Your organization/ministry is growing. In such a short time God has blessed you with a client base or congregation that has grown from just a few people to an impressive following. Your Facebook page is blowing up and now its time to build a website. But how? Where do you start? Hopefully, I can clear up some of the basics and show off just a few of the may options out there.
But first, Heather has three reasons for starting a blog or website.
- Journal. Your website can be your online journal where you post your spiritual walk, prayers, or answers to a Bible study you are working on. One you either keep private or share with the world.
- Bring in extra cash. If you have a product or service to offer, then a website is an opportunity to not only share your talent with the world but acquire clients or sell goods.
- Just for fun. Enjoy writing poetry? Aspiring photographer? Graphic artist? Painter or sculptor? Great at fixing up old cars? Have great parenting tips? Review books? There are a million reasons to start your own website.
#Transformed falls into a little of each category. Here, we share articles on a variety of topics, from the spiritual to technical. Our goal isn’t to make money, in fact, #transformed spends money on giveaways and a domain, but doesn’t charge a penny for anything you find on the website. The only exception is anyone needing technical assistance on their website, blog, or social media marketing (even then, I work for peanuts).
Now that we’ve cleared the “whys,” here’s the “how” for starting a website or blog.
First things first. You need to reserve your domain (www.YOURWEBSITE.com). Basically, this is the address that directs clients to your site, whatever it may be. There are several ways to reserve your domain, either through a private domain broker or through a service such as GoDaddy.com or my favorite, Google Domains. If it hasn’t been bought up yet, it is usually pretty inexpensive. They can range anywhere from $10-$25 per year.
(Heather prefers NameCheap for domain purchases. You can also use a free domain by starting a free blog.)
Let’s start off with blogs. Blogs are probably the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to get started with a website. There are several good options out there. Blogs are great for putting out basic content, releasing news and information pertinent to what you are doing.
Many of these blogs come with different plugins that help to alter how you can use your site and it appearance. Plugins can only be used on blogs that are self-hosted, which costs an annual fee to allow you to change anything and everything on your site (self-hosted can run you about $100 a year, plus the monthly hosting fee of about $6-$10). #Transformed is a great example of a free blog which runs well but doesn’t get to use the bells and whistles…which is why you sometimes see those odd Ads at the end of posts (yuck). If this is something you are interested in, spend some time exploring this site as well as some other WordPress blogs and get some ideas.
Once you have those ideas, go ahead and sign up for a blog and play around a little. There is tons of support on forums, (seriously just google your problems and the blog service you’re using or visit YouTube for video tutorials) and tons of great customizable options and theme templates.
Some of the bet blog hosting sites, or at least, the ones that I prefer, are Blogger and WordPress. (Heather says WordPress is the better choice between Blogger and WordPress. She also recommends going with a free service when starting your own blog.)
Personal sites are another option that would benefit those out there that are professional speakers, sermonists, or just enjoy being their own boss. Personal sites are little different than a blog, although they can have blog linked to them. One way to think of personal sites is to view them as online resumes or online portfolios. Blogs typically host and feature their own content, like blog posts, videos, pictures, and memes etc. A Personal site usually features a small sampling of what the owner is about, what they feature/sell, and maybe some services. They usually feature links and widgets that display whatever your social media accounts are showing. So, these are a great way to show off what YOU can do. They’re simple and fast and pretty easy to setup just like the blogs above. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace would be the big 3 to start looking at if you plan on growing into a fullservice webpage in the future, but many blog sites like WordPress or blogger have some great options here too.
Full Site Services:
These are the Big Guns. When you need something that is a little more complicated, something that hosts images, and isn’t just a page of links to social outlets. Maybe you want to start some e-commerce. That’s where a full-blown website (made up of several services and pages) comes in. These are little more complicated to get going. I highly recommend that unless you have some very VERY extensive web design skills to go through a service on this one. There are tons of private web design firms out there and just as many service websites. The big three are the ones I would recommend going through, (Wix, Squarespace, Weebly). Pricing is normally pretty consistent among the three reaching up to about $250-300 a year to host the services.
Mike is a millennial that lives in a magical place called Orlando. After spending his early 20’s traveling the US and playing with race cars for a living he moved back to Florida to be closer to his core group of friends and family. He got involved with youth ministry at his local church and a new passion for youth ministry and outreach was realized. He now spends his time using what he learned as an IT major to bring churches and communities closer with the use of technology. Mike is a car geek, foodie, and Netflix addict.
If you are looking to start your own website or blog and need help, you can contact Heather here: