So you'd like to have a website for your church? It's not as hard as you think to create a website.
Sort out your content
- Decide what information you want on your website, and what structure it will have. Generally you will use six to eight “secondary” categories that sit under your home page (it might be helpful to imagine or even draw a tree structure). These could be things like: notices, leadership team, history, mission work, etc.
- Decide what content is necessary for each category. Keep in mind who you are targeting this content at, and write and edit with them in mind. Keep it simple and short.
- Decide what images will be used on the site and where they will be placed. Remember images used sparingly have more impact – one image per page often works well.
Set up your website
There are a number of different options you can choose including Weebly, WIX, JIMDO, Squarespace, Webs and IM Creator which all offer a complete hosted design package (the only other thing you need is a domain name).
Most of these website builders have templates supported by HTML5 which allows you to optimize your website for all leading mobile devices. Hosting packages cost from NZ$5 - $10 a month (depending on the exchange rate and what extras you require) and there are discounts if you pay for a year in advance - payment is by credit card.
One service that we have found works well for parishes is SquareSpace. An example of a Presbyterian squarespace website is: www.juc.org.nz .
- Go to www.squarespace.com and click on “Try it for free”. You will now have 14 days before you need to enter credit card details to keep your site.
- There is an excellent basic start up guide that we recommend following; we have also produced some brief instructions below.
- Choose a login/sitename (eg stjohnsauckland) then enter a password and your email address and follow the instructions.
- Now you can see your site. (You can click on the big question mark at top right to access help info. There is also a lot of help info contained in the text of the site;
- To change the look and feel of your site, click on the paintbrush icon at the top right. You can see a range of templates at the bottom; click on ‘change templates’ to see a new selection. After you have clicked on a template, you can try out different variants by clicking on them; once you have decided, click ‘enable style’
- You can customize the layout by clicking on “banner and navigation”, then ‘copy style’. You can upload a banner image here too.
- To add pages, click on the boxes icon at top right. Then next to your secondary category navigation, you can click on a link to ‘add pages’. You can drag pages around the navigation bar to change their order.
- To edit the content on each page, click on the A icon at the top right. Click on the page that you want to edit, then click edit page. A pop up box lets you edit content. You can select headings by highlighting the text, then clicking the ‘format’ button and selecting ‘headings’, then choosing h2 or h3 (h2 should be the heading at the top of the page, with h3 the subheadings).
- To insert images, when you are in the editing pop up window, click on the small picture icon near the top left, click ‘upload an image’ to browse for images to add. You can choose the orientation of the image; right usually works best.
- There is lots of excellent help info and documentation here at Sqauarespace including info on how to get your domain (website address) repointed at your new squarespace site.
- If you get stuck, please email email@example.com
Secure your domain name
- Visit one of the many domain registration sites, such as www.freeparking.co.nz; select a domain that is available (perhaps www.yourchurch.org.nz) and pay for it. Freeparking charges $39.95 a year.
- Get the domain redirected to your SquareSpace site, and enable your SquareSpace site to recognise the domain (see more detailed instructions)