You can create an incredible church website for your congregation without technical know-how, and without spending a lot of time and money. There are free church website builder options and platforms that provide step-by-step instructions. How you build a church website depends on whether you want to pay for services, how detailed you need your church website to be, and when you need it done. Each website building platform has pros and cons, so in this guide, we’ll compare the options available for creating a church website.
What Should Your Church Website Offer?
Today parishioners use the Internet daily to find information and stay up to date. Having a church website is essential if you want to provide efficient service to your congregation, and reach out to people who might be looking for G_d. A church website brings you into your parishioners’ homes and makes spiritual guidance immediately available. You’ll want to include vital information like your church contact details, a prayer schedule, a list of religious services, and church events. A church website also needs to give the viewer an idea of the church ethos – what type of people go there, what denomination is your church, and what Christians can expect when they join your church. Decide if you want to provide minimum essential information or include articles and resources addressing religious issues. Some church websites have an option for online donations. Most importantly your church website needs to open the door to further involvement in the church.
Some of the features you might need on your church’s website include:
- Church calendar of special events and prayer service times.
- Login or sign up option for members of the congregation to register and new members to join the church. You might want to have some sections of the website available only to certain members of the congregation.
- Clear, easy to navigate layout and attractive inviting design.
- Upload recordings or transcripts of past sermons.
- Option for online donations.
- Template Options – design options, also called layouts or themes with everything already in place, requiring only that you enter your personal information and images.
- Plugins – Special features, like apps, that you can add to a website for example contact forms, photo galleries, etc.
- SSL – Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protects you and your visitors’ information by encrypting sensitive data on your site.
- Option for multiple website administrators, with different user permission options.
Here are the Top 5 Church Website Builders:
- Hundreds of church templates, some free and some for a fee.
- Plugins that church websites need such as donation buttons and Sermon Manager
- Page builder plugins like Elementor that beginners can use to easily build a church website without writing any code.
- Multiple users and website administrators can be added with different roles and permissions.
- You choose if and what adverts to show.
- Lots of online support.
- Updates, backups, security, and website maintenance will have to be done by you.
- There are so many options and add-ons with WordPress.org that you might find it overwhelming.
- WordPress.org is free but can’t be used without a domain name (usually $10-$20 per year) and web hosting (like BlueHost) which starts at about $8 a month, paid annually.
- Setting up a WordPress.org site, as well as hosting can be daunting for beginners.
Ministry Design is a church-specific website builder, which means it is a platform specifically for building church websites. Ministry Design is extremely easy to use, and you don’t need to be tech-savvy.
- Easy to use.
- Preloaded themes.
- Church-specific so the themes reflect spirituality, and the features are the ones needed by churches.
- Support staff all have a background in the ministry.
- Unlimited file storage, including audio space for uploading sermons.
- Designed for sharing so you can send automatic updates, reminders, and newsletters to your parishioners.
- Unlimited online screen-share support and training for new accounts.
- Expensive! At $1,000 one-time fee plus a monthly fee of $20, Ministry Design is pricey.
- Although you have everything you need, there is nothing mind-blowingly cutting-edge.
Wix is a great option for easy church website setup. They offer free and paid options, and the design is flexible.
- Customization is intuitive, so you don’t have to do much. Once you select your logo or main image, Wix will intuitively offer appropriate color themes and other options.
- Drag-and-drop options so you don’t have to fiddle with placing elements on the page.
- Low ongoing maintenance, just set the site up and it will almost look after itself.
- Edit existing pages of your church site on the page itself instead of going into “editing” mode like with other platforms. This way you see how it will look in real-time.
- 18 church-specific template themes.
- More than 250 free and paid extra plugins.
- 14-day free trial.
- More expensive than some other options at about $18-$105 a month.
- The provided storage is limited. So if you upload lengthy recordings of sermons you could run out of space. The option is to choose a more expensive Wix plan or upload videos and audio to YouTube and then embed it on your site.
- Depending on the size of your site, Wix might be too simple.
- The biggest downside is that once you’ve chosen your template you can edit and customize it but you can’t change it.
Sharefaith is specifically designed for church websites. It has many free features all relevant to religious themes.
- All the templates, images, and plugins were specifically designed for use on church websites.
- Drag-and-drop, with more advanced features for the tech-savvy crowd.
- Free basic support for setup.
- 7-day free trial.
- Expensive, at a minimum of $25 a month, and prices up to $893 a year.
- Limited storage.
A church-specific website building platform with a clear layout of different sections. As the name suggests it is a central hub for all of your church’s online needs.
- Offers all the features a church website needs.
- Easy to use.
- An all-in-one solution for churches where all matters concerning your congregation can be featured. You can even add a sermon page, talk to the pastor page, and prayer request page.
- Zero technical knowledge is necessary to set up your church site.
- 30-day free trial.
- Simple is good, but Nucleus might be too simple for your needs. They have kept it so simple that the only choice in design that you have is whether to use a light or dark theme and which pages to add.
- Expensive at $80-$100 a month or more. They offer optional packages of Web $99, Giving $79, and Media $39, but you probably want all three.
And in case you don’t find what you’re looking for, try these other excellent website building tools:
Squarespace – Best for aesthetic designs.
Weebly – Budget-friendly.
Gator – Reputable, all-in-one solution.
Strikingly – Easy to use.
Jimdo – Great if you want a simple site.
Church123 – Church-specific web building platform, quick to set up, super simple in 3 steps.
Tithe.ly – Church-specific but with a focus on receiving donations for your church.
Which is the Best Website Builder for Church Websites?
When you choose your church website platform, keep in mind ease of use, features, budget, ongoing maintenance, necessary tech-savvy, and efficiency. WordPress is by far the most professional, Wix is easy, and Nucleus, Sharefaith, and Ministry Design have the advantage of specializing in church websites. Use one of the above website builders to create your church website today.