As I am spending more and more time with the people of The Rio Texas Conference and I am hearing a lot of need for assistance in building and renovating websites. Many (if not most) of these churches are working with very small budgets and little to no staff. I am grateful that we live in a moment where great websites are possible with little money and little time. If I had to pick one communications priority for a church with no website, it would be simple: build a website.
So, in my free time, I have been exploring the many options for building inexpensive websites. I am focusing on options that will work for people with little or no experience in websites or tech in general. My latest exploration led me to WIX. WIX is another template-based website platform that attempts to make having a website cheap and easy. Their prices are certainly good from free to around $40 a month. To check it out, I built another fake website.
I wasn’t happy with any of the WIX templates so I started with a blank slate. In trying to build an attractive site as quickly as possible, that was a mistake. If I had a clear design in mind, this would offer great flexibility. However, if you just want to jump in and get something nice published, templates are the way to go. Apparently WIX has some more and better templates if you upgrade from a free plan to a paid plan.
Overall, the user interface is very intuitive. From my limited experience with both, I think Weebly may have them beat on ease of use. WIX also offers a bunch of free stuff when you sign up for their plans, including some help with getting your site a little love from search engines.
The more I dug into WIX, the more I liked it. It has some unique features, like full color palletes so your sites colors work together. They also make it really easy to connect with other platforms like social media sites, calendars, and online giving. They have an “app market” that makes integration fairly seamless.
I am going to play with WIX a bit more. In the meantime, have you built a site on WIX? Let me know about your experience in the comments. And check out Bob’s UMC at http://wrice7.wix.com/bobsumc
I don’t like wix at all. I found it too limiting. My old church went with this: http://www.connectedword.com/
I don’t know if it is good or not, but Pastor Matt has very little experience and figured it out.
WIX is definitely limiting. I am not sure I would recommend it for people who have something particular in mind because they may not be able to make it work. At the Rio Texas Conference, we are using Squarespace. It also has some limitations. However, for a site that is complex just by its sheer size, the limitations can end up making it easier to maintain.
But, Bob, didn’t they always teach us not to use a picture of the building? I want to see Bob. Who is Bob? Who are his friends? What is he all about? See, I’m paying attention…
You are right Stella. The common wisdom is that people want to see people not buildings. However, sometimes there are exceptions. When I was at University, we had a picture of the buildings as our feature image. After weighing the pros and cons we realized that the photo of the buildings showed the size of the church and its embrace of historic and modern. You can see what we did there at: http://www.theu.org.
And Bob is not available right now. He’s got a fake church to run!
I used to maintain a personal website that was a free Wix site… I really liked it, found it easy to use, and think it would be a great fit for small churches! I can’t speak to the paid features of the site, but provided the church doesn’t want to do too much with it, I think it’s a great option!
Robert, that is a nice looking site, especially for free! I think a lot of our churches are in the position of needing to get something up as quickly and easily as possible. I think I might still lean more towards Weebly’s interface but WIX can look pretty good.