Who Should Build Your Church's Website

So you have finally made the decision —you are ready to build an awesome church website!

You may not be totally sure what it is that you want or what functionality you need, you just know that your church’s web presence really needs to be taken into account.  

The trouble is, you have no idea how and where to get those questions answered and get started.

To help you, we have done a short comparison of several different church website platforms, While this list isn’t all-inclusive, it does contain most of the major players in the market. Hopefully you can find one that will help you with your church website.

 

WordPress

When many people think of WordPress their first thought is that is is simply a blog platform.  That would be the hosted for you version – wordpress.com – which is very similar to SquareSpace.  But the software used is also available for free via wordpress.org to anyone who wishes to build and host their own website.  WordPress relies heavily on themes and plug-ins for the website building process.  It’s extremely extensible nature makes it a very powerful tool.

Pros:

  • A basic website, even with a custom church related theme is not terribly expensive.
  • With a five-minute installation time, it’s super easy to set up.
  • Most of the themes and plug-ins are available as Open Source code, which means you can modify the code according to the needs of your website.
  • Their Content Management System is made up of one of the largest communities on the Internet and there are thousands of free and paid plug-ins and themes to choose from.

Cons:

  • Because of the open-source software it utilizes, someone would need to monitor security and maintenance.
  • If you don’t know how to code, customization can be difficult.
  • Some templates make the content model somewhat restrictive.

 

Squarespace

Squarespace markets itself as a content management system, website builder, a blogging platform and a hosting service where you can also register your own domain. It’s main purpose has been to establish an all-in-one publishing solution for the web.

Pros:

  • They offer a large selection of templates and the ability to create/upload your own design.
  • Many users find them easier to use than WordPress.
  • Because the backend design is so user-friendly, it shouldn’t take long for anyone who wishes to build their own website to figure out the navigation.
  • Squarespace uses an all-in-one platform (website analytics included) without the use of plug-ins or apps.
  • For support they offer 24/7 service through live chat boxes and e-mail tickets.

Cons:

  • They offer only the basics when it comes to marketing tools. If you’re looking for more advanced ways to promote your website, there are not a lot of options.
  • For beginner website builders who want to customize their own site or implement any type of customization, there is a lack of support for third-party apps and plug-ins.
  • It’s not very user-friendly when it comes to adding or moving elements and can be time-consuming to figure it all out.
  • You can’t call anyone when you’re having a problem as there is no phone support.

 

FaithNetwork

Designing custom websites for churches and ministries is one of FaithNetwork’s specialties. Founded in 2007, their Content Management System also provides live broadcasting capabilities and e-commerce storefronts, all with the purpose of helping the church to promote the Gospel.

Pros:

  • Offers three main website packages to choose from with the chance to upgrade easily from one package to another.
  • They cater specifically to churches.
  • Their multi-site church feature allows real-time broadcasting to remote venues.

Cons:

  • If you want to take advantage of all the services they provide, their one-time fee is quite expensive.
  • They do not offer a free trial.
  • Their phone support is limited and they have no live chat feature.

 

Sharefaith

  • Their drag and drop builder makes site creation fairly easy for those that can’t code.
  • The website package includes hosting and up to 3 sub-domains with unlimited pages and sub-pages.
  • They will migrate your website for free.
  • They have a built-in image gallery of 80,000 church graphics to use.
  • They offer free worship software and an online giving and donations platform.
  • Unlike other Content Management Systems for churches, there is no startup cost.
  • They have dedicated customer support agents to help customers from start to finish.

Cons

  • They do not offer any customer website design—each church website is fully built and designed by the customer using their templates.
  • Depending on your church budget, price can be an issue for some churches.

 

Ekklesia 360

Provide both template design as well as custom solutions.  Founded in 2006, their CMS provides on-line giving,  multi-site capabilities as well as live streaming.

Pros:

  • When compared to other church-specific tools, Ekklesia 360 is more robust which allows you do to more.  They can do just about everything—and can go smoothly go “fully custom” if you need to.
  • A dedicated support person/team.

Cons:

  • You would be  responsible for add all your site content.
  • Somewhat of a learning curve to understand how to drive the CMS.
  • It’s expensive. 

 

MyChurch Website

Provides fully customized website solutions.  Built on the WordPress framework which makes for almost unlimited extensibility.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t have a proprietary CMS.  Unlike the other major platforms, you are not locked into a proprietary content management system, which means your content is yours.  No headaches or struggles to export it if you ever move to another provider.
  • Fully customized designs and solutions.  If your design requires a feature not supported – their team will make it happen for you.
  • Unlimited training and support via phone, email or chat.

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive.
  • Newer service provider.