If you’ve found yourself in a position where you need to create, build or rebuild a Catholic Church/parish website, we’re going to layout very simple considerations with information to make the process as easy as possible. We’ll give you resources and basic information in easy to understand terms that should guide you in the direction that you should go.
First, you need to decide what your budget is going to be and how much of the work that you’re looking to do, verses having another person/company do on your behalf. There are ways to make parish websites for free (yes, free), all the way up to paying thousands of dollars for a company to build and maintain the website for you. In most cases, regardless, you’ll have to pay for a couple subscriptions and for someone to manage some aspect of the website. If you have the money to have a professional do it, it’s always going to be best to go that route.
Second, you need to decide who is going to build the website — in other words, if you’re going to build the new website, or if someone else is. Some parishes will have volunteers in the community who are willing to provide professional web services at no charge. This would be ideal when costs are a concern, if you know that the volunteer is good at what they do, and is reliable. Otherwise, if you’re going to build the site on your own, you’ll need to choose the way that you’re going to decide the site.
There are a bunch’ve ways to build websites, but we’re going to focus on approaching all of this as a beginner. There are a handful of great website builder services, like wix.com, weebly.com, and squarespace.com, which allow you to build a website with easy to use customizable, drag-and-drop templates at little to no cost. If you’re going to build a basic website on your own that you, or an office secretary, will manage, we recommend you check out those services and decide which is the best option for you.
If you want to build something more complex and have the time/interest to learn, you have the option to build your website using WordPress. WordPress is essentially a free website software which a quarter of the websites on the internet use. You will need a hosting provider, like www.Godaddy.com, www.bluehost.com (and can download pre-made websites through a source like www.themeforest.com). Those hosting providers will give you step-by-step instructions for installing WordPress, and each of them have WordPress-specific plans. There is a learning curve with WordPress, but you can have almost unlimited features and customizations when you know how to use it. With the countless web tutorials on youtube, most of the time you can learn how to do something. Again, this would require time and a learning curve, but it is the most optimal way to create a website that needs functionality beyond the simple page builders.
Before you start, you should know that every site will require the following:
- Domain: If you are looking to have a custom web address, you’ll need to purchase a website domain (ie. www.stparish.com). There are a number of companies to purchase this domain through and they’re all relatively similar in cost. Two common places to get them would be through GoDaddy.com and Bluehost.com. This should be less than $30/yr, and is a subscription.
- Hosting: However you decide to build your website, you’ll need to decide where that website is going to be stored, or “hosted.” This means that all of the files for your church website need to be saved somewhere in order to be displayed on the internet. Similarly, you can host a website on a service like GoDaddy.com and Bluehost.com if they website builder that you’re using doesn’t come with a hosting option. This can range from about $50-$120/yr, depending on the service you use and the features that come with it.
If you’re reading this article and you feel like it would be good to seek assistance and hire a reliable Catholic website company, contact the folks at StartupCatholic.com. They are the premier Catholic web design, graphic design, and social media management company for parishes, dioceses, ministries and other Catholic entities.