One question churches often ask is: "What should I be paying for a church website?" You can often hear numbers as high as $10- or $20,000. On the other side of the spectrum, we all know that everyone has a nephew or niece who will build a website for free for us. Where is the best place for churches to land on this spectrum?
This is a great question. There's obviously the full spectrum, and with some higher priced options, you might have an agency that could develop a fully customized website for you and you. Again, you could also have someone build one for free. Those both have different pros and cons to them that are worthwhile to map out. One thing I would suggest is that you don't need to pay top dollar for a website.
There are a lot of great solutions in the market now that offer you all the features you're going to need and actually at a cost very much. This is far better than what they would cost to build them yourself. In fact, custom building a website is one of those things that can have hidden costs within it, in that if a feature that's been built for you breaks, it's now on you to fix it yourself. You have to go rehire that developer or find a new one to come and fix that feature.
When you're on a platform that has all those features built-in, they're just going to get fixed as part of your subscription to that service.
I would recommend finding a system such as Tithe.ly Sites, which helps you to avoid some of those supremely high upfront costs. Using a monthly subscription service like Tithe.ly Sites means you're going to have that built-in support, you're going to have that built-in development team, and there's going to be updates happening all the time too for you, which is great.
Sometimes there can be a hesitation to paying a monthly fee because maybe it seems a little bit higher than what you might be paying for your current hosting bill, or maybe you don't have a hosting bill, so you're all of a sudden struggling that you have this new bill to pay.
The interesting thing about websites is that there are many different facets of them that years ago, a church would've had to just pay each one; your domain registration fee, your hosting fee, any development that went into it, maybe a secure certificate you had to pay an annual fee for. There are all of these costs that add up and all of a sudden you're on the hook as the church to manage all of those individual pieces. What's great about a lot of subscription church website services, such as Tithe.ly Sites, is that those pieces can all be built into one cost. And so, especially for a church which can often be really needing to stick to a budget, you don't have that unexpected feature break halfway through a year and need to shell out $1,000 to get it fixed, or sometimes more. With services such as this, you can have a set budget, know exactly what your website's going to cost you, and then it's just going to keep working for you the whole way.
When you're looking to solve this problem, to avoid those kinds of bigger upfront costs, or having to manage everything yourself, there's been a new model of website development that's come out in these past few years, and that idea of a subscription as a service where you can have all those pieces built into one. I highly suggest not to reinvent the wheel. If you're a larger church with an enormous budget for your church website, custom-building your church website can have its advantages. In that case, now the world's your oyster, you can do everything you want, but it's going to cost you in certain ways going forward in that, like I said, it becomes yours to manage. You have to make sure it's working right, and if something breaks, it's all on you. There are so many great tools out there that have built all these features right into them and they've thought about everything your sermon plan needs to do, everything your events calendar needs to do, and all of the different ways your church website needs to work. That's what Tithe.ly Sites does—not even major subscription website packages like Squarespace and Wix are built specifically with church functionalities in mind, like Tithe.ly Sites.
With the Tithe.ly Sites platform, we have set up hundreds of church websites, and it was really neat as we got them going, to have so many churches come to us with different problems and different ideas of what their website needed to do. So of course in the early days, we had to build a lot more different church-specific tools, but it's fun watching churches come on board now and everything just works exactly the way they need it to. There's way less demand for customizations needed in Tithe.ly Sites because we've been able to think through all those church-specific problems from day one. And so what we can tell churches confidently is that when you set up your Tithe.ly Site, it's going to work out of the box on day one the way you need it to.
The heart behind Tithe.ly, whether it's from giving, or CHMS, or apps, and now to Tithe.ly Sites, is to be the most affordable we can possibly make it for churches so that it's accessible to every single church around the world, not just the bigger churches with the bigger budgets. Tithe.ly Sites are actually the most affordable website platform in the church space.
I would encourage anyone looking for a new website to visit our website at Tithe.ly, click on the sites tab and see all of our pricings.
Read the full blog of this episode here: https://get.tithe.ly/blog/what-should-you-pay-for-a-church-website
Today on Modern Church Leader, Tithe.ly Sites team lead Matt Morrison explains the criteria churches should use to ensure their church website budget aligns with current best practices.
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