If you are like me, when you went to Bible college or seminary, they didn't have classes on church website technology. In fact, when I went to college, they didn't have home computers yet.
So now you have been asked to get all the information on the cost of a church website.
Hopefully I can take what I have learned and pass it on to you so that you don't have to learn by just trial and error. You can make an informed decision on whether the cost of a church website is worth it for your church.
What Does A Church Website Cost?
That, in all honesty is tough because it depends on the objectives that you have for your church website. If you just want what is called a one page postage stamp website that gives your name, service times and location, then you can do it for free. However that is not the best use of the opportunity that there is with a church website.
If you want something that becomes a tool to attract people to your church, you can still do it for free but I would not recommend it. Free comes with its own set of costs.
Reasons Not To Pursue A Free Church Website
- Your content is not considered your own. - Many free website providers like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Wix.com and Squarespace.com allow you to build a website for free, but the caveat is that they control what is put on their website. That means that if they do not like that you are promoting a pro-life event on the website on their platform, they can delete the page or the entire website that you built. In today's anti-Christian environment, especially in the tech world, that is a risk that I would suggest you do not take.
- Free website platforms reserve the right to place advertising on websites built on their platform. - In my opinion nothing is tackier than to have display ads on a church website. However not only is it tacky, but many times the ads displayed are inappropriate. They are alcohol ads, political ads, and even ads from other religions or cults. Not a good mix for a church website.
- Many of the free website building platforms are not good for search engine optimization. - In their effort to make things so simple to do, they have eliminated some of the basic things you need to be able to do in order to rank on the first page of Google. Things like heading tags, image alt attributes, and meta descriptions. This makes it harder for people to find your church when they are searching for a church in your town.
Low Cost Options For Small To Medium Size Churches
In my guide to building church websites, I have gone through step by step how to build your own church website for a reasonable price. I suggest you take a look at it.
There are a couple of free church website hosting providers where you can maintain control of your content and what is placed on your church website. They are...
I have never used either of these services so I cannot recommend them personally. All I know is that who you choose as your hosting provider is important. The quality of the computers and hardware they use for hosting can make a big difference in how fast your website is and the user experience on your website. Slow websites cause a bad user experience and many people will just leave a slow website.
However if you are really tight financially and not just someone who thinks everything about running a church should be free, then you might give them a try.
Using free hosting will eliminate about $40.00 to $60.00 per year in the cost of having a church website.
The Realistic Cost Of Having A Church Website
If you want to do it right, then it will cost a little bit to have a church website. However that cost is less than what you used to pay for an ad in the yellow pages.
Cost: Under $60.00 per year.
You will need a program that will dress up your website. It is called a theme. There are free themes on the WordPress Repository. Here are a few of them.
However once again, I am going to recommend that you do not use a free theme unless you absolutely have to. Getting support and updates can be difficult. Most free themes are very limited in options that will make your website unique. So I would suggest you spend the money for a premium theme. Premium themes will cost you anywhere from $25.00 to $90.00. Here are a few options for you.
Now there may be a couple of premium plugins you want to use or you might need to hire somebody to set up your website if you are just totally technically challenged. But I taught myself how to do this stuff and I believe you can too.
So what does a church website cost? Realistically you can do it for under $200.00 for the initial set up and then under $100.00 per year after that.
Like I said, less than the cost of a yellow pages ad years ago.