Most of you know that I have a heart for smaller churches in rural areas. Churches that typically don’t have staff that handle technology needs. In most smaller churches, this is how the website is created; a friend of a friend who took a high school class about web design offers to create a page for free. And many churches make the mistake of going with something less than desirable just to say they have a webpage.
It is better to not have a church webpage, than to have a terrible one. Let that sink in for a minute. You have one chance to make a good first impression. People will form opinions about your church from the first image that pulls up on their screen. I have been amazed at how many people visit our church due to our website. We have seen numerous families, especially those who are new to the area, mention that they found us first on the internet.
People expect a lot from internet sites. In the past it was enough just to list your service times, but people want more information. They want to know the type of church, what you believe, who is on staff, and how your children’s ministry works. They even want to listen and watch sermons so they can check it out before they come. Most of all they want to feel welcomed and invited to visit. It’s scary visiting a church for the first time. You don’t know what to expect. Because of that, we have a responsibility with our websites to help people overcome their fears of church.
We are lucky at our church to have a part time administrative assistant who keeps our website updated and handles everything on it. Even though I like designing websites, I simply don’t have the time to pastor and to work on the site. We use a site design content mangagement system called Soholaunch
It’s not perfect, and I get frustrated sometimes by what it can’t do, but it has been a good solution for us so far. If your church needs a new website, I did want to share some other low-cost options for you to consider. If you really want to do a great customized site, then I suggest you find a designer who is easy to work with and can accomplish what you want. But truthfully, most designers are out of the price range for smaller churches.
After designing this site in wordpress, I am seriously impressed with it’s power to create and customize. You can get basic unlimited hosting accounts for as little as $6 or $7 per month (see Bluehost as an example), and you can either use a free theme or an inexpensive premium theme. To see the potential you have to create awesome sites with this blogging software, check out this church theme from Studiopress.com,- here is the demo site and here is the info on how to purchase it for only $59.
Church Website Solutions
If you aren’t quite comfortable designing your own site using wordpress, then you probably want to check out a company that specializes in church websites. There are some great ones out there, and prices vary widely based on what you want. I would strongly encourage you to integrate audio and video into your website. I will give you a few examples of companies that I am familiar with. These all do a great job of getting you started.
Remember, you only have one chance to make a great first impression. How are you using your website to build community and communicate truth?