Ultimate Guide to Building a Church Website With WordPress

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Why WordPress?

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You are considering building a website for your church using WordPress. It’s a smart move. These are just a few reasons why WordPress is the best choice for churches looking to make an impact on their communities.

  • WordPress, a free content management platform used by over 60 million websites, is. WordPress powers 26% of the internet, including The New York Times and People Magazine, National Geographic, Forbes, and National Geographic.
  • WordPress is the largest content management system. Many templates (templates for churches) allow you to create a website that reflects your values and mission.
  • WordPress lets you have multiple people manage your church website, making it easy for volunteers to add content. Your Youth Pastor could add youth events and give a testimony about what is going on in youth ministry. At the same time, the Women’s Ministry director can update the Women’s ministry.
  • WordPress does not require anyone in your church to know how to code. Any leader or volunteer can manage a church website. Trust me; I knew nothing about WordPress or websites seven years ago when we started our first church website.
  • Many plugins for WordPress are available to help you create the website you want. Many WordPress plugins can help you create the website that you want.
  • You own the content of a WordPress-hosted church website. You are the only one who can modify or remove content from your website.
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Examples of Awesome Church Websites Built Using WordPress

The Best WordPress Church Website I’ve Ever Come Across

church website using wordpress

There are a few benefits to pastoring in Silicon Valley. One of these advantages is the ability to connect with techies who build church websites. I was shown the Risen Church example in Los Angeles, which shows how far you can take a WordPress-based church website. Thanks to its simple interface and video backgrounds, it is the most professional-looking church website I’ve ever seen.

This is a heartwarming example of a church website built with WordPress

Glad Tidings in Omaha, Nebraska, knows how to create a website that welcomes you in. First, you will see a member’s personal testimony about God’s work in his or her life. This will make a person feel more at ease about visiting their church.

another church website using wordpress

A simple but effective example of a church website using WordPress

My church website is a great example. It is not the best church website, but it will serve as an example of how to build a WordPress church website.

Mesquite Worship Center. This is where I am a pastor. Our church website is simple. Our church is small, and we don’t want to make our website seem larger than it really is. Transparency and honesty are important to us.

Who should build your WordPress website for your church?

Now you’re confident you will build your church website with WordPress. Now the question is: “Who will build it?” Will you build it yourself, or will you hire a professional to do it?

You should build the site yourself. This is because you can learn best by doing. You will need a professional to help you with any future issues. You will save a lot of money and time by learning new skills now.

Although hiring a professional can help you save time, it will cost you more time later on when you need to train volunteers, add content, or update your website.

It is fine to delegate the task to someone else. This article includes some professional church website builders who use WordPress.

Say What? Common Terms for Building WordPress Websites

Basic WordPress Definitions

It took me some time to understand the terminology when I first began using WordPress. It’s almost as if they expect new users to understand all of these terms automatically. Before I continue, I thought it was prudent to briefly outline the definitions you will need to be able to comprehend what everyone is saying.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management platform. It is a content management system that organizes and delivers your content to visitors when they visit a particular webpage. This is your church’s website. It also contains the correct content on the appropriate page. They can also find information about the pastor or church through the “about us” page.

There is a slight difference between the WordPress program from wordpress.org and the one you will find on wordpress.com. WordPress.com uses WordPress.com’s program. However, it is not the same application you use on your website. It has some very restrictive features, which I will discuss below.

WordPress is a large version of a word-processing program that can be installed on a church website. It does word processing, but it doesn’t produce a.docx or.pdf file. It creates an HTML file that is embedded on your website.

WordPress is the physical human body. It is the underside of all our clothing and accessories.

What is a Theme?

Our clothes are the WordPress theme. It is the clothes we wear that make us look certain. It’s our style. Some themes are modern and clean, while others look simple and minimalist. And some themes seem old and worn.

You can install themes on top of your WordPress website. I will discuss this later, you can choose from free or premium themes. But suffice it to say that you almost always get what you pay.

What is a Plugin?

A plugin is our bling. Our accessories are what we wear with our clothes. Some accessories are useful, such as a watch or tie clip. Some are functional, such as a watch or tie clip. Others offer style options like cool sunglasses and jewelry. Plugins can be installed into your WordPress program.

A plugin allows you to import all of your church’s Facebook page activities and events directly to your church’s website. These plugins can be used to organize your sermons or make it easier for people to find you through search engines. There are many plugins that you can choose from.

Hosting: What is it?

Hosting is the place where the party is taking place. Now that you’re dressed and ready to go, you need somewhere to display your brand-new website. Hosting is what you call it. This is different than having a domain. Your domain name is the address where the party will be held. Hosting is the actual property.

You will need to rent a building to host your church website there. There are both good and bad hosting companies. These will be discussed in more detail below.

Steps to Build a Church Website With WordPress

building a church website image

When you begin building a WordPress church website, there are many steps. Although I have provided a clear outline of each step, I would like to focus on the first step.

It will be easier to build your church website if you view it as a learning experience rather than a task to complete. Learning mode allows us to ask questions, think critically, and be less frustrated when something doesn’t work out the first time.

You will always have questions. It is possible to try something, fail, or not find what you are looking for. This is where there is a learning curve. Accept it and enjoy the process of learning new things. This will save you so much frustration.

You can find thousands of YouTube videos that will walk you through each step of creating a WordPress website. You can find thousands of articles about each step on the internet. Don’t quit and think you can’t do this. Yes, you can. Learn how to be a researcher who answers their questions.

Plan Your Church Website

It is important to plan your church website before building anything. While most people know that a website should be designed to attract visitors, they may not realize that search engines like Google can also benefit from it. It doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful website. But nobody will find it when they search Google for churches to visit.

You need to take a moment and ask questions.

  • What would you ask Google if I was new in my area? “Charismatic church at mynewtown” or “Non-denominational Church in newcity”, etc. What kind of events or activities would you look for to lead you to a church? This step is crucial, so don’t skimp.
  • What’s the purpose of this website? Are you allowing people to keep track of current events? Does it serve as a community hub? Does it serve as a hub for your entire community, providing information about current events and other pertinent information? What is the role of our website in promoting our values?
  • How will we organize our content? Do we want a blog? Podcasts and videos are possible. We will feature small groups. What about the youth?

Before you can get started, there are likely many more questions that you should ask. Perhaps you can meet with members of different ages and backgrounds in your church to have a brainstorming session. Ask your congregation members what they think would make a useful website for your church and the community.

Buying a Domain Name

Now you’re ready to build. First, you will need to purchase a domain name. This is where your church will be found online. You can purchase a domain name at GoDaddy.com I have never used GoDaddy. You can’t go wrong with a domain name. Do not purchase hosting through GoDaddy, no matter what you do. Their customer service and support are beyond reproach!

Remember that domain names should be easy to remember and that search engines will find it useful.

Let me choose the domain name of our church. It was already chosen before I arrived. It is very memorable and is the domain name godshack.com It fits well with our laid-back and casual culture. It is, however, not a good domain name for search purposes. The domain name contains no clue as to what the website is about. It only includes the word, God. It’s also a domain name, not a website.

Domains ending in.com stand for commercial domains. Domains ending in.org stand for organizations. A church is not a business enterprise but an organization.

When you pick your domain name, it is important to include the word “church” and possibly the location. Take, for example.

You could choose “AssemblyOfGodChurch.org” however, I can tell you that you will never find just “assemblyofgod.org” It will be taken. Same with “baptistchurch.org” or “christianchurch.org,” etc. You need to be more specific. mycityassemblyofgodchurch.org or christianchurchofmytown.org or firstbaptistchurchmycity.org etc. Even cool hip names of churches are normally taken like “encounterchurch.org” or “newlifechurch.org,” so you will have to make your name unique in some way.

Depending on the available deals, you can purchase your domain name starting at $15.00.

How to Choose a Hosting Provider

church website hosting image

Let me warn you immediately. Avoid big-box hosting providers such as Blue Host, GoDaddy, Media Temple, and Blue Host. While they may offer great deals to get your foot in the door, their business model leaves too many clients without enough support. My experience with Media Temple and GoDaddy is that they outsource customer support. They have templates for answering your questions based on what you are trying to solve.

These companies are great for customer service, as AT&T did. Avoid them if you don’t want to find someone knowledgeable about websites.

Free WordPress Hosting for Churches

I find it frustrating that the church world continues to seek free. I can understand the constraints that small churches face in terms of budget. I am a pastor in a small church. But, I believe that we often look for things free of charge because we aren’t willing to spend money on things we don’t need. That is good stewardship. It’s not. You get what you pay for.

It is more than just another thing you should have. It’s as relevant today as it was thirty years ago when you could find an ad in the yellow pages. Did you know that free yellow pages ads are not available?

Some small hosting companies offer free WordPress hosting to churches. They want to be a blessing. Although I haven’t used their services yet, I can recommend them.

These two allow you to create a WordPress website for your church. You can also use Blogger.com and WordPress.com. These choices should be avoided, however. These sites, along with other free website builders, have very disturbing terms of service. They can remove your website from any cause and place advertising on it without your permission. Would you like wine ads on your church’s website? It’s happened before.

WordPress Hosting at an Affordable Price

Hosting providers are not all created equal. In the seven years I have used WordPress, I have seen some people who know their stuff and others who are way too expensive. Many people highly recommend WpEngine, but they charge way too much unless your site has millions of visitors per month.

Three things are important to me when it comes to hosting. Experience with WordPress, speed, customer service, and customer support are the three things I look for in hosting. While these are obvious, speed is often overlooked or not considered when searching for hosting. Google states that user experience is one of their ranking factors. Poor user experience is caused by slow website loading. A hosting provider should be lightning fast.

Pingdom tools show that my church website loads in less than one second.

These hosts meet these requirements.

cloud hosting is what I use for all my websites, including this one. It is more difficult to use, and I don’t recommend it to you for your church website. I assume this is your first attempt at building a website with WordPress.

Install WordPress on Your Church Website

installing a church website

Installing WordPress on your site is usually quite simple. Siteground and A2hosting both offer one-click installation.

Log in to your hosting account and click the one-click installation button. Your hosting provider will gladly assist you if you encounter any difficulties. If you have a website already on your domain, you may be able to install it in a directory such as yourwebsite.com/new. Once everything is set up, you can move it over to your primary domain. They will assist you in this seamless process.

If you have an existing church website on another platform, your hosting provider may be able to provide a temporary URL for you to build your new WordPress church website. You will be provided with a URL.

After you have completed this, you can go to the company where you purchased your domain name and point it to your hosting. You will be given the nameservers of your hosting company. Log in to the company where you purchased your domain, then go to DNS settings to replace the existing nameservers with those provided by your hosting company.

Choose a WordPress theme for your church.

When choosing a theme for your church’s website, there are some things that you might want to keep in mind.

Design

It should reflect the vision and values that your church holds dear. It is important not to give the wrong impressions online and in person. You should ensure that the theme allows you to change colors, fonts, backgrounds, and other settings. Responsive design is a must for your theme. This means that your website will adjust to the screen size of any device that visits it. This is crucial because many people use tablets and mobile phones to search online. This includes searching your website.

Features

Pages such as a ministry page, belief page, or service times page can be created by the primary WordPress website. It can also create blog posts such as the pastor’s thoughts about his upcoming message, youth ministry reports, etc. It can also create picture galleries.

Customization is what you should be looking for in a theme. It should allow you to create great sermon pages and upcoming events pages. These are the features you should be looking for.

Avoid proprietary themes

This means that the features of a theme are only valid for as long as it is used. What happens if your church website is built with that theme and you decide to change to another theme later? Everything you’ve done in the past is lost or converted to another format if everything is built on that theme only.

You don’t want your theme to remain the same. Flexibility is what you want.

Support and documentation

It is vital to have proper documentation and support. This is something that most free themes do not have, but premium themes have great documentation and support if you have any questions about using their theme.

How to Install a WordPress Theme on Your Church Website

Log into your WordPress basic install and view the left sidebar to install your WordPress theme. The appearance will be displayed. Click on appearance to open the menu. This will bring you to a page showing you all the themes that you have installed. Click on Add New. You will have the option to search for free themes or upload a theme to your site.

Click on Upload new theme if you purchased a premium theme. Next, locate the.zip file that you received with your purchase. It is usually located in your downloads section. After it has been uploaded, click on Activate. You should now be able to install your new theme.

To customize the theme, follow the documentation.

You might consider these themes when creating a WordPress church website.

WordPress Church Themes for Free

Premium WordPress Themes for Churches

Premium themes can be expensive, ranging from $25.00 to $90.00. However, I believe they are worth the investment. You will get the most for your money with documentation, videos, and support teams.

These are five premium WordPress themes that you can explore. You can find many more, but these are just a few examples of the options available.

WordPress Plugins for Churches

Plugins, as I said earlier, are your bling. They are your accessories. There are practical accessories such as a belt or pair of suspenders. Then there are style accessories such as jewelry and sunglasses.

Some plugins are required for the modern church WordPress website. Here’s a list of the most important plugins I recommend for a church website. Let’s first discuss how to install plugins.

How to Install WordPress Plugins on Your Church Website

Look again at the left sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. Click on plugins, then click add new. You will then be taken to a page with the most popular plugins. You will find a search bar at the top. You can search for free WordPress plugins in the search bar and click on install. Once it has been installed, click activate and follow all the instructions provided by the plugin designer.

Search Engine Optimization Plugins

A few plugins can help with SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. An on-page optimization plugin is one of the types of plugins that you should use. These are the two plugins that I recommend. Both are not necessary. You can choose one.

These plugins are highly recommended and used by millions. Yoast is a plugin I use on all of my websites.

A caching plugin is another type of SEO plugin that you will need. A caching plugin saves a copy of your website to a file. This allows users to visit your site every time they visit it. If the site has not changed, the cache plugin will serve up an optimized version of your website to speed up your website’s delivery.

Two free plugins are recommended, and one paid.

Page Builder Plugins

You can design your pages using page builder plugins. There are many page-building plugins available. The only thing I would caution you about is the fact that most of these plugins use a “shortcode”, which allows them to change their design. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the plugin installed. Your page will look great. You can’t remove plugins from pages if you make changes or stop using them.

Decide which page-building plugin you want to use, and then stick with it. Switching is hard work. Trust me, it is not easy to switch.

These are four-page building plugins that you can choose from.

Contact Forms

Contact forms allow people to contact their pastor or church leaders without giving out their email addresses to spammers.

I recommend Contact Form 7 as the best plugin.

Write Content for Your Church Website

Your church website’s content is the most important aspect. It is hard to count how many times I have audited a church website and found what I refer to as a “postage stamp” church website. A few pages of content don’t encourage anyone to visit their church.

Remember that I said earlier that you should think about what visitors will look for when they visit your website and what they will use to search for when trying to find a church in their area. You won’t be able to accomplish both with a small website that only contains a page listing the service times and a paragraph about the church.

Please take a minute to review with me the key elements that make a great website for church visitors and search engines.

WordPress Pages vs. WordPress Posts

First, you need to know that WordPress has two types of pages: posts and pages. Pages are standalone pages that do not change. Pages contain information such as service times, about pages and ministries.

Posts aren’t static. They can be grouped into different categories. You can find things like the blog of your pastor, youth reports, women’s ministry activities, sermon notes, and videos in posts.

Basic On-Page Search Engine Optimization

Most church websites don’t know how to rank on search engines. This is the biggest problem I see. While they may be doing a great job of serving their visitors, they are missing out on hundreds of potential visitors because they cannot be found on Google’s top page. The majority of people don’t search beyond the first page.

While I cannot cover all of the necessary steps for optimizing your web pages, here are some tips.

Keywords

Keywords are terms people use to search Google and Bing. So, for example, my church website has been optimized so that people searching for churches in their area see it. This is not always as simple as it appears.

Search engines crawl your website, searching for keywords. You will not be found if you don’t talk about your community or the type of church you attend.

This article, for example, is optimized for the keywords “building church websites using WordPress.” Because I knew I would be talking about it, I wanted you to notice.

Optimizing a page or post for SEO requires using the phrase in the first, last, and lightest paragraphs. This allows search engines to know the page’s purpose. Don’t do it too often. Use the phrases naturally.

Interlinking

You should also ensure that your pages and posts link to different sections of your website. If you have home groups in your community, link to that page whenever you mention it.

If your church has a youth ministry, every time you mention it, link to the page showing your youth ministry. Each page should contain 2-5 links to other pages.

Sitemap

After you have installed the Yoast SEO or All In One plugin, they will create your sitemap. Register for a free account at Google Search Console to submit your sitemap. You can then send your sitemap directly to Google.

Embedding Sermon Videos Or Audio Recordings

It is easy to upload your audio and video sermons to your church’s website. Most problems arise when you attempt to host files on your website. Even from reputable web hosts, cheap web hosting does not have the bandwidth capacity to handle such a large load. It is best to save them on another site, such as Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud, or SoundCloud. Then you can embed them into your website with code.

Facebook and YouTube are easy to use. All you need to do is copy the link to the video and it will embed automatically. SoundCloud is not something I know of. It’s been too long since my last attempt.

This method has a problem. You have to manually do it each week or whenever you have a new sermon or video or announcement for your church. I found a plugin that can automate this process from your Facebook page. It is possible to find one for YouTube, too.

Event pages

Make sure to have a page for upcoming events. It should do more than simply announce your Mid-Week and Sunday services. This should inform your community about all the activities that your church offers. We have had visitors to our monthly leader’s breakfast. It was not a problem for me, and it was a great opportunity to meet new people at a non-threatening event.

It is vital that they keep it current. Visit a church website, and you will see that the last event was over a year ago. This is a sign of neglect. This makes one wonder if the church even exists anymore.

Images and Graphics

church website logo
another church website logo using wordpress

An article I wrote on how you can make free graphics for your church. But, I did not mention that canva.com offers a free logo maker that allows you to create some really great logos. Here are some examples.

Go Live with Your New Church Website on WordPress

You have now created your church website with WordPress. Now you can go live! You have created your logo and pages. What are you going to do?

  1. Ask your hosting company to transfer your website to the permanent URL. They will assist you in this matter.
  2. Point the nameservers at the hosting company that you have chosen.
  3. Your site will be live in 24 hours. Congratulations! You have successfully built a website for your church using WordPress.

Hire a professional to build your church website using WordPress

If all of this seems overwhelming, you can have someone else do it. Here are some suggestions.

  • Wptheoryis an innovative service from Adam Clark that will launch your website within one day. He has a lot of experience in building WordPress-based church websites.
  • ChurchSites.co Jordan Gillman will create and host your church website with a semi-custom theme using the Church Theme Content plugin. It costs less than $1,000
  • Brad Vos and Mike Morris are pastors who help churches create WordPress websites.

There you have it. I hope you found this article helpful. It was a long process so I would appreciate your feedback.

You might like to join the WordPress For Churches Facebook Group if you want more information or to collaborate with others using WordPress to create church websites.

Thank you for reading my tutorial on building a church website using WordPress.

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