Recently a research study by the Lifeway mentioned that 78% of US churches have websites and that also means 22% of churches are on the side of have-nots. It is a no-brainer that these churches need websites of their own for better communication and bonding with the community.
Well, building a good church website doesn’t take too much cost but some simple efforts made in the right direction. Let’s say, you follow the below-mentioned guidelines and tips and your awesome church website is made in no time. Should we start now?
Take a Breath and Consider the Following Points
Let’s start with some very basic considerations. You are building this website representing a devotional space. You need to be able to connect people easily through this website, right? Well, this is why let’s ask a few questions that will continue to guide the WordPress development services effort.
- Is the website helping visitors being informed about your church?
- Does the website offer all key features and functions specific to church needs?
- Is the church website used by the members at all?
- Does your church have church management software and if yes, is it integrated with the website?
Even if you have a church website and lack any of these functions and attributes, you may need the rebuilding of the site. In fact, the following tips and guidelines are equally for such church websites as well.
Choose A Website Platform
The first and foremost consideration is about the choice of platform. Since you have several high-quality CMS solutions, you don’t need to build a website from scratch by programming the codes. With a CMS solution at less time and price, you can build a fully functional website with all your required features and custom design elements.
As for CMS platforms, church websites should go for either WordPress or Squarespace. If you want to customize your church website with specific things and if you can afford to hire a developer from early on, WordPress is the best CMS platform to go for. WordPress is known for a low learning curve, easy maintenance, and unmatched popularity.
Below, we provide an instance of the church website built on the WordPress platform.
But, if you decide to build a website on your own and if you are not very particular about the features and design elements except your insistence on a good-looking website, Squarespace will be the ideal CMS choice. The important benefits of this CMS are the easiest learning curve, minimum options that make development faster and easier and a one-stop package with a domain, hosting and plugins.
Below, we provide an instance of a church website built on the s CMS platform.
Choose A Website Domain Name
Now, you need to choose a domain name for your church website. A short, simple and easy-to-remember domain name that easily resonates with the faithful audience of your church should be picked up. But when the availability of your preferred domain name is challenged, you can try different options with the city names attached to it.
For example, if your chosen name sacred.com is already taken, you can try options like the following.
When none of these options are available, you can go for the .org or .net or.US option. While availability is always a challenge, don’t go for a weird name that fails to resonate among your audience.
Now, you need a hosting service that will make your website available over the web. Hosting is the server solution that works as the gateway to make any website visible on the web. The hosting charge is mostly around $10 per month. The hosting service provider against this charge stores all your website files and through them allows visitors to access contents and functions.
There are many hosting solutions available in the market ranging from the hosting service provided by your WordPress CMS to the third-party hosting solutions.
- WordPress Hosting: WordPress besides offering free WordPress.com subdomain sites also provides fully hosted websites. With an affordable price, WordPress offers a really fast-paced hosting solution.
- GoDaddy Hosting: GoDaddy offers unmatched support and in spite of being a little expensive is the best hosting solution when it comes to performance.
- Squarespace Hosting: Squarespace offers a complete package with the domain, hosting, and website builder just against a single monthly price of $12 for a new site. This is a good solution as everything is taken care of by Squarespace.
Other credible and popular third-party hosting service providers that you can opt for include Dreamhost, Bluehost, Media Temple, etc.
One of the big reasons to use WordPress for church websites is the ease of achieving a superb design with ease. You can choose a perfectly designed theme from the thousands of free and premium themes. For a church website, you should go for some premium theme options from Elegant Themes, Theme Forest, Woo Themes, or similar major theme makers. You can buy great themes by just paying anything between 20 to $75.
Many WordPress themes also allow a lot of customization options to design your website as per your preferences. Moreover, you can always bring custom changes to themes by taking help from the robust online community of WordPress developers. You can also hire a designer to custom-design your website by bringing changes to a theme.
Now, it is time to look into the required functions of your church website. Church websites require some specific functions and features that you need to give the most priority. Let’s have a look at these key functions.
The church calendar is a must-have feature to give up-to-date information about events and church undertakings to the members and visitors. A good calendar function also takes away the pain of updating the site too frequently. It is best done by using a Church Management Software (ChMS) that already has a calendar function and website integration capability.
A Video or Recording Archive
Though all churches cannot record every sermon, at least having a feature like this is important for certain occasions or when recording an event and uploading it on the web is important.
Getting online donations is actually easier than other means and hence for any church website such a function should not be left out.
Contact Us Form
A Contact Us form should always be there on your site to low people get in touch with the church management.
You can find a number of WordPress plugins for each of these church-specific functions.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a set of practices to gain more search engine visibility for your website. A simple SEO plugin can help you do the necessary for this.
A good SEO plugin like Yoast SEO in WordPress will guide you to perfect the meta description for contents and pages, optimise keywords, create perfect title tags and create ALT tags for all images. For improved SEO, optimized keywords is crucial for success. In order to succeed with SEO, you need to know what you want to rank for, and then identify the keywords that your prospect and target audience are searching for.
Finally, as a Church, you would always like to stay in touch with the members and visitors beyond the Sunday and Wednesday congregation. This is best fine through integrated social media pages for your website. Build profiles and pages of your Church on Facebook and Twitter and link those profiles with your Church website to help visitors find you across social platforms.
Did we miss anything to mention? Maybe, quite a few aspects can still be discussed for building a good website. But for a place of faith and devotion like church, it is important for the website to be simple and straightforward. This is why we restricted our guidelines to the basics.
Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading web and mobile app development company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship, and business. His creative abilities, academic track record, and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.