These days you do not need to be an internet ‘whizz’ kid to make a website. In order to demonstrate how easy it is to make a website for a church (or any other purpose) I have made one for an imaginary church in about half an hour (perhaps an hour – but I dilly-dallied along the way) and it is here: http://churchwebsite.wordpress.com/
Here is how to make such a website in fairly easy steps:
- Sign up for an account at WordPress.com
- Set up a blog for your church – perhaps using yourchuchname.wordpress.com
- Choose a theme such as the one I chose (‘Cutline’) that has the ‘pages’ horizontally across the top.
- If you’re using the ‘Cutline’ theme you can upload your own photo for the header via the ‘presentation’ tab and then ‘custom image header’. I’ve just quickly added one here using an image I had on my computer – you can do a better job I’m sure. It allows you to crop it to size so any large photo can be used.
- My advice would be to use ‘Pages’ for content that will not change – ie contact details, service times, whatever. These will then appear in the list across the top.
- My advice would also be to use ‘Posts’ for content that you will be updating – ie news items, sermons, whatever. You can add these to different categories if you choose. If you don’t plan to keep on updating the site my advice would be not to add anything that will go out of date in the first place – there is nothing worse than a website listing last year’s Christmas services or somesuch.
- You can customise the sidebar using ‘presentation’ and then ‘widgets’. I’ve shown how you could add things like feeds (perhaps to the Vicar’s blog?) and an introductory paragraph using the ‘text’ widget. You could add photos using the ‘Flickr’ widget if you chose.
- If you like you can add a domain – yourchurchname.org.uk – via ‘options’ and then ‘domains’. For a UK domain this will cost you a tenner a year or less. But don’t worry about this – it isn’t really the important thing.
You can of course make many improvements to this by spending a little more time. There are I’m sure lots of other good ways to make a website, but for someone starting from scratch I think wordpress.com is a great option.
Hopefully this will help someone out there.
Other useful Church website resources:
- The single most useful site I’ve found for making church websites with WordPress is Tim’s LivingOS site. I’m using one of his great themes for our church site – about which more shortly as it is still under wraps (sshhhh). He also has a master list of other WordPress-driven church sites.
- The Churchblogger blog has a lot on using WordPress for church sites, though David hasn’t updated recently. That’s OK though – rummage through the archives.
- The Christian Blog Awards has a section for Church websites. You only have 2 days left to enter. I notice that the Bishop of London will be there.
- Church Communications Pro seems to be aimed at the larger US church scene, but has some useful bits (and bobs).
- Heal Your Church Website is the original church website blog (started in the 1920s I think). A bit technical for me if I’m to be honest, but Dean certainly knows his stuff.