always sounds easy, because for anyone who knows HTML, it’s a simple thing. But because we need to make it work with all kinds of custom (and changing) content, it suddenly becomes a lot more complicated. But anyway, it’s definitely on the list to accomplish (probably after the initial launch).

Adding multiple pictures on a page (that can link to other pages, documents, etc) is also in the works. That’s such a big feature that we’ve wanted to do for a long time now. If we don’t have that in the initial launch, it will be one of the highest priorities to add soon afterward.

Ben said on May 15th, 2014:

Oops, I hit submit on that before I meant to :-)

To answer your last question, what your pastor wants is called a “javascript drop down menu” in web terminology. We may possibly have a few site designs that do this. Generally speaking, it’s been a design preference of ours to never use drop down menus like this because we just think they look old and ugly. But there are times when they can be used well, and we’ll consider it for sure.

Emily Smith said on May 15th, 2014:

Thank you so much Ben for your responses! I appreciate it a ton! :)

Emily Smith said on May 15th, 2014:

Hey Ben — last thing — if we happen to have some more questions, is there an email that would be better to write to? Thanks :)

Ben said on May 15th, 2014:

Yes, absolutely :-)

You can email our support team at support@cloversites.com (or you can call them at 805-527-8900). And honestly, they’re better at answering questions than I am!

Emily Smith said on May 15th, 2014:

Thanks!!

JohnNinja said on May 16th, 2014:

Will CS3 offer custom API development for churches that want to connect their clover site more closely with their Church Management System?”

Ben said on May 16th, 2014:

That’s a good question, John (Ninja). There are sort of two answers to it. We will not have an API for custom development any time in the foreseeable future. Any time we’ve planned more advanced features like this, we’ve realized that it’s just not right for the vast majority of our customers.

But, the other side of this question is that, yes, there will be lots of ways to embed code from Church Management Systems into a site. So if your Church Management System allows it, it should be fairly easy to do things like list church members, allow them to fill out their information online, etc.

tony said on May 17th, 2014:

Since forms and calendars wont roll out at launch, can we use those things from CS2 while going live with a CS3 site, and then “upgrade” to CS3 forms and Calendars when available?

Ben said on May 19th, 2014:

Tony – I think Evette asked that on an earlier post, and since then we’ve been looking into how we could make that happen. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to do that, or if you’ll need to just wait to get a new site until all the features that you need are ready. We’ll keep you updated…

Laura said on May 20th, 2014:

APPS!!! I want apps (ios, android) to link our website. Please tell me that you’re going to make an easy app creator for our website. Please. Please. :)

Ben said on May 20th, 2014:

We have as much enthusiasm for apps as you do, Laura :-)

We definitely have plans in the works for a couple different Clover apps. I can’t promise anything definite at this point, but we really do know how important and helpful they would be!

Patti said on May 21st, 2014:

Please forgive me if this topic has been covered already. If we do decide to upgrade, who does the actual work of converting one site to the other and about how long will it take?

Ben said on May 21st, 2014:

Hey Patti –

The process of switching over is actually going to be a bit manual. When you’re ready to do it, you’ll pick out a new site design in CS3, and at that point we’ll copy over your pages, media, etc. But because the new site will have a different design, with different sizes for your photos, and new options for how to display your content, it will require you to go through your site and touch it up a bit. While you do that, your existing site will still be up and running, so you can take your time with it.

For some people, this will be a really fun new design process with more features and options than before. But we also recognize that for others, this isn’t really something you want to spend time on, and you like your site how it is! We’ll do our best to make it an easy process. (And again, you won’t be forced to switch over if you don’t want to).

Pat said on May 21st, 2014:

When we started using Cloversites a few years ago it was easily the best product for our needs IMO. So it’s really disappointing to see how long it is taking you to get up to speed on the latest technology that many of your competitors already offer. And now, you’re telling me that in order to get more current technology I actually would have to go backwards and not have some of the functions I have now (calendar, forms, etc.). And I’m essentially going to have to at least do major editing on my new site. It’s becoming much harder to imagine sticking with CS when my current subscription expires in September…

Ben said on May 21st, 2014:

Hey Pat, thanks for the honest feedback. I would say candidly that we feel those same things internally. If we could go back in time, we’d do anything to create Clover Sites 3 a couple years earlier. But I would also say that even though some of our competitors came out with HTML5 solutions earlier, they didn’t necessarily do it with the same philosophy of quality that we have. (See our earlier Q & A post for more about that).

I can also honestly say that we’ve done everything with the absolute best intentions for our customers in mind, even when those choices haven’t necessarily been what would build our business. We have a small team for what we’ve accomplished in the past 6 years, and we will keep pushing forward with amazing products as quickly as we can!

Lorien said on May 23rd, 2014:

I might have missed this, but will there be an option to set a “date/time” when pages or forms go live?

paula said on May 23rd, 2014:

When you say “ability to change fonts” will that include the user’s ability to adjust font size in their browser? Or some other way that pages will be bigger on bigger screens?

Emily Smith said on May 23rd, 2014:

Hey again! – Will this new new clover be completely flash-based like the current one? (sorry if I missed that somewhere).

Brandon said on May 24th, 2014:

Thank you for all the updates! Excited about CS3! Keep up the great work.

Ben said on May 26th, 2014:

Hey Lorien – that’s a great question. We actually didn’t have this planned as part of the features, but we’ll add it to the list to talk through. I could see that being really useful.

Ben said on May 26th, 2014:

Paula – actually, what we’ve been meaning by the “ability to change fonts” is that as you design your site, you’ll be able to change the style, size and color of the text. But, the way we’re making the new sites will also mean that a user can adjust the size of the font in their browser as well (ie. zoom in). So yeah, it should be the best of both worlds.

Ben said on May 26th, 2014:

Emily – Nope, this one will not be flash based. It’ll be all in HTML.

Philip said on June 2nd, 2014:

Everything is looking great. One thing i’ve been wanting for a while is the ability to have a more advanced podcast page. Maybe something that can be separated by sermon series and not just a large list of old podcasts. Is that possible in C3?

Ben said on June 2nd, 2014:

Hey Philip – Yes, that is something that we have planned for CS3. There are a couple new improvements related to this. First, you’ll be able to have more than one media player on a page, so you can organize your sermons however you’d like. (We’ll post more about this new “section-based” editing soon).

Second, we have another feature in the works that would do exactly what you said – you could have tabs in your media player list to separate them by series (or by speaker or whatever you want). This won’t be available in the initial launch, but it’s on the list for the future.

Kyle said on June 3rd, 2014:

Will Clover Sites 3 work with language and text translation? Either natively within the site or using Google Translate or Bing Translate? We’d like to reach out to our Spanish-speaking neighbors more, and one-click English to Spanish translation site-wide would be great. Keep up the great work!

Ben said on June 3rd, 2014:

Hey Kyle, yes, the new sites will work with Google/Bing Translate, so a non-english reader should be able to do a one-click translation. And I’m glad you’re trying to reach your spanish-speaking neighbors. That’s something that a lot of us over here have a big desire to do as well.

Amy said on June 4th, 2014:

Will the forms have a feature that can remind people that they have signed up for something? Is there a way to block a date for an event that has already been assigned, such as on a volunteer form where only a certain number of volunteers is needed on a particular day?

Trisha said on June 4th, 2014:

I’m with Martha and really excited to see ALL of these changes! WOOT!!!!

Ben said on June 4th, 2014:

Hey Amy – those are great features that are obviously very useful for event sign ups. For our first version of the forms feature in CS3, it will pretty similar to what we currently provide, so it won’t have those kind of advanced options for events. If you need that kind of functionality, I would suggest looking at something like Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com.

Ben said on June 9th, 2014:

Hey Emily – I thought of your comment again just now. You had said that your pastor would love a site with menus that “glide” out, and I had said that we don’t have any plans to do that. Well, we changed our minds, and we’re in the middle of designing a site right now that will have navigation menus like this. I hope it makes your pastor happy :-)

nathan said on June 10th, 2014:

I thought somewhere along the line I saw that churches who have a clover site would be able to upgrade to clover 3 for reduced rate… Is this the case?

Pastor Gary said on June 10th, 2014:

Ben,
As a company that’s specialized in church websites, I have to say that I’m stunned that calendars won’t be a part of the initial CS3 launch. The website calendar is the clearing house for so much information that our congregation needs when they’re off premisses. (dates and times for events, potential room usage). There’s no way we could upgrade until calendars are functional.

Dave said on June 10th, 2014:

Will we be able to pick a brand new design style with the free upgrade to CS3?

Ben said on June 11th, 2014:

Nathan – well, actually, no reduced rate. Because the upgrade is free if a you have a clover site!

Ben said on June 11th, 2014:

Pastor Gary – Yeah, we understand and feel exactly the same way. Calendars are crucial. But even with all the work we’ve put in (and with our growing development team), we just won’t have the time to make a great calendar feature for the initial launch. In the meantime, things like Google Calendar should work well, or you can wait to upgrade to CS3 until we do add the calendar.

Ben said on June 11th, 2014:

Dave – yes. In face, you’ll have to… All the sites will be new. We’re doing our best to design some sites that have a similar look and feel to our existing ones, but the web has changed so much in the last few years, and we’re designing a lot of things that are new. We’re pretty confident you’ll like the new designs…

Ronni said on July 9th, 2014:

Are the spanish mirror sites in Clover

Ben said on July 9th, 2014:

Hey Ronnie – I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking, but yes, you can make Spanish websites with Clover. There isn’t a feature to mirror English content and make other language versions of it for each page, though. So you would need to create one website in English and one in Spanish.