What if you don’t have any money to spend on a website for your church?
I am an advocate for churches investing money in technology, especially when it is technology that helps us reach out to our mission field. Almost all churches have tight budgets. However, if reaching new people is a priority, a church will find the money to create and maintain an attractive, professional, front-door website. We aren’t talking about thousands of dollars. For under $10 a month, a church can have a pretty decent website.
But what if that just isn’t happening? Some pastors and lay people are currently stuck trying to convince members of their finance committee that websites are important and worth the money. I am doing my best to try and change that culture.
But what are you supposed to do in the meantime? Fortunately, with zero dollars, your church can have a website that will function quite well until you get the funding you need. Today I am going to share an example.
First United Methodist Church of Weimer is taking advantage of a free website from Weebly. Not too long ago, I featured a free, fake, church website I built on Weebly, http://bobsumc.weebly.com/. Bob’s Church even takes online donations now. Please don’t give, because Bob’s church isn’t real, and I don’t know where I would send the money.
First Weiner is a real church though and they have a real website on Weebly that didn’t and doesn’t cost a dime.
Without any money or a lot of design work, First Weimer already has a website that is more attractive and functional than 90% of Rio Texas churches. This site isn’t perfect yet, but let’s look at what it gets right.
Number one: It actually exists. I am still tabulating all the data, but the number of churches in the conference that don’t have websites at all is pretty staggering.
Number two: The worship time is on the front page.
Number three: There is an “I’m New” tab. This links to a page that gives the time of worship, the address, a “What to Expect” section and information about childcare.
Number four: It includes Spanish text right on the front page. While the entire site is not translated into Spanish, the welcome language on the front page that is inviting to the growing population for whom Spanish is their primary language.
There are certainly limitations to a free church website. The biggest one is that with Weebly’s free plan, you can’t have a true custom URL. You are stuck with the Weebly domain suffix. (firstumcweinar.weebly.com.) That isn’t ideal, but it is certainly much better than not having a website! I wondered if that would cause trouble in search engine results. However, with a little fine tuning, the church comes up third when you Google “Church Weimer” and first when you search “Weimer Methodist Church.”
If you church does not have a website and you don’t have a budget for one, you should think about Weebly. You can read more about Weebly and other platforms on the website at riotexas.org/web-providers. You can also visit riotexas.org/websites for advice on content, to sign up for a Church Website Review, or to get help getting started with a new website.