NOTE: This information is getting out dated. We recommend that you visit ChurchWP from an even better breakdown of prices and options!
If your church needs a new website or wants to revamp their old one, the choices can be overwhelming. There are just so many options out there. If you are completely new to website design, we recommend that you read this post that explains the three main components to creating a new website. If you are familiar with the general concepts, keep reading.
There are many web site companies out there that you can chose from. Each company does things slightly different things. Some create things from scratch. Others modify themes (generic websites) or have created their own unique way for you to modify a theme.
To help you understand your options, we have . .
- Divided the different types of companies into categories (or routes) and briefly explained what they do.
- Created a list of questions to consider which might be your best option.
- Developed a comparison chart below that lists prices and some of pros and cons of the companies our friends have used.
If you want to learn more about the individual companies, click on their name to get redirected to their site.
There Are Many Different Routes Churches Can Use to Build Their Website:
Full Service: These companies do all the work of creating and maintaining your site. You get a completely new sites and don’t have to do any of the work. Unless you are a larger church or a church with a pretty extensive budget or know someone who would be willing to donate their time, I would suggest you try the other options.
Semi-Full Service: These companies do all the initial set up and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work using templates. You can customize the site with your own color scheme and imates. You update it after that via their proprietary system. There are many companies out there. Our friends have used Faith Connector and Clover Sites and really liked them which is why we recommend them. This is good option for churches.
WordPress Setup & Self Manage: With this option, you hire a company to create the initial site and do all the initial SEO stuff. They use a WordPress theme that are easy for you to lean how to manage. You can also hire them to do work for a monthly fee. Frugal Fox Design is a great example of one that specializes in churches. You may have local companies willing to do this as well. This is a great option for most churches because it requires a little bit of money upfront, but your ongoing costs are minimal.
Self Created: You create the site yourself using a WordPress theme or design software and use a hosting company to store them online. Make sure you a responsive site that will look good on all devices. For WordPress Themses, we recommend checking out WooThemes and Theme Forrest. Just make sure you buy a responsive theme (read our post that explains why). We use Goodlayers themes and Elegant Themes really like them. They are easy to use and have great instructions on how to customize your site. For hosting, we recommend BlueHost. They offer great pricing and unlimited everything (bandwidth, domains, etc.) for a very low prices. This is a great option for churches who are on a budget (Cost is $50 initially for theme and $4-8 a month for hosting) and have people who have the time and ability to learn how to use WordPress and figure out domain hosting.
BareBones: If you have little to no budget, we would suggest Google sites. You can use one of their templates and register your domain for as little at $10.
Questions to ask yourself when deciding what route to go with:
1) What is my website budget? This is the most fundamental question.
- $2000+ a year: Consider all the options.
- $800-1500 a year: Consider Semi Full Service (Faith Connector and Clover Sites), WordPress Setup & Self Manage or WordPress Themes.
- $500-$750 a year: Consider Faith Connector , WordPress Setup (Frugal Fox Design)& Self Manage or WordPress Themes.
- $250-$475 a year: Consider a WordPress Setup (Frugal Fox Design) & Self Manage or WordPress Themes (WooThemes and Theme Forrest ).
- Less Than $250: Consider Bare bones options like Homestead (Intuit) and Google Sites or a value package with local design company Frugal Fox Design)
2) Do I have people that have some tech skills that can help create a new site and maintain it?
i. Look at WordPress Site Options. They are very cost effective and give you a ton of flexibility. I would recommend that you buy a Responsive template to make it easier to work with. You can set them up yourself or hire someone else to do it if you have the money.
ii. Look at WordPress Setup & Self Manage
iii. Look at Semi-Full Service Options:
i. Look at Full Service Options if your budget allows.
ii. Look at Semi- Full Service Options within your budgets.
iii. Look at WordPress Setup & Self Manage
iv. Look at WordPress Site Options and hire a company to set it up for you if your budget allows.
3) How often do I want to do a complete overhaul of my website?
- Every couple of years: A WordPress Theme, Faith Connector, or a WordPress Setup Company (Frugal Fox Design) may be an option.
- Every 5 Years: Local Design Compnay, Clover, Faith Connector , WordPress Setup & Self Manage or WordPress Themes might all be options depending on your budget.
I recommend that you chose the best bang for your buck depending on the skill set of your people. I personally really like Responsive WordPress Themes (Goodlayers themes and Elegant Themes) because they have some initial cost and time investment but your monthly costs are significantly less. You can make a pretty professional looking sight. If you have some extra money left over in your budget, I would suggest you do a Google Adwords campaign to make sure your rank higher in certain categories or keywords that define your church (Ex. reformed church, contemporary church, expository preaching). We all know that God is ultimately who brings the people to your church not the Adwords. However, doing this makes sure that people can find you.
Comparison Chart with breakdown of costs and pros and cons of different companies!
We understand that all this can be really confusing, so we created this chart that has breakdown of the different options. It compares 2 or 3 companies that our friends have used and found to provide good service. It lists the pros and cons of each. Click here to download the pdf