It’s important for a church to have a web presence. This makes it easier to inform your congregation of upcoming events and provide visitors and members with the information they request frequently: the church’s address, order of services, phone numbers, pastor or special programs.
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 Must Have 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 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 members should expect if they are to visit a service. For instance, will it be formal or more contemporary?
Information for the first-time visitors. Users, who visit your church website for the first time, will appreciate an opportunity to find the most useful info all in one place. This can be a separate page or even a section or a block, but make sure it contains everything you would like the new members to know.
Donate section. As non-profit organizations, churches often exist due to the donations of their members. Many of them welcome donations and use these funds to help people, who are in need, and other charitable organizations. If your church welcomes donations as well, then adding the corresponding section is definitely a smart decision.
News. Keeping your church members aware of the current news, schedule changes and upcoming events is important. Publishing the news all in one section is convenient and time-saving. Add this section to your website as well, but make sure to update it on a regular basis.
Prayer requests. It’s an ordinary practice for all the churches to accept prayer requests from their members. Generally, this is done in a written or oral form. Why don’t you simplify the process and add a prayer request field or section to your church website? You can make it anonymous so that your community members could feel more comfortable when posting their requests. Such option will make it possible for them to save their time due to an opportunity to post prayer requests from home or any other place.
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.
Building a church website is a delicate task that requires understanding the character of the church as a whole. For this very reason, many churches decide to build their websites themselves, rather than hire a web agency. Thankfully, there are many code-free, Do-It-Yourself website builders out there. They offer a great selection of church-themed templates, audio- and video streaming, user content permissions, Bible searches, online donations, prayer requests, calendar, announcements, quick surveys and more.
But which one is the best?
That’s probably one of the hardest questions. The choice depends on how in depth you want to customize your website and whether you need extra functionality. Generally, 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 and havу more options for website’s customization.
When it comes to pricing, though, it appears that church site builders are much more expensive than their versatile counterparts. On the average, it costs about $40-80/mo to use a specialized church site builder, while you can sign up to a non-specialized one for only $6-$15/mo. Let’s have a closer look at two website builders of this kind now.
Wix is a great choice for the non-techies, who aim at developing quality websites. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly. With a convenient visual editor and a rich choice of templates, it becomes a number one solution for those users, who wish to get nice result without serious investment of time and effort.
When it comes to creating church websites, Wix has a notable advantage. It offers a number of religion and non-profit templates, which are designed with regard to the specific niche requirements. Church templates are customizable and you don’t have to be a web design pro to cope with the task successfully. Just select the template you need, explore the available customization options and modify the theme according to your needs. The process is much simpler than you can imagine.
If you feel that the choice of the available widgets is limited, you may continue the search in the incorporated app store to get those you actually need. Keep in mind, though, that Wix is a bit complicated than uKit and it may take some time to explore and master all the features the website builder provides. So, take your time to do that to gain the best result.
uKit is a good alternative to Wix. Its options and features meet the needs of newbies and pros. Due to the rich photo gallery, extensive choice of responsive templates, a variety of customization tools and visual editing options, this website builder is easy to use. At the same time, the range of options it offers is more than enough to create a functional church website.
uKit is simple, convenient and more affordable as compared to other website builders. One of the positive features is the availability of the website version specially designed for visually impaired users. This option makes it possible for this category of people to visit a website and perceive information it provides in a more comfortable and easy way.
When it comes to creating a church website, using a website builder is the best solution. However, you will have to choose between versatile and niche platforms to gain the desired result. Both options work well here. The choice depends upon your actual web building needs and the depth of the church website customization you aim at. If you want a fully-loaded church website with Bible search and prayer requests, and you’re willing to pay about $60/mo for your website, then specialized site builders are probably the best solution for you.
Don’t get caught up in the “more is better” mentality, though, unless you really need it. I’ve tested more than fifty DIY site builders and I can safely say that universal tools work for church websites, too.
Have you had success using a specialized church site builder? Tell your story in the comments!