Use a web content management system (web CMS) rather than static HTML
“Static HTML” is shorthand for the way people used to build websites in the 1990s. You would individually create web pages using a text editor or software such as Microsoft Frontpage or Adobe Dreamweaver. Then you would upload them to your web server.
Web publishing technology has come a long way in 20 years. Using a web CMS makes web publishing much more efficient. When you use a web CMS, you can focus on uploading sermons, adding new events, and updating the homepage slideshow rather than fiddling with HTML or CSS code. A web CMS puts you in the driver’s seat.
Select a web CMS which is easy to use and gives the desired functionality
There are scores of options and several which are best in class. There are proprietary web CMS’s such as Ekklesia360 and Clover which charge licensing fees, and open-source CMS’s such as Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress which do not.
We highly recommend using WordPress because it is easy to use and offers you unparalleled flexibility.
Identify the core functionality your church website needs
Most churches have similar functionality requirements for their church website:
- Homepage Slideshow
- Form Builder
New sermon series beginning? Christmas concert coming up? Planning for next summer’s Vacation Bible School? Running an evangelistic Bible study such as Christianity Explored?
A Homepage Slideshow give you the ability to highlight special events and new seasons in your church through images on your homepage.
Visitors checking out your church often like to get a taste of the preaching before they decide to join you for worship on the Lord’s Day. Members and regular attenders appreciate the ability to use your church website to listen to a sermon they missed, or to re-listen to a sermon which was particularly meaningful to them.
Most churches are looking for the ability to:
- Highlight their most recent sermons on the homepage.
- Provide an well-organized archive of past sermons on a separate page.
- Upload and manage sermon recordings as easily as possible.
Both members and visitors to your church need to know When? and Where? When and where is the worship service on Sunday? When and where do Sunday School or Christian Education classes meet? When and where do mid-week events such as Bible studies, women’s groups, and men’s groups meet?
Churches need to be able to:
- Highlight the next events on their homepage.
- Provide a centralized calendar showing everything that is happening in the life of the church.
- Create, modify, and remove events from the calendar as easily as possible.
Many churches also have events which meet at many different locations. If this describes your church, the ability to embed a map in the event details can also be beneficial.
Forms allow visitors to your church website to communicate with you and submit information. The most basic type of form is a contact form which allows website visitors to send a message to the pastor or other church leaders. Another common type of contact form is an event registration form — for example, for a Vacation Bible School program or a Men’s Retreat. Forms can allow you to reduce administrative headaches and paperwork by making it possible for website visitors to sign-up or apply online instead of on paper.
Use the right technology for your church website
We build church websites using WordPress, because it is easy-to-use and industry-standard. Every church website we build offers the following features:
- Sermon Library
- Events Calendar
- Homepage Slideshow
- Forms Builder
Plus, we use responsive web design to make sure that your church website looks great on mobile, smartphone, and tablet devices in addition to desktop and laptop computers.