Having an online presence to expand your reach has become an increasingly important element in almost every type of organization.
Even religious entities like churches are creating their own virtual spaces where members can congregate.
Websites are by far the most effective of these virtual solutions. It doesn’t limit the types of content you can share with your audience. Furthermore, it gives you more space and freedom to communicate your organization’s mission and purpose.
In this article, we teach you how to make a church website in six (6) easy steps. We also share a few tips and techniques that can help make the process go much easier.
Video Tutorial: How to Make a Church Website
How to Make a Church Website Step #1: Creating a Plan for Your Website
Building a website is pretty much like creating any kind of infrastructure:
It needs a solid blueprint to ensure its integrity and effectiveness over time.
If you want your Church website to reel in the results that you’re looking for, this step is incredibly important to have down pat.
So, what do you need to include in this plan?
Here’s a quick rundown to get you started:
- Know your audience
- Create a keywords list
- Create a “pages” list
Why is it so important to know your audience?
If your goal is to expand your reach, creating your church message and knowing your audience is an important first step.
A couple of questions to ask yourselves would be:
- What are the core values of our church? Do we have a confession?
- What type of people are we looking to attract? Anyone that’s interested? Only people who are very serious about their faith? Or somewhere in between?
After you answer these questions, you’ll have a fairly reliable picture of what type of people will visit your website.
Now, you can move on to creating your keywords list.
What’s a keyword list and how do I come up with one?
A keyword list is basically a list of keywords that can be related to the type of content or services that your website provides.
For a Church website, this could be things like:
- church service
- episcopal church
- church of christ
- Lutheran church
- prayer group
- community church
- missionary services
To expand your reach, you need to make sure that the keywords you use rank high on SERPs. You can use SEO keyword trackers for this task to get a clearer idea of the numbers that you’re working with.
There are free SEO tools like Google Trends and Moz. However, there are also paid options if you prefer to go that route.
Once you have your keywords list, you can proceed to make your “pages” list.
What pages should I include on the website?
Deciding what pages to put on your website is an important step in the planning process. You want all the pages on your website to be relevant and useful.
Otherwise, it will just be a waste of real estate and might even be a reason for your audience to abandon your site.
The most important pages to put on a Church website are:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Blog (optional)
- Donations (optional)
If there are other services or features that you want to highlight, feel free to include them on this list.
How to Make a Church Website Step #2: Choosing a Domain and Hosting
A domain name is the name of your website.
For example, Google.com is Google’s domain name.
For church websites, it’s best to use your church’s actual name if possible. If your name is already taken, you can try using .net, .org, or some other variation.
While your church website name shouldn’t be difficult to decide, choosing a hosting provider can be VERY difficult. This is because there are THOUSANDS of companies out there who offer hosting (more on this below!)
Here’s how you can choose the best domain and hosting provider for you:
Choosing a domain name
Once again, choosing a domain name for a church is a piece of cake.
Just enter your church’s name and hope no one has registered a website under that name yet!
You can head over to a registrar website like domain.com to check the availability of your church’s name.
If your name is already taken, again, you can try going for a .net or a .org.
You can also try adding the location of your church. If your church is called Sovereign Grace Church, for example, you can make your domain sovereigngracechurchsacramento.com (you get the idea).
Now let’s talk a little bit about hosting before showing you exactly how to register your domain name!
Choosing a hosting provider
You can get your website up and running without a hosting provider.
However, you will need LOTS of technical expertise (as in LOTS).
That’s why most people opt to let the professionals handle it for them instead, and get hosting services.
But here’s the thing:
There are so. many. hosting providers to choose from.
To help you pick one, you’ll want a hosting provider that can offer you optimum uptimes and speeds.
Furthermore, you want your hosting provider to give you the bare necessities for starting a website, such as:
- One-Click Installs
- Flexible Bandwidth
- SSD Storage
- Free Marketing Tools
- Free SSL Certificates
- Expert Web Hosting Support
One of the best beginner web hosting providers existing today is BlueHost.
They offer a variety of web hosting plans designed to meet the diverse needs of customers. Plus, they have their own domain registry so you don’t have to look for one on your own.
If you don’t already have a large following, a great place to start is with a Shared Hosting plan.
The great thing about Shared Hosting is that it costs much less than other hosting options. You get everything you need to get started at a fraction of the price — the only catch is you might have fewer resources to work with at the start.
How do I register a domain name?
BlueHost provides its customers with a free domain for one year. To register your domain name, simply select a plan from BlueHost’s web hosting directory and wait for the domain name registration page to pop up.
Type in your chosen domain name inside the “Create a new domain” window.
Click “Next” to check the availability of the domain you’ve chosen. If it’s available, you’ll automatically be redirected to the “Account Information” page.
Fill this out and proceed to check out.
On the other hand, if your chosen domain name is unavailable, you’ll be prompted to choose a different domain name or use the alternatives BlueHost will provide you.
Everything else after filling out “Account Information” is logical.
Choose your plan → Choose your package extras → Enter your payment details
How to Make a Church Website Step #3: Installing and Setting-Up WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the industry.
They power thousands upon thousands of websites across the globe. Plus, they’re the most accessible CMS for both beginners and experts alike.
The best part? You don’t need to know how to handle a single line of code! This is thanks to WordPress’s THOUSANDS of free themes that you can choose from – and just drag and drop for the rest of your website design.
There will be hundreds of them available in the theme directory. This beats having to hire a web developer to handle the designing and coding side of your website.
How do I install WordPress?
The great thing about BlueHost is that it comes with WordPress pre-installed. You just need to hop on over to your BlueHost dashboard and click “Log In to WordPress” to access your WordPress dashboard.
Your WordPress dashboard is basically where all the website magic happens.
This is where you create your pages, write your posts, store your media, and edit your themes.
You can also use the WordPress dashboard to view different website analytics to review your website performance.
Take your time to explore the different settings and menus on your dashboard. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with them, you may proceed to the next step below.
How to Make a Church Website Step #4: Assigning Pages
Website pages are essentially what keeps your website organized and tidy. If you want your users to have an easy time navigating your website, you need to have a page for different services, features, or contents on your website.
How do I create pages on WordPress?
The WordPress dashboard is fairly intuitive. Everything is labeled according to their function and purpose. So, it shouldn’t be difficult to navigate to the “Pages” menu in the sidebar.
Hover over the “Pages” option and a side window should appear giving you the options “All Pages” and “Add New.”
Click “All Pages” to view each existing page on your current website template.
You can delete these pages and click “Add New” to create the pages that you want. You may refer to your “Pages List” that you created in Step 1.
This will bring you to WordPress’ webpage builder.
You can start by creating titles for each page. The other elements can be added later on. What’s important is that you create your blueprint before you start designing.
How to Make a Church Website Step #5: Choosing a WordPress Theme
WordPress offers thousands of free and paid website themes. To get the results that you want, choosing the right theme is essential.
If you’re unsure which theme you should go for, these tips might be able to help:
Create a “features” list
This helps you determine what features you want your website to have. For example, do you want it to have a one-column layout or a grid layout? How about left and right sidebars? Figure out what features you want and filter your search from there.
Keep colors consistent
You don’t want to deviate from your organization’s colors or branding. Plenty of free WordPress themes have colors that are customizable. However, there are a few that don’t offer this feature. Remember to keep things consistent to appeal with your target audience.
Consider premium themes
While free themes are great because, well, they’re free, premium themes give you a lot more freedom for creativity. The great thing about premium themes is that they have a one-time fee. Once paid, you can use the theme with every other website you run.
For example, this website you’re reading this article on is using Thrive Themes.
Simplicity is always key
Don’t go for themes that are bloated with features. It might seem like the best route to take at first. However, down the line, you’ll realize that all these unused features would just contribute to clutter on your website. As much as possible, choose simple themes that make your website appear clean and straightforward.
Where can I find the WordPress themes?
You can find your WordPress themes under the “Appearance” menu.
Hover over “Appearance” to bring out the sidemenu and select themes. This should bring you to the Themes page where you can browse literally hundreds of WordPress themes.
Choosing a theme is simple. You just click on a theme you like, customize it, and save so you have everything intact before launch.
If you’re unsure about a theme, you can always use the “Preview” option to see if the said theme fits your style. Once you’re sure this is the theme you like, click “Activate” and you’re pretty much done with your website!
How to Make a Church Website Step #6: Adding Content and Plugins
The last thing you want to go into your website is your content. This includes images, copy, widgets, and others.
You want to create a plan of the details you want your Church website to include. What information do you want your homepage to contain? How about your services page? What images do you want to use? Do you want to include videos?
Once you have an idea of the content and images you want to include, you can start choosing plugins to make your site more intuitive and navigable.
The great thing about WordPress is they also offer an entire host of free website plugins at your disposal. They also have paid options, which may offer more functions compared to their free counterparts.
However, we must warn you, most plugins are paid monthly, which would significantly rack up your costs if you’re not careful.
Here are a couple of plugins worth adding:
- Contact form plugins
- Social media plugins
- Newsletter plugins
- Even calendar plugins
Ready for Launch!
That’s basically how to make a church website ins six easy steps. We hope that our article helps you through the process of creating your own church website.
If you have other questions or ideas that you want to share with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our Facebook page. We answer all of our guests’ comments and questions over there. You can also gain other quality insights from our team experts as well as other users.