Review of 5 greatest church website builders as of late 2019
It’s time to admit that churches must pace with time. That is, they need church web sites, which would represent them, their word, and their activity online – as it is stupid to deny that their congregation is not online today. While some individuals may still not be there, the population is actively more engaged in modern mobile phones and the advantage of the complete online connection that they bring along. So, if nearly everyone does shopping online, why a church should not be online? That’s right – a church should be online. Yours should.
But what if you have absolutely no idea, as a minister or a leader of your congregation, how to make and put a website online. That’s right – you don’t have to know this, as this is simply not your area. But we cannot leave you in oblivion and that is why we made this article, in which we cover top-5 online tools, which can make a website for you and with you. It’s as simple in them as to make a presentation in PowerPoint by Microsoft – a block-based structure of works, quirky interface, and no user knowledge at all will make it possible for you to build your own website in a matter of hours or, at least, days.
With almost any of the provided tools on our list, you will be able to save weeks or months of time and thousand(s) of dollars, which you otherwise would have spent paying for the work of website creating studios. It’s far not obvious that they aren’t using one of those tools to make a website for you. So, by cutting an intermediary, you win in everything.
(But if you think that it’s hard for you to even work in an interface similar to PowerPoint by Microsoft – then just find some friend or an advanced person from your congregation and ask to build a website. You can sit together with this person and make it in two, by providing a hand-on operative control, to make things simpler and transparent, with a controlled result.)
So, it’s time to find out, what church website builders can give you and what of your needs do they cover.
Introduction into the best church website builders
In our article about the church website builders, we are going to consider that our reader has at least a normal experience of using websites of modern days, knows how to work with PC and PowerPoint or constructor of Word in general and wants to give some spare time to investigate the work of this or that chapel website maker. If our reader doesn’t have any computer literacy, reading this article may be tough for him or her.
Christian web builders are the online tools, to start working in which, a user has to have a PC/laptop (not smartphone or tablet, as most functionality of their interfaces is designed for tabletop devices), relatively fast Internet connection, and the knowledge about the things that should be placed on the website.
In interfaces of every website maker, the working process starts with the registration and selection of a theme. A theme is a pre-made template for your webpages, which already contains (nearly) everything you might need:
a number of pages, starting with the main page and going to the others: contacts, the list of sermons and events, downloadable things (books, audios, videos, texts, prayers, and so on), and about your chapel. Depending on a template, the list of pages and their names may change but it’s unlikely that it will change significantly from the named ones
appealing visual appearance of each page, which consists of pictures, texts, and organized space of everything that is put on the page. As a rule, every user is allowed to change those on the ones that he or she needs. So, in order to make a new website fast, it is required to have a complete understanding of what you want to say to your readers, and what pictures there will be to show to them
a page to accept donations and other types of help. As a rule, those websites for churches, which embed this functionality to their pages, must have a PCI DSS compliance (if the credit cards of banks are involved), which manifests itself in HTTPS type of address of a website (instead of HTTP) and, therefore, SSL protocol. Most of the tools to build a church web site grant SSL and HTTPS for free, as these two are the latest security standards, which every website would be great to have. If you do research on website makers on your own, however, you can meet that there are some websites that offer these two for additional money (as a standalone payment that is done one time or on a periodical basis). Our personal advice for you – do not make yourself fooled, opt for those website makers, which offer these advancements for free.
Having a website for your chapel or congregation will allow your visitors to find out:
What is your church (to what wing of faith it belongs or to tell more if this is some new faith, which is not widely popular and only a few people know about it)? In any case, this is quite a good chance to popularize it and tell, what the features of your faith are and how they differ from any existing (if there is any difference).
Where it is located physically so people may come to you to listen to the word of your church and to listen to some sermon or to conduct some event – like the baptism of a baby, get married, get divorced, organize a funeral, etc.
What books of faith and books connected to your belief are offered to download. Along with the books for adults, there may be books for children, and other, non-book formats of downloadable files, like video or audios where your spiritual leader tells something (including the pieces recorded from a TV, radio, and news). You can include the sermons in .avi or .mp3 formats to share the word of your church among the congregation and those who only look at you but not visit your sermons yet.
You can share the schedule of events organized by your church – like classes for children, sermons of any kind, or the outdoor events, where your church participates.
Donations that people want to make to support the running of your church – from their cards and e-wallets, including PayPal. If you practice a tithing, then you can indicate the requisites of paying it through a website or to embed a payment process on the page directly to a banking account of a church. The same goes if you sell anything – like organic stuff from your gardens or fields, in growing and harvesting of which your monks or congregation take part. If you do that – then a whole process of an online store needs to be embedded into your pages. But worry not – together with church website makers, this becomes also possible and quite easy to make.
In addition to launching the mentioned and, probably, additional fields, through the use of best website builders for churches, everyone can make additions and amendments to existing pages, rearrange them, change the data in them, and do other things to keep ‘em up to date. Notice that everything you will do is possible to be done by only one person – usually, the one who has launched the website or his/her helper. You don’t have to pay anyone to run the website or draw up any document connected to its initial launching and running – which significantly simplifies your life. The only payment that will be taken from you is a monthly payment to keep your website technically running. It is usually as small as 5-40 dollars and totally depends on the set of pieces of functionality that you want to have. Without an online store, for instance, you will be paying only 10-20 dollars a month – this is something, which any church can afford.
Five best church website builders of late 2019
We have made our preliminary investigation to make it possible to define the ones, which will suit everyone. Just for you to know: there are two specific tools – “Sharefaith” & “Ministry Designs” – but we wouldn’t say that they are better than non-specialized tools. The first one seems like a general tool from the list and the second one has a too huge initial payment to be done, USD 1,000, just to make it possible to launch your website. That’s out of the market, indeed.
Review of Wix church websites builder
You might have heard of Wix even before you started thinking about launching your church website. This is one of the popular tools on the market, the commercial of which pops up in the first results of search due to the maker’s aggressive and expensive marketing.
The advancements of church web sites builder Wix:
Many apps to connect with, located in an own app store.
Very powerful interface, which allows doing even more than a novice user might think he/she needs to have on a website.
The shortcomings of Wix:
Too many templates but none dedicated to churches. However, you can select a theme from the ones dedicated to non-profit organizations and easily adjust to your needs.
Not every theme and app in a store is free.
Limits for bandwidth and storage in so many subscription plans.
The cost of Wix:
You can start with $4.50 a month if you are satisfied with 0.5 Gb storage and 1 Gb bandwidth with pretty much nothing more and ads of the Christian web builder all over your pages. Boost up a little with ‘Combo’ for $8.50 a month to get fewer restrictions. Get up to $12.50 a month to withdraw bandwidth limitations and breathe freer in general. $24.50 a month allow you to get a better storage space, while all plans above $17 dollars a month in ‘Business’ allow you to accept online payments and donations.
Review of Squarespace
‘Non-Profit’ and ‘Community’ options for churches are used well because this site maker does not have dedicated church templates, too. But this is a solvable question.
The advancements of Squarespace:
Great pricing starting with 16 dollars a month without any bandwidth and storage limitations, and with HTTPS and SSL coming for free.
Niceness and high functionality of all templates.
The shortcomings of church website builder Squarespace:
A working interface is not tangled as in Wix but it needs a few more hours to get used to, still.
If you are not paying for a year in a leap, you aren’t getting a free domain and have to buy it additionally.
The cost of church website builder Squarespace:
16 bucks a month offer a decent start, which may be perfectly suitable for churches, which do not require anything like powerful online analytics, professional mailing addresses or smooth integrations with a ton of tools. But if it happens that you consider other its plans, they continue with 26, 30, and 46 dollars a month, allowing taking payments. The one for 26 bucks a month should cover all needs for non-profit organizations completely.
Critique of Weebly church website builder
This church website maker is not a good choice if your chapel is located in a number of Asian & European countries, where it does not work (the same as the sites created & hosted by it). Maybe, this is why it is not known in post-USSR countries, as they first fall under the area, where it won’t work. The rest of the forbidden world includes some sanctioned areas, but in around 90% of all world, it works.
The preeminence of church website builder Weebly:
Very budget-friendly tool.
Nice & easy working interface.
The demerits of church website builder Weebly:
It does not contain church-specific templates as well.
It charges in Euros, so a double price conversion may occur.
The cost of church website builder Weebly:
It is possible to run it for free – but you won’t be capable of taking donations & payments, as well as there will be no free domain or nice storage. If you want to feel any power – jump to 10 Euros a month at least (with two other options of 20 & 30 Euros per month), as subscription for 5 Euros is the same limited, as the free-run only with a possibility of a free domain (but with no decent storage & no money intake).
Critique of Sharefaith church website builde
Sharefaith is a specialized maker with many themes for churches of all kinds.
The preeminence of church website builder Sharefaith:
A specialized tool with specialized templates.
A good tool that covers over 8,000 churches globally.
Nice & simple working interface based on functional WordPress.
The demerits of church website builder Sharefaith:
Costly if to compare to other thee on the list above.
The cost of church website builder Sharefaith:
In September 2019, Sharefaith church website builder hid all the information about its pricing deep inside of its site & now it’s impossible to find out what is the actual price, without digging & spending a lot of time. However, we have done it for you & have unearthed the following data: it goes for $25-$79 a month. The difference is in the functionality that you select, which includes such special things as Sunday lessons, donations, offline curriculum, mobile-friendliness, Bible lessons, a number of domains, a scheduler & app, amongst the other things.
Critique of Ministry Designs church website builder
It is hugely powerful – the same as Sharefaith but it is not a beginner-friendly.
The preeminence of church website builder Ministry Designs:
Great functionality & many educational materials.
Many designs to select from.
The demerits of platform Ministry Designs:
The initial entrance fee is large.
Approximately half of its templates are similar to others.
The price of tool Ministry Designs:
A thousand dollars as an entrance fee & 20 bucks monthly for running. No other packages, everyone just pays the same price.
Finality about church website builders
We are not saying that specialized church website builders are the best tools to choose, as well as we are not saying that non-special ones are the best if you don’t know what you want to place on your website. If you want to have you covered, pick Sharefaith for the vastness of things that are faith-specific. If you want to “look around” for a start – then pick Weebly or Wix.
What religious site creator is the coolest in its ease?
Weebly has the easiest working area while Wix offers a more complicated but truly powerful one.
What religious website maker is small budget-friendly?
Weebly goes for no money at all, while, the gain power, it’s gonna be 10 Euros a month at least (also, in Weebly) or 12 dollars a month in Squarespace.
What is on the top of a pile – a general tool or specific tool for churches?
If you want to have everything pre-designed by church specialists – go for Sharefaith. If you count on a little money – pick Weebly.
Choosing the best domain for a religious website
A free domain name is given to you by every building tool & you can’t pretty much rename it. The paid one can be renamed & optimally should include the name of your church or congregation.
What about hosting for church websites?
Every tool hosts the site by default, no additional worries needed.