You know you need a church website. You also know that not just any site will do. It has to be user-friendly. Aaaand functional. Oh, and don't forget well-designed.
If you have seriously been contemplating building your own church website (sounds easy enough, right?), you have probably gotten some quotes and have received an estimated upfront-cost. What you might not realize, is that when it comes to building your own church website, there are going to be some costs you may not be aware of, or that you may have overlooked completely.
So what does this mean for you?
Simply put, it means that building your own website is probably going to cost you more than you initially anticipated.
But, how can that be?
Two words: hidden costs.
There is no way around it. When you're building your own church website, you're going to run into some expenses that you weren't aware of when you started this whole project. To help you better understand, we've come up with 6 hidden costs of building your own church website.
When putting images on your church website, graphics is a whole can of worms that can get tricky in a hurry. While there is a ton of seemingly free photos and graphics all over the Internet, some of them come with a catch, which usually includes giving proper attribution.
To save yourself some very real legal trouble in the future, we recommend that you always always always purchase your stock images and save the licensing. It’s not worth risking a $20,000 lawsuit.
If you know someone who has great graphic design or drawing skills, you could always ask them to make you some graphics, but chances are, they are going to charge you for their time and effort. (Some graphic designers charge $85/hour).
And what happens if you want a professionally-done video or professional photographs added to your website? Well, guess what? You're probably going to have to pay for that, too.
Domain Name and Hosting
When you build your own church website, you’re going to need a domain name along with hosting. Both of these things are going to require you to pay a monthly or yearly fee.
You'll also have to be aware that many hosting companies try to lure you in with a great deal, but that low, low price might only be effective the first year. Another thing about hosting is the more features you have on your website, and the more complex it is, the more you will end up paying.
Church Website Templates and Support
If you don't have strong design skills, you will probably be tempted to use a ready-made website template that you get off the shelf. There will be a lot to choose from, and while the variety is great, you're not going to be able to customize it very easily. This is actually the most common complaint we hear from churches using templates.
That is, unless you're pretty good with modifying codes, and you have the right software to do it. Did we mention that these website templates cost money? Yes, that's right - another hidden cost.
Of course there are free website templates available but normally they do not look very professional, plus using a free one could affect your SEO - in a bad way.
Besides these disadvantages, whether you choose to pay for a website template or get a free one, you'll still have to pay for any technical support you would need.
Add-ons cost extra—and you'll have them. Do you want to have an online giving app on your website? What about a volunteer sign-up page that goes from your website directly to your database? You will most likely want to integrate your website with all your social media accounts. Website integration usually comes with a fee.
Besides integration fees, things like doing "new staff" layouts are going to be something you will have to purchase. There are also going to be additional costs after you have already launched the website, plus you are going to have to pay for website updates that will fix any bugs, and also adjustments to your website that will help improve performance.
You are going to want a secure website, one that hackers can’t get into, and one that viruses can’t destroy. And yes, you guessed it, this is something else that you are going to have to pay for. Some of the security features you’ll need to have, and that will probably cost extra include:
- Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) that makes uploading files safer.
- A host that offers file backup services.
- Firewalls and antivirus software.
Plus, if you have users register for anything on your website, or make any kind of transaction, you'll want to include a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Dedicated Staff Member
Somebody will have to maintain your church website, and that not only takes know-how, but it also takes time. And we all know that time is money. Chances are that dedicated staff member would be better off doing any number of tasks that need to get done in any given week. This means you’ll have to ask yourself whether or not it’s going to be worth it for someone to sacrifice their valuable time for the website.