All churches need a website but few can afford hiring an agency or web designer. Luckily, there are many low-cost solutions out there, often completely free to sign up and build your site and under $20/month to host.
But despite the enormous affordable possibilities for church sites, many of them are ineffective. With that in mind, we decided to write this brief post guiding you through the subject of church websites, what makes them effective and how much it costs to create one.
The most effective elements of church websites
While it’s impossible to include all the elements of a successful church site or to predict what functionality you may want to integrate into your site, the following suggestions will help you create an effective church website:
- Attractive design. Making a positive impression is important. Each church has its culture, values, and style which must be reflected in the design. Your church website should do an effective job of presenting the core values of your church for both new attenders and current church members.
- Service information. Some of the website visitors will be arriving to find the schedule of services or details of upcoming events. Make it easy for website visitors to know when and where church activities take place. Provide plenty of information to explain what new attenders should expect if they are to visit a service. For instance, will it be formal or more contemporary?
- Contact information. Every church website should include at least a contact form and physical address. Additionally, you can include phone numbers and parking info. Ideally, there must be the Google maps widget showing your physical location. Luckily, it’s oh-so-easy to embed.
How to select the right web service?
That’s probably the hardest thing. It all depends on how in depth you want to customize your website and whether you need extra functionality.
In general, there are two types of website builders to create a church site: niche site builders and versatile platforms. In our opinion, both types are equally effective.
The key difference between them is in their specialization. While niche church site builders are exclusively geared towards creating church sites, versatile platforms are more flexible and can be used to start any site.
Based on our reviews, the out-of-the-box solutions are more expensive. They do let you easily get a full-featured site up and running within hours, but once your website is ready you’ll have to continue paying a rather high monthly fee, about $50.
While big churches can afford paying about $50/mo for a website, smaller communities may need a cheaper solution. This is where versatile site builders come into play. They don’t offer any church-specific features, but they’re very flexible.
In other words, you’ll probably spend hours customizing your website to give it the desired look, but the outcome can be splendid and will definitely justify your efforts. Once you have finished creating a website, your monthly fee will be about $5-$15/month.
We’ve already discussed the difference between specialized church site builders and versatile platforms in this article.