So you are thinking about building a church website using WordPress. Smart move! Here are just a few of the reasons for creating a church website using WordPress is the way to go for the average church wanting to impact their community.
- WordPress is a free content management system used by more than 60 million websites. 26% of the web is powered by WordPress, including The New York Times, People Magazine, National Geographic, and Forbes.
- Because WordPress is the most extensive content management system, there are a lot of themes (templates) for churches available that enable you to design a church website that fits your mission and values, along with your style.
- WordPress allows you to have more than one person manage your church website making it excellent for different volunteers to add content to their section of the site. For instance, your Youth Pastor can add the youth events or give a testimony of what is happening in the youth department, and at the same time, your Women’s ministry director can update what is happening with the Women’s ministry.
- A WordPress church website does not require anyone at your church to know or understand coding. Any leader or volunteer can run a church website. Trust me; I did not know one thing about WordPress or sites seven years ago when I first started out with our first church website.
- There are multiple plugins available for WordPress that will help you build the type of website you need. Whether it is to put your sermons on your website, import your church’s Facebook page, or to have a beautiful picture gallery of your latest mission trip, there is a WordPress plugin that will make that happen.
- When you build a self-hosted church website with WordPress, you own the content. Nobody can remove the content or do anything with your website that you did not do, or approve to be done.
Examples Of Awesome Church Websites Using WordPress
The Most Professional WordPress Church Website I Have Encountered
Pastoring in Silicon Valley has a few advantages. One is the connection with techies that build church websites. They gave me the example of Risen Church in Los Angeles that shows you just how far you can go with a church website created with WordPress. With its video backgrounds and simple user interface, it is by far the most professional looking church website I have ever seen.
A Heartwarming Example Of A Church Website Built With WordPress
The folks at Glad Tidings Church in Omaha Nebraska know how to build a website that invites you right in. The first thing you see is a personal testimony of what God has done in the life of one of their members. If this doesn’t soften the heart of a person considering visiting their church, then I don’t know what will.
A Simple Yet Effective Example Of A Church Website Using WordPress
I think I would be remiss if I didn’t use my church website as an example. Not that it is the best church website out there, but if I am going to teach you about building a church website using WordPress, then I should probably show you that I do know what I am talking about.
The Vineyard Church in San Carlos CA. is the place where I pastor. We have intentionally made our church website simple. We are a small church, and we don’t want our web presence to give the impression that we are more than what we are. We value honesty and transparency.
Who Should Build Your WordPress Website For Your Church?
So OK, now you have decided that you are going to be building your church website using WordPress. The question now is, “Who is going to build it?” Are you or another volunteer in your church going to be the one that takes on this task or are you going to hire a professional?
I recommend you build the site yourself. The reason I suggest that is that you learn by doing. If you hire a professional to develop your website, then you will always be needing the “professional” to deal with issues that may come up in the future. The time you spend now learning a new skill will be invaluable in the future and will save you much money.
Yes, you can save time by hiring a professional at first, but later when it comes time to train volunteers or to add content or upgrade your website, you will lose time having to learn it anyways.
If you would instead delegate it to a professional that is OK. Just know what you are faced with in the future. I have included some professional church website builders using WordPress at the end of this article.
Say What? Common Terms Used In Building WordPress Websites
Basic WordPress Definitions
When I first started using WordPress, it took me a while to catch on to the jargon that is used. It is almost like they expect the new user to know what all these things mean automatically. So before I go on, I thought it would be wise to give you just a few definitions that you are going to need to understand what everyone is talking about.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system. What that means is that it is a program that organizes and delivers your content when a person comes to a specific webpage. In this case, we are talking about your church website. It also provides the right content on the right page. So when they go to your “about us” page, they get information about the church or the pastor, etc.
Now there is a difference between the program you get from wordpress.org and the website wordpress.com. WordPress.com uses the WordPress program, but it is not the same as using the application on your website. It is severely limiting which I will go into below.
When installed on your church website, WordPress feels like a larger version of a word processing program. Part of what it does is word processing only it doesn’t put out a .docx file or .pdf. It puts out an HTML file that is then embedded on your website.
I like to equate WordPress to the physical human body. It is the part that is underneath all our clothes and our accessories.
What Is A Theme?
A WordPress theme is our clothes. It is what we put on that makes us look a certain way. It is our style. Some themes look modern and sleek, some look plain and minimal, and honestly, some seem old and worn out.
With a WordPress website, you install them on top of the WordPress program. There are free themes and premium themes which I will go into later, but suffice it to say, you usually get what you pay for.
What Is A Plugin?
A Plugin is our bling. It is our accessories that we put on our clothes. Some are practical like a watch or a tie clip. Others are nothing but style options like jewelry or cool sunglasses. You install plugins into your WordPress program.
A plugin can add features like importing all your church Facebook page events or activities directly to your church website. They can help you keep your sermons organized or help you get discovered by people using search engines when looking for a church. There are thousands of plugins you can use.
What Is Hosting?
Hosting is where the party is being held. You have gotten out of bed, put on your clothes, and you have your bling all situated, but you need a place for your new website to be shown off. This is called hosting. Now that is different from having a domain name. Your domain name is the address of the place where the party is being held. The hosting is the actual building on the property.
So you will need to rent a building for your church website to be hosted at. There are good hosting companies and some pretty bad ones. I will go into those more in detail below.
Steps For Building A Church Website Using WordPress
There are several steps when you start building a church website using WordPress. I have given you a logical outline of each step along the way, but I want to address a step that needs to be taken in your head first.
Building your church website will be a lot easier and more satisfying if you approach this as a learning experience rather than just a task to be accomplished. When we are in learning mode, we are much more apt to ask questions, step back and think, and become less frustrated when we try to do something, and it doesn’t work the first time.
I can guarantee you that you will have questions. You will try something and it doesn’t work, or you can’t find the button, section, or some other area on your website that you need to click. There is a learning curve here. Just embrace it and enjoy the journey of learning something new. It will save you a ton of frustration.
There are thousands of videos on YouTube that will show you each step of building a WordPress website. There are thousands of articles on each step of the process on the internet. So don’t stop and throw up your hands and say you can’t do it. Yes, you can. Just learn how to become a researcher that finds the answers to their questions.
Read Duke Taber full article (it’s very detailed) here. This excerpt used by permission.