Why pay for a church website when I can get one for free?

There are a lot of ways for churches to get free websites.

The General Board of Global Ministries offers free website hosting for churches who have people who know how to write web pages. Website addresses are embedded in the GBGM web address.

Facebook’s Pages offer a good option for churches that want a free online presence.

WordPress, the platform we’re offering through this program, also is available for free.

So why pay for it? Investment.

When we make a financial investment in something, we tend to think it’s important and we care for it.

I’ve seen many church websites built on free platforms that have been abandoned and left running with out-dated information because it just wasn’t important enough to pay attention to.

If you pay even a little something for your website, you have that regular reminder that you thought this was important and it needs attention. And sometimes that makes the difference between an abandoned church website and an updated, current church website that’s connecting seekers with a congregation hungry to share God’s word.

 

What are people looking for in a church website?

It may take a few posts to answer this question, so be patient with me.

People who haven’t been to your church are more likely to check you out online before they darken your church doors. It’s safe. It’s anonymous. They don’t have to “pay” to check you out with money in your offering plate.

Knowing that people will check you out online before they come to your church should help you decide what to put online about your church.

Here are some things people want to know:

  • Location
  • Photo of church building
  • Service time(s)
  • How to dress
  • Children’s programs
  • Photographs of children having fun in the children’s programs
  • Adult classes and programs
  • Photos of adults having fun in the adult classes and programs
  • Sermon series titles
  • Recordings of sermons

People looking at your church online may have questions about the faith or be looking for spiritual direction. Your site might also include:

  • Scripture verses to ponder for the week
  • A daily devotion that changes – this will keep those seeking guidance coming back
  • A brief description of the United Methodist Church’s basic beliefs

 

Stull UMC

Stull UMC website in UMC Web Press

The Stull UMC contacted  the Communications Office in April with a website emergency. Their current host was planning to pull the plug on their website May 1. Was there any church website solution that we knew about that they could access?

We weren’t really ready to launch UMC Web Press just yet, but how can you say no to church that’s in the middle of an emergency? The answer is, you can’t.

Within just a few short days, our team had the Stull web master set up with a site. Once the prior host let go of the domain, we were able to re-direct it to the new site, and within just a few short weeks (and it would have been shorter if the prior host had been cooperative), Stull UMC was up and running on the web again.

Would you like to get your church set up with a turnkey website like this? Complete the contact form on this site to get signed up.

What keeps churches from having good websites?

This is a question I know people have struggled with for years, and there are as many different answers as there are local congregations.

  • The person who set up our site left our church (moved, died, graduated, etc.)
  • The pastor did our website and he or she was reappointed.
  • No one knows how to program a website with that alphabet langauge, what’s it called?
  • We don’t know where to start.
  • There’s a lot of free tools out there, but who has time to learn them?
  • It’s all just so confusing!
  • We don’t have the money for a web site.
  • We don’t have the time to keep it up-to-date.

You don’t have to throw up your hands in defeat. It IS possible for a local church to have an attractive, easy to use, easily updated website.

The UMC Web Press idea was born out of a desire to help congregations achieve this reality using inexpensive or free tools already available by taking the need for technical skill and an expensive investment out of the mix.