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Many churches don’t have the budget to hire a website designer or developer. The good news is, you can develop an attractive and functional website using the best website builder for a church.
Without any prior website experience or knowledge, your team can design and go live with a website that meets the unique needs that churches commonly have.
Benzinga will guide you in creating your selection criteria and provide a list of the best church website builders available.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Church Website Builder?
Using a church website builder will provide you a template and tools specifically designed for your needs. Here’s a look at the benefits you’ll experience in setting up a website using these tools.
Built-in calendar tool
Communicating with your parishioners is one of the most important reasons you’re looking to build a church website. Sharing important dates and events will help you keep everyone apprised of what’s going on at your church.
Customizing a calendar takes too much coding and technical know-how. But with a website builder specifically designed for churches, you’ll enjoy the ease of adding events to the built-in calendar tool.
Accept online donations
Your church operates on the generosity of others. You want to make it as simple as possible for them to support your operations financially.
The best website builders for a church offer integrations with online donation software. That way, you can add a simple button to your website to collect weekly, monthly or one-time donations with ease.
Technology has made it simpler to evangelize outside of the physical church walls. Each week, you can add your pastor’s sermon to the website to share with casual website visitors or even your regular attendees.
Some website builders have tools specially designed for this purpose. Reuse sermons during certain times of the year as a reminder of important church events. Host these sermons on your website and then send them out via email or social media to engage your audience.
User accounts and permissions
Operating a church takes many hands. You’ll want to provide access to update certain aspects of the website according to their role.
For example, your youth pastor might only have access to update the calendar on the website, while your accountant can view all donations and manage online giving options.
You can select what areas of the website to give each user access to. Some users can even have read-only access.
What to Look for in the Best Church Website Builders
Churches have unique needs when it comes to website features. Here’s what to look for and evaluate in the best church website builders.
Ease of use
Managing your website should be extremely simple. Take time to explore all demo videos or training information online about a website builder before selecting it to power your website.
Finding ways to add the tools you need should be simple. The better documentation or support that a website builder has, the better.
Pre-formatted web page layouts
Churches tend to have similar needs as far as what pages are on their sites. Pre-formatted web page layouts can help you create your website quickly while still having it look great.
Using pre-set formats and structure will guide you in knowing what your website needs and setting things up quickly. Plus, it will make your website easier to navigate for your users.
Share updates, letters from the pastor and more on a blog. Blogs can help you add content to your website without cluttering your main menu. This content is also searchable and can help improve your SEO so that local residents can find your church and grow in their faith.
Look for a church website builder that features an easy-to-manage blog option.
You’ll want your website to match your church’s style and branding, which means having many website themes to choose from. The better your options, the easier it will be to align the website to match who you are.
Website builders designed for churches will have themes that point to your higher purpose.
Website design template customization
Even with a wide range of template options, look for a builder that provides customization options. That way, you can add header images or text, customize colors, add your logo and make the website your own.
For churches with team members who know their way around coding and development, it might be nice to look for templates that provide you access to the template source code to make more intricate changes.
The Best Church Website Builders
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a website builder, here’s a look at the top options.
WordPress powers 39 percent of all websites. Its ease of use is unparalleled, and you’ll find tons of support from forums. If you need to hire a developer or designer to help customize your website experience, many specialize in WordPress since it’s so common. You’ll have full control over the look and functionality of your website. And because WordPress is open-source, it’s completely free, which is great news for a church budget.
- Ample template options specifically designed for churches
- Plugins to augment the functionality of your website and to build connections to other software tools
- Extremely easy to use
- Robust role and user permission options
- Security risks if you don’t keep the website builder up to date
- Serious learning curve since it’s such a robust platform
Best For: Churches on a strict budget
Pricing: The website builder itself is free; you’ll just need to plan to purchase a domain and hosting.
Sharefaith is a website builder specifically for churches. Church administrators came together to found Sharefaith, so it’s no surprise that the platform does a great job catering to the unique needs churches have.
- Tons of templates available that are specifically designed for church websites
- Subscription-free demos
- Extra media like photos and banners included in subscription
- Simple weekly sermon upload and viewing options
- Easy acceptance of donations and weekly tithing
- Expensive church website option
- Limited connections when compared with website builders like WordPress
- Storage limited to 100GB, which could add up quickly with large media files like weekly sermons.
Best For: Website builder with built-in donation software
Pricing: Website plans start at $50 a month when billed annually.
Ministry Designs is another website builder specifically for churches. One of the areas where it really shines is in its onboarding training videos. You’ll get a step-by-step look at how to set up your website and start using it to evangelize your community.
- All-in-one marketing tools to manage your email list
- Up to 3 user accounts included in your subscription with the option to add more for a fee
- Responsive and friendly support when you need it
- Templates are average compared to other website builders.
- The total cost of managing your website with Ministry Designs is expensive.
Best For: Customer support
Pricing: Plans start at $57 a month
Nucleus includes many additional services and features that make it an attractive option for a church website builder. You’ll enjoy great features, like email list creation and management. And with a free trial, you can see if the platform is right for you before you invest in it.
- Sign up for a 30-day trial without sharing any credit card details.
- The website builder offers in-depth documentation and support to help you succeed.
- Subscriptions include access to media – including social media posts – you can use across your site.
- Support hours are limited, especially for those on the west coast.
- The only way to accept donations is through RebelGive, which costs extra.
Best For: All-in-one website and marketing tools
Pricing: The website builder starts at $99 a month after your 30-day free trial. To take online donations, you’ll need another subscription of $79 a month.
Although Squarespace isn’t designed specifically for churches, it is a great website builder. It is incredibly easy to use and quite affordable. Adding images and videos to the site is as simple as dragging and dropping.
- Drag and drop media onto your site, which makes adding sermons simple.
- Choose from many template options, all with sleek and modern designs.
- Add contributors to your website for no added fee.
- You’ll need to scroll through several website templates to find a good one for your church since there aren’t any church-specific options.
- Integrations are somewhat limited, which means you may or may not be able to connect to your online giving software.
- If you use Squarespace eCommerce to power your online giving, you’ll need to pay the 3% fee on all transactions.
Best For: Sleek and stunning website designs
Pricing: Prices start at $12 a month for annual plans.
HostGator offers domain registry, hosting and a simple website builder. For those who want to manage everything in one place, HostGator is a great option. This platform is one of the largest hosting services on the market.
- Unlimited space, bandwidth and pages on your website for website to grow with as needed
- Excellent 24/7 support via chat, phone or email
- More than 200 templates available
- No free plan to get started with seeing if HostGator is right for you.
- Setting up donations is complicated and will mean linking out to a third-party service.
- Prices can get expensive after introductory rates wear off.
Best For: Simple all-in-one hosting, domain and website builder optio.
Pricing: Prices start at $3.84 per month for your first year when you pay for an annual plan.
Start Evangelizing Online
You have many outstanding options when it comes to the best church website builders. Most offer a free trial so you can see whether the tool is right for you. Get started testing out templates and functionality to begin evangelizing your community online.