Church Websites & Value
Many churches, particularly Protestant churches, make use of companies that provide Website packages for churches. The perception is that this is cost-effective and allows church members, who may not be skilled with current Web technologies, to better manage the church’s content.
But Is That True?
Not necessarily. If your church has a Website but your Council or Board are dissatisfied with its results — the ability of the site to support church programs, projects, and (especially) funding (online giving) — buying into a company that provides a complete package and that will handle the changes to the Domain Name Service that may be required seems to be a good thing.
|Provider||Setup||Monthly Fee||Cost over 36 Months
At least one church Website package provider further breaks down costs by number of congregants served:
|Contact List Size
|Cost over 36 months||$1,123.00||$1503.00||$2,73.00||$3,043.00||$4,557.00|
Lets Compare This…
With using an independent contractor to design your Website using a free, open-source Content Management System and publishing that site on a shared server.
Common Web Hosting Fees
There are many, many, many Web hosting companies available; many of which are local only and not national. I’ve looked at national Web host companies here, and not at all of them by any means.
|Hosting Company||Intro Fee||Renewal Fee||Initial 36-Month Fee||36-Month Renewal Fee|
Other Hosting Costs
If your church accepts funds online for any purpose, you’ll need a Secure Socket Layer certificate and a dedicated Internet Protocol address. The combined cost for these services averages around $80.00 per year with most Web host companies (except for Rochen, which builds this capability into their plans).
The open-source Content Management System you choose, with your designer, does not provide all functions or capabilities your church may need out of the box. That’s where software extensions, developed and licensed by reputable developers, become important. Most extensions are licensed over an annual basis, and many designers — like me — use their licenses (legally) to add the functions and capabilities your church needs. The designer usually prorates the cost of the extensions she or he will use when building the contract proposal for your church.
Although most professional Web designers establish fees and advertise them, as I do, many are willing to negotiate their fees depending on the client and the client’s circumstances, as I am. I do not provide hosting services, so the church needs to obtain a hosting account if they do not already have one.
My average fee to design a complete Website for a church using the Joomla!, WordPress, or Drupal open-source CMS is $700.00.
Cost Comparison: Package v. Designer
Let’s look at the cost to your church over a 36-month period:
|Web Package Provider*||$1,440.00|
*I’m using the provider that charges no setup fee for a clearer comparison.
Compare your costs to these figures — should your church look for a different, more cost-effective Website?