Website Design for the Church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by pk4life, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. pk4life

    pk4life
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    We have attended a start up Baptist church in our area for the last 3 months.
    They had a free website when we started there, but the pastor has wanted to do something more with it.

    For the last three weeks he has been asking the congregation if anyone can help him do it, he's fairly limited computer knowledge from what I know.

    I didn't want to jump out there in case somebody else knew someone, or could do design work themselves. However, I do have nearly 10 years of experience in graphic design software, 13 years of computer building experience, and years and years of video gaming experience (hey, that counts for something!! :D)

    However, I am not a designer. The problem is, other people started voicing their opinions, and some people thought maybe paying for a website would be the best option.

    The problem is, it's a start up church, with very limited sources. If you say "You could do it for just $200", that's a TON of money to a church who can't even support a full time pastor.

    Also, what CAN you do with $200? Anything? My guess is, you're still not getting anything other than a standard web template, you're just paying somebody to fill it out for you, and alter the theme and colors for you.

    Anybody got any insight on this? Is paying somebody who will accept $200 worth it, when you have to maintain it yourself anyway?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    I believe the easiest thing to do is to have a word press platform and install a desired template. If you go here they are very nice templates for wordpress and they can easily be customized by someone who has your experience.

    Maintain the wordpress platform is easy and very functional and wordpress has some Christian based adons for wordpress like the ability to join and share prayer requests, a forum, a sermon keeper addon etc.

    This is ours http://www.newheartcowboychurch.com/ and it is still being created but it should give you a good live example.
     
    #2 Revmitchell, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2013
  3. 12strings

    12strings
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    I'm not an expert in the field...but here's my experience:

    1. Our Current church website is not great...It is basically a wordpress blog, with a main central area that gets updated when new events or annoucements or sermons come along...and a side-bar with some permanent links to things like the church calendar, links to ministries we like, etc. It is maintained in-house by a church person who is an active blogger.

    2. My wife recently coordinated with a paid Web-designer for our local Choices for Women (pro-life, Gospel-driven pregnancy resource center). They now have, in my opinion, a very professional-looking and functional website that is integrated with the Center's facebook page as well...but it cost them $1500. They consider it worth it, since for most young mothers, online is where they connect with everything in their lives.
     
  4. annsni

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    My husband and I used to do our church website and used Drupal and it was great. But then the church decided to go with a company (Faith Highway) and it was ridiculous. They really overcharged us for what we got. We ended up going with them to host the site and we have a college guy who designed the site on WordPress. It has worked out pretty well, I believe. When they decided to give it to Faith Highway, my husband and I stepped down from doing it but still run some other websites. Drupal is powerful but you do need some skill in using it but it seems WordPress is a bit easier to use although it's not as versatile as Drupal.
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    Since most churches can't afford to hire staff to develop and run a high quality website, there are some easy work-arounds that will help.

    One of the first things to note is that you need to budget $100 a year for website support and such. Maybe a little bit higher in the first year, something like $300. Here's why:

    - Your first step should be to reserve an exclusive URL though a company like NetworkSolutions, NameCheap, or use the hosting company you desire to reserve. I recommend churches stay away from GoDaddy for their registrar for moral reasons.
    - Choose a host. Someone like Bluehost, even Network Solutions, or Dreamhost are good options. They will provide a pretty basic hosting service. If your church is struggling with getting a webpage together this is probably an indication you don't need high-end support. Don't let the tech nerd in the back dictate how much you spend, be practical. I've found that for churches that run under 200 a basic host is good for now.
    - Go and find a CMS template (content management system) that uses Drupal, Joomla, etc. For my personal site I used Themeforest.net to buy an appropriate template that included a blog and tabs for additional info.
    - Take fresh pictures of your facility using a good camera. Develop your web platform thinking like an outsider. This is your store front for anyone under 40 years old.
    - Buy some add-on services, if you can afford them, for SEO (search engine optimization) that will help attract folks who use keywords for searches in your area. Studies have shown that most new guests to your church will check your webpage before they visit.

    Okay, all that said. Let me shoot straight with you.

    If you can't raise or prioritize $200 or $300 for a basic website your church will be hard pressed to see growth. Your website is more important than the sign on your church. It is, in this time, the key piece to attracting new people, informing your members, and developing your ministry.

    One of my roles in ministry is overseeing our web and publicity strategy, among a lot of other things. The availability of nearly free resources out there can let any church have a presence for nearly nothing. In fact, I would say that $300 is best investment you'll spend on your church in the next two years.

    I also talk with other churches about developing this kind of strategy. There are profound realities, supported by stats, about what happens when a church neglects their web presence. Now, if you're an older church you can get away with this and it might not bother you. However, if you want this church to survive and thrive beyond 10 years, this is a critical piece for your ministry plan.

    Honestly, my basic takeaways for a church your size are:
    - Invest $300
    - Buy an exclusive domain name that can be renewed
    - Get simple hosting at Bluehost or Dreamhost
    - Buy a basic template in Wordpress
    - Build it out
    - Have an your weekly announcements on the blog page
    - Add content carefully
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    Our site cost nothing every year once it was up except domain name renewal. The owner of this board has host @ www.baptisthost.net
     
  7. annsni

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    I want to say "ditto" to everything PreachinginJesus said! Once you have it going, KEEP IT CURRENT!!!!! When I ran it, I made use of the scheduling options on the pages so that when we were done with an event, it would unpublish itself so I didn't always have to remember. Keep events posted on there that are coming up, post things that are interesting for visitors - but be very careful about photographs. I had a bad experience with a misused photo that was taken of me and so I am very careful to make sure that we have releases signed for every photograph and I do not post photos of minors on the site. I will show the backs of children's heads or a large crowd of kids but never individual kids. I know it might be overkill for some but I don't want a picture of my own child to be able to be grabbed easily so I don't want
     
  8. pk4life

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    Thanks for all your replies, it is giving me some insight on what other churches are doing.

    I'm afraid I'll probably be stuck with it :type:

    But I'm glad to serve God where I can.
     

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