How much does a church website cost

How Much Does A Church Website Cost? (3 Different Approaches)

So you realise that a church website is essential to your ministry in the digital age but how much should you expect to pay? How much does a church website cost?

Well as you might expect, it very much depends on both your budget, skill and the specific needs of your congregation. However I understand that it can be really helpful to get an idea of the sort of costs involved.

The three main approaches that affect the price are:

  1. DIY – Build It Yourself
  2. Full Custom Design
  3. A Church Site Builder

We’ll explain these below.

So let’s look at a high level breakdown of website costs before I break down the costs and the different approaches in more detail:

Ongoing Costs – Range £10-300 or $15-400 per month
Up Front Design Cost – Range £0-10000 or $0-13000

This is quite a range so let’s explore the specifics below.

website maintenance

Church Website Ongoing Costs

Below I will explore the different approaches you can take to your website. Firstly it can be helpful to define the different costs involved no matter which approach you take. There are certain budget items that will always exist for owning and managing a website.

Domain name

In order to have a website you need a name to send people to. Computers on the internet are all identified by a set of numbers which enable you to access them. These numbers are not very easy to remember and so we use domain names. Domain names are the characters that you type into the address bar of your web browser. For example google.com.

To register a unique name and have ownership of it you have to purchase the domain name through a registrar, for example godaddy.com<span “>. Here you can register a name like yourchurch.com and you will pay for an annual renewal to keep this name.

Most domain names cost around £10-25/$15-35 per year, however more popular names can cost £1000s. In recent years the “.church” domain has become more popular with churchs.

HINT: It’s worth registering a domain quickly if you discover the name you want is still available

Hosting

The website you create needs to live on a computer somewhere so that when the user types in a domain name it can show the right website. This is where the photos, videos and other files on your website will live. There is a cost to having this computer depending on the speed you need and the amount of disk storage.

Hosting costs can vary a lot but are typically £5-£25 or $10-$35 per month for most small/medium size churches. For larger churches it can be much higher.

Maintenance

Depending on the approach you take to your website, this will affect the costs of maintaining your site. Some website builder platforms include the cost of maintenance within their monthly charge. That means they handle all the software updates and security fixes that any software needs as part of their monthly/annual cost.

If you are using a custom designed site you will normally have to pay separately for a maintenance contract and this can cost anything from £30-£100 or $40-$130 per month depending on the designer/agency and the complexity of your website.

HINT: if maintenance is not included in your platform, and you don’t plan for this your website can degrade over time, making it insecure or in some cases unusable.

So these are the common ongoing costs for a website. Depending on your approach some of these will be lumped together.

Website design

Church Website Design Cost

Now let’s explore the website build process and share 3 different approaches to building your church website. This is the design part of the cost.

1. DIY – Build it Yourself

Building your website yourself can be a great option for some churches. Advances in the available tools mean that you no longer need to be a coder in order to create a website.
Platforms like Squarespace, Hosted WordPress and Webflow make it possible for anyone to sign up and create a website using a drag and drop interface. These platforms often include hosting and maintenance within their cost. They are able to offer low costs, because they have a large market. They generally provide a template which you can then customise, add your images, video and text to.

The higher subscription tiers also offer ecommerce options and email marketing tools also. They all offer support if you need help using their platform.

Pros

  • A great option if you have someone who is technical and creative with the time to put into setting it all up
  • Widely used and well supported platforms with a variety of advanced features
  • The cost of entry is low

Cons

  • Not church specific platforms – so they don’t understand your specific values/needs
  • You can’t always customise things exactly as you need
  • It can take a while to setup a full site and ensure consistency across pages

Pricing
These platforms generally don’t charge anything to build the site, though some templates may cost. They expect you to do the building. Your annual or monthly costs cover the hosting, maintenance and support service. For the build cost you are effectively paying with your time. Cost 0.

Approximate total cost: £0 for the build then £200-£500 or $300-$700 per year for hosting/maintenance etc.

Custom website design

2. Full Custom Design

For some churches getting your website designed for you is a great choice. You begin by approaching a web designer or agency and they will take you through a process. They will help you understand what you hope to achieve, will coach you through some options, and in the end you will get exactly what you need.

If you don’t like the way something looks or feels it’s possible to make changes. If you want to point to other websites you like the look of, you can get a similar look and feel.

A web designer will help you with custom graphic design, or recommend a photographer that can capture your church.

Pros

  • A great option if you are not technically minded
  • You can get exactly what you want

Cons

  • Can be expensive – you are paying a professional for their time and expertise

Pricing
There can be a wide range of prices for web developers and depending on different factors. In general the larger the site and the more complex the features you need the more expensive it will be. As an idea you can expect to pay between £1,000-£10,000 or $1,500-$14,000 for a fully custom website. The ongoing costs are in addition to this normally.

Approximate total cost: £1,000-£10,000 or $1,500-$14,000 for the build then £300-£800 or $500-$1,200 per year

Church site builder platform

3. A Church Site Builder

Using a website builder that is designed specifically for churches can be a great option for some.

This option falls somewhere in between the two options above. You will select a template that is specifically designed for churches and includes some of the features churches normally need. This will get you a basic site quickly. You will then be able to customise this template and add your content and images.

There are a variety of options here including churchcosharefaith and church site builder.

Pros

  • Much more cost effective than a custom design if your needs fit within the existing templates and features
  • Built for churches and so they understand your needs and values better
  • Quick to get a site going

Cons

  • You will not be able to fully customise everything about your site

Pricing
There are a range of costs from £25-£150 or $30-$200 per month depending on the package you choose.

Approximate total cost: £100-£1000 or $150-$1400 for the build and then £300-£2400 or $500-$3500 per year

decision time

What will you choose?

Finding the right fit for your church is important. Whatever option you choose, be careful to think through your budget, your desired outcome and the timescales you are working to. Different approaches will work better in different seasons and for different sizes of churches. A lot also depends on what technical expertise you have within your team or congregation. Also keep in mind your personnel can change over time.

If you are considering using a church specific website builder I wanted to let you know about Church Site Builder. I created this platform to fit into the final category to help churches who don’t have the time or expertise to build their own website but also don’t have the budget to create a custom site.

I know how important websites are and I want to make websites easy for churches. So pick a great design, add your content and away you go. Check out the full set of features at churchsitebuilder.co.uk.