Just like with any other type of website, building a church website is something that requires proper planning. One of the most important components in the process is the choice of the website builder.
For the purpose of clarity, we need to define what we mean by a website builder. When we say “website builder”, we are not referring to an individual who builds websites. Rather, we are referring to a tool that helps you build a website.
This tool will allow you build your website from an existing template that you can customize without having to write any codes. These builders operate on a WYSISYG (What You See Is What You get) basis. This is what is usually described as “drag and drop” functions.
To learn more about website builders, you can read this article here.
There is of course the option of handing your website design and development to a web developer to build from scratch. While this may have its benefits, the process is usually long, tortuous and of course very expensive. Churches are not businesses and so they try to make the best use of the funds available to them.
Just in case you are still not sure, let’s look at some detailed benefits of using a website builder.
Benefits of Using a Website Builder
Easy to Use
This is probably one of the most critical benefits of using website builders. Practically anyone who can use a computer can use one. Like we said above, it operates on a “what you see is what you get” principle. The codes have been written at the back end, leaving you to just point and click, drag and drop, type text contents, upload images and a few other simple tasks.
The best thing about WYSIWYG operations is that with every step you take, you immediately see the effect so you are able to determine if it’s what you want or not. If it’s not what you want, you simply delete it and try something else until it looks right to you.
This is another top reason why website builders are in high demand. Having a developer design and build a website from scratch will gulp thousands of dollars in initial costs. On the other hand, a website builder will cost far less.
How much you will pay for a website builder will depend on a number of different factors. That said, regardless of how much the most expensive website builder is, it cannot come close to the cost of building a website from scratch.
Another thing about building a website from scratch is that you will constantly need to have the website maintained by the developers. This usually means some more money spent on retainers. For website builders, maintaining and managing your website is as easy (maybe a little easier) than setting it up.
This makes it very easy for just about anyone to own and run a website.You can read about more benefits of website builders here: https://www.website.com/website-builder-and-web-design/why-should-i-use-a-website-builder.
Given the above, it is important for these churches that can only afford to use website builders to be able to choose correctly. We shall therefore look at simple ways of determining which website builder will be ideal for a church’s needs.
Choosing the Right Website Builder for Your Church Website
Every church does not have the same vision and mission and so they will also not have the same needs in a website builder. However, there are basic functionalities that should be available in any builder you want to consider for your church’s website.
Even if you do not make use of all the functions immediately, you may grow into requiring those functions in future so having them there from the start is a good idea.
These important functionalities include:
For any website to make any kind of impact today, it must be fully responsive. This means that your visitors must be able to view it fully from any device – computer, laptop, iPad, smartphone etc.
Though this is now a very common feature, you should still watch out to ensure it is included in whichever option you may consider going for.
Adequate Support for Media Content and Distribution
The main purpose of the website is to help the church reach more people than just those that are physically present in the church during services. To achieve this, most churches have different media resources that they either broadcast live or make available for download or purchase.
Whatever immediate media efforts you have in place must be supported as well as those you are considering for the near future. This will include media efforts like: live streaming (audio, video or both), message library for downloads or sales of recorded messages, and other media resources.
As a charitable organization, Churches rely on free will giving from members and other well-meaning folks. All church website builders should therefore have easy payment gateways that will allow people give offerings, pay their tithes and make donations on the site with ease.
As usage and traffic increases, bandwidth needs, storage spaces and other back end stuff will increase. It is therefore important that the platform you choose be able to accommodate these increased and increasing needs with ease.
You do not want a case where your site will crash because it suddenly had a lot of traffic. Whatever increase in usage should be smoothly accommodated at maybe some additional cost. Hopefully, the increased need will also mean an increase in resources, making it easy to pay any additional fees.
Support is critical to the continued success of any website. You should choose a website builder that offers 24/7 support.
If there are other features you think your church’s website will need that are not listed here, then by all means look out for them when making your choice. This list however covers what most churches will need.
We can certainly do the Lord’s work a lot better by harnessing the powerof technology.