1. Create a Plan
Building your website will be significantly easier if you create a plan beforehand. You don’t need to plan every word you intend to include, but you do need to have an idea of how you want it to look and what you want to include. Start by identifying your goals for the website.
- Who are you hoping to reach? What are their ages, interests, backgrounds, etc.
- What experience would you like them to have with your website?
- What action do you want them to take after visiting your website?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can ask questions like:
- What are the people I’m hoping to reach looking for?
- What values do we want to communicate?
- How should I organize my content so we reach the right people with the right information?
Once you’ve got these ideas set up, you can figure out what sections you’ll need, whether you’ll need a blog, and whether you want to include videos, podcasts or other media. For more information on how to design an effective church website, you can read our extensive guide on redesigning a church website, as well as this post on 4 common traits the best church websites share.
2. Choose a Theme
Building your own church website is easy when you choose a pre-built custom theme. When you choose a theme, you’re able to focus less on coding and more on the design that best represents your church. Here are few things to consider when you’re choosing a theme:
- Flexible design elements like font, color, background, and mobile optimization
- Features like the ability to create custom pages
- Support available from the designer
- Refund policy
To save time, we recommend choosing a theme custom built with churches in mind. This will make the design process much smoother, as much of the website will have the features you need right out of the box. If you have a larger budget, we recommend that you invest in a theme by Churchthemes.com. The quality of the theme you’ll get will be worth the cost. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can download this theme for free!
3. Find a Host and Choose a Domain Name
Although WordPress itself is a free platform, you’ll still need a website host and a domain name. Running this kind of website doesn’t require too much security unless you’re taking payments or storing your congregation’s private information. So, don’t worry about the high-end packages available. In fact, if you’re a 501(c)(3) registered organization, you may even get free hosting. There are even some hosting providers willing to offer hosting free just for churches. Once you’ve chosen your host and signed up, you’ll be asked to choose your domain name – that’s your .com name. Keep in mind that you will probably will need to invest some money in a good domain name, but the cost of this is very affordable.
4. Get Started on WordPress
Once you’ve got a plan, a theme, and a host, you’re ready to get started on WordPress. Ideally, you’ll have chosen a host with a WordPress extension that you can set up with a single click. If not, get in touch with the host and ask them to talk you through the installation steps. Then, install your theme. To do this, you just need to log into your WordPress account, head to the Appearance bar and choose Themes>Install Themes to upload the theme you purchased. Then you’re ready to customize! Have fun, and don’t forget to stick to your communications plan from Step 1.
Your Church Website — Done in 4 Steps
Building a website is easy, and there are a lot of benefits for both old and new members of your congregation. Have you used WordPress to build your church website? Share your hints and tips in the comments below.