Below is our old church website, which was built and hosted by one of those church-specific website companies. They were nice people and all, but their websites were simply lacking in cost-effectiveness, functionality, and aesthetics. The worst part is we were paying $200 a year for that website.
When I learned that our account was up for renewal at the end of February I went to a few people who had a vested interest in the website and asked if they had had any frustrations with our current site. They did. So I asked what they would think about me designing us a new website for free that would save us $200 a year, look a lot better, offer higher levels of customization, up-to-date functionality, website statistics, and more. Of course, it sounded like a no-brainer (because it was).
The finished product is the site to the right. Everyone is pretty pleased with version 1.0 of the website, and even more new features are going to be added. I know that many churches are struggling financially out there, and so I thought I would offer a step-by-step guide to making a cost-effective website solution for a church.
One little caveat: there is a little trick why this site could have been free, which I will explain later in the series. So, be forewarned that if you start from scratch it won’t exactly be free for your church, more like $85 a year. But I’ll explain how you can add multiple websites for minimal cost .
The web host I’ve used since February 2007 has been BlueHost.com I now recommend to people is HostGator, and I’ve been really pleased with their services. I think they offer the perfect solution for most churches wanting to self-host a website. If you can’t wait for the rest of the series to jump in, you can go ahead and go to HostGator’s website and jump in. Otherwise, get ready for the first post in the next couple of days.