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“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
Long passed are the days when people were surprised to find out their church has its own website.
These days, most churches have websites and they use them to great effect. Your website can help organize events, offer downloadable video and audio sermons, and publish blog posts to keep your visitors up-to-date.
If you want to build a website for your church that can do all those things, keep reading.
Here’s a sneak peek
The website you’ll build will look something like this:
You’ll have full control over the content in the slider, the menu, and every other element you see.
Customizing is the fun part of the process, but before you get there, you need to start by getting a domain.
Start with a domain
A domain name is the address of a website. For instance, if you want to visit Google, you’ll reach their website at google.com.
If you already have a domain name then you can skip ahead, but if not, follow the steps in this guide:
The problem with finding a domain name is that there are “domain squatters” who have bought up hundreds of thousands of good names and want to sell them to you for 1,000x the original price.
The guide above will teach you a few simple tricks to find a “.com” domain that is unregistered so it only costs you $10.
Signup for hosting
With your available domain name picked out, you’re ready to signup for hosting.
If your domain name is like the land you’ll build your website on, then hosting is like plumbing and electric.
More technically put, you need a server to store and deliver your website’s contents to visitors. These days, no one buys their own server hardware. Instead, everyone pays a hosting company to rent space on one of their servers which is referred to as hosting.
If this is your first time creating a WordPress website, I recommend using Nexcess.
Nexcess is affordable and offers excellent site speed and uptime.
When you create your account with Nexcess, they auto-create a new WordPress website for you. They even handle plugin and WP updates for you, making it easier than ever to manage a WP website.
In other words, they make things really easy for beginners and veterans who are tired of the day-to-day site admin work.
The next step is to pick a WordPress theme to change the design of your site.
Install a new WordPress theme
WordPress themes are pre-made templates that transform the style of your website.
Since church websites are a popular type of website, there are lots of themes to choose from that are built specifically for church websites.
One of the top themes is simply called Church and is available on Themeforest.
This theme includes a huge variety of features:
- Drag-and-drop page builder
- Event calendar
- Built-in donation system (PayPal)
- Responsive image sliders
Besides the extremely customizable design, it also includes all the features you need to publish posts, pages, sermons, and upcoming events.
As I mentioned previously, there are lots of themes to choose from, so if you don’t like the style of this theme, then check out this collection of the top church WordPress themes.
Beyond the theme you could also pick a donation plugin for WooCommerce to accept donations instead of using the tools that come with your theme.
Once you choose a theme you like, you can begin adding your content and customizing your site’s design.
Customize your site
If you’re brand new to WordPress then you’ll do well to start with this guide:
That tutorial will teach some fundamental concepts and walk you through the first steps of site customization. You’ll create a few essential pages and fill out the basic settings needed to brand your website.
When you’re finished with that, you can follow this guide to really change the look of your site:
You’ll learn how to add contact forms, change your site’s background color, and so much more.
When you’re finished customizing the design of your site, you’ll soon be ready to launch.
Add visitor tracking
You won’t know how many people you’re reaching without some analytics, so I recommend installing the free Independent Analytics plugin on your site.
While you can install it any time, it’s helpful to have it before you launch so you can record all of your visits. You’ll be able to see your page views and visitor counts, and there’s a Referrers report that can tell you where your visitors came from e.g. Google, Twitter, etc.
Church site complete!
Since you’re building this website for a close community, there’s no need to delay the launch like a product release.
Once you have a basic version of the website prepared, you can remove the “coming soon” page and start telling people about it.
Events, discussion forums, and more can be added over time as you learn more about WordPress and how to run a website with it.
To summarize the steps, you can create a church website by:
- Choosing a domain name
- Getting web hosting
- Installing a new WordPress theme
- Customizing your website
It’s a fairly simple process, so most of your time will be spent learning the ins and outs of the WordPress interface and the various plugins you’ll install.
If you want step-by-step instruction, this tutorial includes a free 17-part video course on how to make your own website.
I teach a lot of WordPress fundamentals in the video course, so if you’re new to WP, you’ll learn a lot.
Thanks for reading, and if this guide helped you create a church website, please consider sharing it before you go 🙂