So, you’ve taken the plunge and you’d like to start a website for your church. First of all, congratulations! It’s a great thing for a church to recognize the value of a website in reaching more people. My hope as a Christian and a web designer is that all churches will have a strong online presence and will use it to spread God’s word.
Now, you might be wondering: What are my options? Where do I start?
This article will provide you with the information you need to start an awesome church website regardless of your church’s situation.
Option #1: Do-It-Yourself (Front-End Only)
This might be a good option for those who are already fairly comfortable with using online design and editing tools. If you have some tech knowledge and background, there are DIY web design services that allow you to design the front-end of your website (that is, the parts that people will see) on your own with relative ease. Also, these services will take care of managing your website’s back-end – that is, the technical structure behind the website that keeps it running. This allows you to work on the site’s design and content without needing to worry about the more technical stuff.
DIY web design services generally include hosting as part of their monthly plans. To learn more about hosting, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Hosting. We will discuss hosting more later in this article as we talk about the other options.
You may have heard of some of these DIY web design services. They include Wix.com, WordPress.com, SquareSpace.com, and many others. While these services all tout their ease of use, there are some downsides.
Option #1 Pros
- You might save money over a web designer, depending on the service and plan you choose. However, this is not always the case.
- You can edit content yourself and keep the your site updated with new content on your own schedule.
- Hosting and back-end maintenance is handled in-house, so you should never have to worry about technical stuff like SSL, DNS, PHP and the like.
Option #1 Cons
- Doing it yourself means that, well, you’ve got to do it yourself. Editing websites can be frustrating and time-consuming. Even though the back-end is taken care of, designing and building the front-end of a website can be a surprisingly cumbersome task. And it’s all on you if you go this route.
- You will also have to remember to update the site yourself at regular intervals. Outdated information makes a website look unprofessional or abandoned.
- Often these services come with limited design customization options. If you would like to add new design elements or functionalities that go beyond one of their pre-built templates, you will probably have to pay for a higher-tier plan with one of these services.
- Cost. It’s amazing how costly some of these website builders can be, particularly if you need to subscribe to one of their high-tier plans.
Option #2: Do-It-Yourself (Front-End and Back-End)
This is the most technical option of the three. The back-end refers to the parts of the website visitors never see – the hosting configuration, SSL certificates, domain registration, and more. These are all things that need to be maintained for your website to stay fast, responsive and secure. If you’re already comfortable with using DIY web design services like the ones listed above, then you may want to look into installing the content management software (CMS) of your choice (ie., WordPress) on a web host. (By the way, the WordPress I mention here is different from WordPress.com mentioned above; see this RojaBlog post for an explanation of the difference.)
The way you would do this is by purchasing a hosting plan from a good hosting provider (like RojaTech, for example). There are many to choose from online.
It’s a good option if you feel comfortable managing the back-end of your own website, or if you have the time to learn how to do it well.
Even though many tutorials claim that using this method is extremely easy, please know that it can be overwhelming for someone who is unfamiliar with it. Sure, when things are going well, it can be pretty straightforward. However, if you run into a problem, troubleshooting and fixing issues can get very technical very quickly.
So, if you consider yourself to be a “tech person” and would like to give this a shot, it’s potentially a good way to go.
Option #2 Pros
- It’s the cheapest option.
- Provides the most flexibility (you choose your CMS and other tools/plug-ins you’d like to use).
Option #2 Cons
- You need to handle all the front-end and back-end elements of the site yourself. If something goes wrong, you’ve got to figure out what’s causing the problem and how to fix it.
- It’s tedious and time-consuming.
Option #3: Hire a Web Designer
As a web designer myself, I admit this is my favorite option. Many churches would benefit greatly from a professionally designed and managed website that is fast, secure and responsive (ie., looks great on all devices, including smartphones and tablets). These days, having a website is very important for a church. It’s the primary representation of your church and its message to the public.
As the world emerges from a pandemic, and people face increasing economic and personal hardships, church staffs will continue to be faced with mounting pressures. With churches working hard to care for their local communities, they often neglect building or maintaining a website. Besides, this is for good reason: it requires a lot of time, and they don’t have it.
That’s why I recommend that a church invest in a good web designer whose mission and values align with their own. You’ll especially want someone who can manage site’s front-end and back-end so you know everything is running smoothly.
Thankfully, RojaTech, LLC fits the bill. We’re Christian-led and believe strongly in making awesome websites that churches can use to do God’s work online and off. Check out this page for more info on what RojaTech can do for your church. A nice church website gives congregants a way to donate online safely and stay apprised on church events and activities. It also gives potential visitors a positive impression of your church.
Also, RojaTech knows and respects the differences between churches and denominations. We choose our design elements carefully so that everything on your website accurately reflects your church’s specific beliefs and mission.
Option #3 Pros
- You don’t have to worry about a thing. RojaTech, LLC can handle all the front-end and back-end aspects of your website. We even provide hosting, email, SSL certificates – everything you need.
- Your church website will be professionally designed and show members and visitors alike that you care about sharing your message with them.
- Your website will always be fast, responsive, and online doing its job.
- You get lots of time back so you can focus on your ministry.
Option #3 Cons
- Many web designers are quite pricey (not RojaTech!). If you decide to go this route, be sure to shop around and find someone who can do the job well for a reasonable price (like RojaTech!).
- A lot of web designers are not familiar with churches and their needs. However, Rojatech, LLC knows churches and can respond to your questions and concerns with ease.
Thank you for reading – I hope this information was helpful. And if your church needs a website or if you’d like more info, please contact RojaTech, LLC today!