For years, the worship service was the front door of your church. The best way to connect people was to have them attend on a Sunday, hope they liked the experience, and want to know more.
The growth of a tech conscience, research minded population has changed that. The church website is the new digital front door of your church.
With 85% of people visiting online before they attend in person, you have an average of 7 seconds to make an impression. Visitors are looking for clear, concise and organized information. They expect service times, location, worship style, children’s programs, information about the pastor, church size, and more, to be readily accessible.
So how can we create and maintain a website that embodies the personality of our church?
1) Plan Before You Act
The tendency with a church website is to treat it like an online version of your bulletin…
Post as much information as possible and let the reader sort it out.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Before you ever design a page you need to answer:
- What is your goal online? (awareness, community connection, church engagement, information, etc.)
- Who is your audience? (visitors, attenders, leaders)
- What will you share? (times, locations, ministry information, etc)
- What do you want to include? (social media, sermon audio, sermon video, event registration, online giving, etc.)
Time and budget are the biggest challenges you will face as you build your website. Once you know what you want to include prioritize them. If you can’t afford to include something in your website immediately don’t give up on it. Consider making it part of a second phase or future budget year.
3) Be Realistic
Don’t underestimate the time required for upkeep and maintenance of your website. It requires technical knowledge to manage the site, forethought to work ahead and people skills to track down information from ministry leaders.
You spend hours each week planning for Sunday and training volunteers to serve. You wouldn’t dream of putting if off until the last minute or ignoring it for weeks. Your website requires the same type of intentional planning and focus.
You need to know:
- Who is responsible for managing the website?
- Do they have the time to do this well?
- Do they have the ability to do this well?
4) Pick A Website Solution
The options abound for website creation, management and upkeep. Based on your plan, priorities and budget you can pick a solution to match.
endlessly customizable based on your needs and ministry desires, mobile integration available
- price depends what technology you desire to incorporate
Pre Packaged Design
customizable church templates with user support
- Bridge Element – http://bridgeelement.com
- no setup fee, $29/month for hosting and support
- ChurchDev – https://www.churchdev.com
- $199 – 499 one-time fee, $29/month for hosting and support
- Clover – http://www.cloversites.com
- $1000 one-time fee, $20/month for hosting and support
- Ekklesia 360 – http://www.ekklesia360.com
- $500 on boarding, training, and setup, $60 – 295/month for hosting and support
- faithHighway – http://faithhighway.com/
- pricing is based on your needs and church size
- Faith Connector – http://www.faithconnector.com/
- $250 design setup and customization fee, $54 – 79/month for hosting and support
- ShareFaith – http://www.sharefaith.com/
- no setup fee, $41/month for hosting
- Site Organic – http://www.siteorganic.com
- $199 – 500 one-time fee, $29 – 99/month for hosting and support
theme based template design, high customizable, mobile friendly options, functionality added in pieces based on your needs, a technically minded staff member or volunteer can design and maintain it for you
- low cost to set up and manage
As you plan your new website or contemplate updating your existing one remember… this is your new front door. It is the way you will be viewed and remembered by a large percentage of your community.
Make certain it represents your church and the gospel in a way worth remembering.