Counting the Cost of a Church Website
Hello again from Church Plant Media! In our Web Stuff Wednesdays Introduction we asked you, the readers of Challies Dot Com, to comment on that post with your church website questions. Carl asked the following:
If I understand correctly, there are two kinds of web sites: sites you build and host yourself and sites that are built and hosted by a company (which is what I think Church Plant Media does). Can you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each kind? Why would it be best to use a solution like yours?
Carl: In one sense, you are correct. All church websites must be designed, coded, configured, and then hosted someplace on a server. If your church has a pastor or members who are tech-savvy, then you may be able to do all of the website building and hosting in-house. Or you may choose to outsource some or all of the website development depending on your level of expertise. But just like any in-house building project, you usually “get what you pay for” from whomever is involved.
To help you understand the advantages and disadvantages, let’s “build” on this analogy. If your church building has a leaky roof, in order to get it fixed you could go all old-school and start the project by smelting and crafting your own hammer and saw. Then you could cut down your own lumber and tar your own roofing tiles from scratch. Then you could climb up to the roof yourself and rebuild that leaking section up to code on your own. In this scenario if you do not have the skills of a blacksmith, lumberjack, carpenter, and roofer, then you’ll probably need to buy the tools and materials or hire the manpower to get the job done right. Or you might have a volunteer in the church who will work for free and you hope he can fix a roof as well as he says he can. But only time will tell if the roof starts to leak again.
In the same way, the advantages and disadvantages of building your own website in-house really depends on how much you know or who you know. Usually if you do more of the work you will be paying less in dollars but you end up paying more in time and vice versa. If you do not have the design or coding skills to do it yourself, you can save money by purchasing a cheap website template that is prebuilt into a free, open source Content Management System (CMS). There are also a number of low-cost hosting companies that you can use who may help you launch your website. However, after saving money on the lower setup costs, you then need to spend extra time fixing bugs in your design, maintaining your CMS upgrades, CMS plugins, and hosting your database long-term. But there is no toll-free, help hotline when you do it yourself. So you either trust yourself to do it alone, or you trust someone else.
By far, that is biggest advantage of working with a company like Church Plant Media. As a group of believers who love Jesus, we see our role as a stewarded partnership in the gospel. We want to free up your time to preach the gospel, while we provide you with the tools to proclaim it online. We do all of the “heavy lifting” for you when it comes to the overall design, development, and system maintenance, then you just add in your content and the website is done. After your website goes live, we are only a phone call or email away from getting the support you need. We have already invested hundreds of hours into developing each of our designs and multiple years crafting our custom-built CMS for churches. So although our system does come at a cost, you (or your graphics guy) will end up investing far less time in the long run.
The words of Jesus ring true for discipleship and for your church website: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30, ESV)
If you want help to “count the cost” then feel free to give us a call.
Your friends @ Church Plant Media | (800) 409-6631 x 1