Custom Website vs WordPress – Which Would You Choose for a Church Site?
There are many reasons why you might want to build a custom website for your church. Maybe you’re looking to streamline the way your church interacts with its members. Or perhaps you’re seeking to create a one-stop-shop for all your church’s online needs. No matter what your reasons are, designing and building a custom website can feel like a daunting task.
On the other hand, if you’re considering using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress for the first time, it can seem like a bit of a hybrid between a custom website and a blog. A bit like choosing between a sleek car and a home delivery when ordering food online—sure, you get all the perks of both, but you don’t have the luxury of driving up to your door personally.
Is a WordPress-based site right for your church? Let’s take a closer look.
Why A Custom Church Website?
The main reason why you might want to build a custom church website is to give your church a professional-looking face it can be proud of.
A clean, simple, and elegant design that accurately reflects your brand’s values is everything when it comes to giving a first impression to your visitors. And what’s more, you can always keep up with the latest trends by customizing the appearance of your site with ease.
A simple theme that you can easily customize is the key to a well-designed site. For example, if you prefer a sleek look with a minimalistic design, you can install the Evolved theme by Automattic and gain immediate access to all the features you need to give your site that professional touch.
WordPress itself provides a huge head start when it comes to getting your site up and running quickly. Not to mention that you don’t need to worry about hosting or installing any software on your own server. WordPress is totally free, and it’s widely used throughout the web, so the chances are, your web host will already have it installed for you.
WordPress also makes it easy to set up a self-hosted blog for your church. Just pick a theme that you like from the thousands of free options, and you’re good to go. If you want, you can even integrate your blog with your website to take advantage of the power of both.
What About The Name Of My Blog Site?
Names can be tricky things. Especially when it comes to websites. For example, if you want to be very specific and add an adjective to the end, it’s a great way to go. But sometimes, the best choice is the simplest one. And in that case, a shorter version of your blog’s name will do just fine.
Unless you have a very cool story to tell, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. When it comes to a church blog, the shorter the name, the better. Because usually, the shorter the names, the more you can Google to find what you’re looking for. You don’t want to run the risk of your visitors searching for your blog and not finding it. Especially if you want to keep up with a trendy blog title.
What About The Niche And Audience Of My Blog Site?
One of the first things that will come to mind when you think about a custom church website is the matter of your target audience. Who is your website for? In other words, what are you trying to achieve with your church’s blog site?
If you want to achieve something different from your standard church blog, then consider the niche you fall into. What are your specific goals for your blog? Are you trying to attract digital nomads? Future entrepreneurs? Pastafarians? Architects? Designers? Musicians? Maybe you’re even trying to reach a specific group of people and want to become a go-to source for information about your target topic.
Whatever your reasons are for blogging, it’s essential to determine your audience before making any significant decisions about the content you’ll put out. The fact is, not all blogs are created equal. Some are much more suitable for certain types of content than others. For example, if you’re a fashion blog, the content you post will probably be more suitable for a fashion magazine than it will for a church blog. (If you’re curious, here’s a quick tutorial on how to narrow down your blog’s niche.)
Will My Blogger Hosting Plan Work For My Site?
Your host is the company that provides you with storage, bandwidth, and security for your blog. When choosing a blogger hosting plan, it’s important to look for those three critical elements. However, none of these three elements matter if you don’t have a viable plan when it comes to traffic. (This is also why you want to avoid free blogger hosting plans.)
Fortunately, there are several viable hosting plans specifically designed for bloggers. For example, Bluehost provides a good balance of cost and features. Plus, they offer a free domain with your initial purchase. The only downside is that you’ll need to upgrade to take advantage of all their features.
Do I Need A Personal Or Business Website?
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Do you need a website at all? And if so, which one? Is it a personal or business site?
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re looking for a website for yourself. You can use the same basic guidelines on a personal site as you would for a business site. However, keep in mind that you’ll be held personally liable when it comes to any online content you create. (This also means that you could be sued for trespassing, among other things.)
How Do I Design The Blog’s Layout?
The blog’s layout is quite important as it will dictate the blog’s aesthetic and the reader’s experience. When it comes to church blogs, a horizontal or a vertical layout might be suitable. (If you’re wondering, here’s a quick tutorial on choosing a blog’s layout.)
The choice is completely up to you. However, if you go with a vertical layout, you’ll need to keep the width of your posts relatively narrow. This will keep the content visually appealing and easy to scan as you scroll through your blog’s feed.
Do I Need To Use An Anvil To Protect My Blog?
This may seem like an odd question, but it’s essential to understand what an anvil is before making any decisions about whether or not you need one. Essentially, it’s a safety net that protects your blog against hacking or spamming. (Put simply, an anvil is used to protect your blog from being flooded with SPAM.)
There are several highly sophisticated ways in which an anvil can protect your blog. For example, you can use a service like Wordfence, which uses a combination of hardware, software, and people power to protect your blog from being hijacked by spam. Or if you’re feeling extra creative, you can even set up your own WordPress.com site and install Wordfence on it. This way, you’ll be able to use the incredible power of the WordPress community to protect your blog. (You can even use tools like Jetpack to make your site more search engine optimized and gain even more traction online.)
No matter what you decide, whether you go with a WordPress installation or a dedicated server, you’ll need to pick a content management system (CMS). And for the sake of this article, we’ll assume you’ve decided to go with WordPress, which is arguably the most popular CMS available. So let’s take a quick look at how to install WordPress on a server you’ve purchased or rented.
Step One: Sign Up
The very first step is to simply sign up for a free WordPress account. You can use your email address to log in and access your dashboard. From here, you can click on Create a new blog to start a new blog or click on the plus sign in the upper right hand corner to log in to an existing one.
Just remember: if you want to install WordPress on a server you’ve purchased or rented, you’ll need to choose an unrestricted hosting plan. Otherwise, the WordPress dashboard will ask you to upgrade to Pro (which is incredibly affordable) once you’ve logged in.
Step Two: Install WordPress
Now that you have a free WordPress account, it’s time to install WordPress. Go to your dashboard and click on the big blue Install WordPress button. This will guide you through the whole process of installing WordPress on your web server. (You don’t need to do this step if you’re using WordPress.com or another free hosted solution.)