Is your church’s website outdated and in need of a redesign but you don’t know how to get started and aren’t a developer or graphic designer? The good news is – now you can have a beautiful church website without needing to be a coding wizard. Using a CMS platform, or Content Management System, allows you to easily create, manage, and update your church’s site without needing technical design and coding skills. With a quick Google search, you’ll find that there is a wide variety of CMS platforms to choose from, each with their unique features and set of drawbacks. It’s important to pick a CMS platform that meets your church’s needs, functionality, budget, and tech skill level. If you’re wondering what is the best church website builder, we breakdown the pros and cons of each CMS option so that you can find the right choice for your church!
With over 37% of websites being created using WordPress, it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most versatile options for building a website. Regardless of how large or small your website is, WordPress can dynamically meet your needs, making it uniquely positioned to grow with your church. WordPress is extremely customizable and user-friendly however, there is a slight learning curve for beginners.
There are a wide variety of plugin options that you can add to your WordPress site for any functionality. While most of these are free, one of the drawbacks is that some plugins are an additional fee. WordPress is known for being a great CMS platform for content creators and sites with blogs since it’s so easy to add and create new content on it. One of the best aspects of WordPress is that it’s considered to be the leading platform for SEO, allowing your church’s site to be fully optimized to be found on Google.
Unlike other platforms, WordPress can create very complex websites since it offers more advanced features if desired. With WordPress, you can also have the flexibility to choose your domain and hosting services, allowing for premium level hosting for rapid site speed. If you ever choose in the future to no longer use WordPress and wish to transfer to another platform, WordPress makes the migration process fairly simple.
Wix is one of the best platforms for beginners with little web build experience since it’s very straight forward and cost-effective. They even have a free option if you’re okay with having ads. Wix makes design easy with its drag and drop feature and a large variety of templates to choose from. However, once you pick a template, it’s not easy to change it in the future. Most aspects of a Wix template can be customized to your church.
Similar to many other CMS platforms, Wix has plugins that can be easily added to your site. Wix also has a built-in SEO Wiz feature for basic SEO purposes. However, Wix does have limitations when it comes to more advanced SEO tools. Additionally, if you want your church to have a blog, Wix has been known to have issues with adding additional characters to blog URLs which negatively impacts SEO by creating a sloppy structure. Another con to keep in mind is that Wix has some restrictions on data limits for photos and videos which may impact your site design.
In general, Squarespace is pretty user friendly and another good choice for beginners. It’s easy to use and has the drag and drop design feature to make building your site as simple as possible. It’s also priced competitively and has a variety of plans to choose from.
However, there are also some negative aspects to consider. For instance, while Squarespace does have some SEO functionality, it’s limited in how much you can optimize your website for search engines which could impact your rankings and site traffic. One of the major drawbacks is that Squarespace requires you to use their servers which can negatively affect your site speed since there are other premium hosting services that are better on the market.
Unlike the other website builders we’ve discussed, Rock RMS is designed specifically for church websites. In addition to having a beautiful website with Rock as a CMS, you also get built-in church management features, like being able to keep track of information on members, visitors, and employees on the backend. Their websites are created to provide churches with everything they need online including sermon streaming, giving software, analytical data to see financial contributions, and prayer request forms. Since Rock RMS is a nonprofit company, they don’t require churches to pay and instead operate based on donations. That being said, Rock CMS (content management system) is not intended for use by non-developers, and outsourcing development work in Rock is more expensive than other platforms since it’s so specialized.
While Rock is one of the most comprehensive and robust options for churches, it does have it’s limitations when it comes to design and SEO if you don’t have a developer, SEO expert, and data administrator on staff. They don’t offer many out-of-the-box theme options, meaning churches will likely need to expect hefty design costs if they want something custom. Even though they can be SEO optimized, Rock’s default behaviors can actually be quite detrimental to your SEO, which could significantly impact your site’s ability to be found on Google and restrict your online growth goals. If you ever want to change platforms, migrating to Rock is a major decision, and this process is best done with the help of experts in Rock development and SEO, such as Missional Marketing.
ShareFaith is another option designed specifically for churches. Similar to Rock RMS, it has special features that are meant to make churches fully functional online including tithing options, sermon galleries, prayer request forms, and more. There are many preset templates to choose from which you’re able to add an unlimited number of pages and subpages to. They also include graphics that can be easily dragged and dropped into your design. It’s important to keep in mind that when using premade templates, you are at risk of having your website look like other church sites.
ShareFaith’s sites are very user friendly and do not require a knowledge of coding to create a great looking site. Another strong element of ShareFaith is that it includes hosting and has decent SEO functionality since it’s built on top of WordPress. For an additional fee, ShareFaith will also create a customized app for your church which is great for increasing engagement within your congregation. While ShareFaith is a better platform option than some, it does come at a price. ShareFaith is one of the higher-priced CMS platforms and has a lot of additional costs for add ons, especially if you want a custom site. Another drawback is that if you aren’t paying for a custom site, your church’s website might not be able to have more advanced design features.
What is the Best Church Website Builder For My Church?
After reviewing the pros and cons of each of these CMS platforms, Missional Marketing believes that WordPress is the best option for most churches since it is so widely used, so customizable, so flexible, so affordable to fix/develop, and so future-friendly, meaning it will easily grow with your church. You can add almost any feature or functionality to your WordPress site that the other CMS choices also offer using affordable or even free plugins. WordPress’s exceptional SEO abilities make it the perfect choice for churches looking to do outreach online and be found on search engines.
Get Help Building Your Church’s Dream Website
Are you ready to begin creating your church’s new website? By working with a church marketing agency like Missional Marketing, you’re able to get expert-level support every step of the way. Our designers, developers, content creators, and SEO specialists will make you feel like you have an entire in-house marketing team at your church so that you can focus on building your ministry instead of your website. If you’re interested in learning more about building a church website, give us a call at 480-420-2007 or head over to our Contact Us page for more ways to get in touch with our team.