You want to build a church website. Getting started there as some many options it can often be overwhelming. However, finding the right foundation to build on is critical.
One of the most important factors to consider when you build your church website is how easy it will be to update and edit content on the site. For this to be easy we are going to want to use a content management system (CMS). There are a number of popular CMS options that you can consider (Drupal, Joomla, etc.), however WordPress, in my opinion, is by far the best option.
Why WordPress? It’s free (well kind of, but I will explain that more in a minute!). WordPress is open source software which means you can use and build upon the actual application for free. There is a huge open source community of people who build themes to make your site look really good out of the box and create plugins which give your website endless functionality like posting sermons, creating a calendar, contact forms, and the list goes on.
There are two different options when it comes to using WordPress. The first is to use the service provided by WordPress.com. It’s free to use but if you want your own domain name you will need to upgrade to a premium account. However, it does have some limitations, especially when we want to build a church website. The second option is self-hosting (on your own hosting plan) WordPress’ software, which can be found at WordPress.org. With this option you can use a wider range of themes on your site, but most importantly we can use a huge range of plugins to give your church website the functionality it needs.
You have chosen to build your church website using self-hosted WordPress but how do you get started? First you need to find a hosting provider who will fulfill you needs. As I said, the WordPress software is free, however, you do need to pay someone to host it for you. Usually the best solution for church WordPress hosting is ‘Managed WordPress Hosting’. As WordPress is an application rather that just static HTML files security, performance and regular backups are critically important to ensure your congregation and the people you are trying to reach have a great experience.
What about cheaper shared hosting packages? You can do all of this yourself with regular shared hosting, but that takes time because there is a learning curve and if your site gets hacked, well, it’s up to you to fix it. The last thing you want are the users coming to your website being redirected to a dodgy website because your site has been hacked – trust me, I know! This is your churches’ welcome to so many new people, don’t take a chance for the sake of a few extra bucks a month. There are several companies you offer ‘managed WordPress hosting’. One of the best is WP Engine. For $29 they will have your website running blazing fast, ensure its security, and take regular backup so you can lose your work.
He works as a developer for FanSided, a media company running 300+ sport and entertainment websites.