In our last post, Getting Your Church An Online Presence Part 2, we looked at camera hardware and broadcasting software and services in order to present your Worship Services with a Live Broadcast Event. In this post, we will look at your web site and hosting for your site.
Ok, you may already have a web site, which means you already have a host provider for your web site. This is good…to a point. If you already have a domain name, such as www.yourchurchname.com or www.yourchurchname.org, then you are golden in this area. However, if your web site domain name is something like yourchurch.freehosting.com or www.freehosting.com/yourchurch, then you will need to step up your game a bit in order to get your podcasts online and on your web site!
Now, I am going to go into this post with the notion that you don’t already have a web site setup and no hosting provider. If you already have a site, just read on through until you get to the part that will be dealing with you folks that already have a web site and hosting.
To start with, especially for the novice churches out there that do not have someone on their staff or in their congregation already stepping up to the plate to program your web site for you, you will be starting a square one.
First thing you will want to do, is to find someone, preferably in your congregation, that can program a web site for you. Chances are, if they can do this, they can also help with the domain name registering, hosting setup, etc. So, go out and find that person (or persons) and then you are ready for the next step.
Once you have your webmaster lined out, it’s time to go to GoDaddy.com and search for a domain name. Churches are normally 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Organizations, so you might want to search for a .ORG domain as these are designated normally for non-profits. You can always choose another domain, such as a .COM or .US (if you are in the United States) or whatever domain you would like to register and pickup. Once you have your domain name registered with GoDaddy, you are ready to setup the hosting. Keep in mind that there are several different Domain Name Registrars available, so if you don’t want to go with GoDaddy.com, you don’t have to. I use GoDaddy.com for all of my domain names and have for several years now.
Once you have your domain name, you will need a hosting provider. This provider will give you (for a price, not actually give) space on their servers to give your domain name a home. I prefer not to use GoDaddy.com for my hosting, but again, this is your preference. I use HostMonster.com because of their pricing and they have been a great provider for many years for me now.
You will want to insure that the provider you choose, will have at least a 99.9% uptime and a good support team backing them if you ever need them. You need to have enough storage space to not only house your web site, but other files, such as audio or video files, that you may want to post on your site too.
Once your domain name is setup and you have a hosting provider, next, you need to decide on how your web site will be programmed. Many churches start off with a basic HTML programmed site, but then, there is several limitations to using a sole HTML site for your church. I use and prefer WordPress. Wordpress has a self-hosted script that you can install on your hosting providers server for your site and then you have a choice from several hundred thousand (not even coming close to exaggerating here) themes that you can easily install into WordPress and change to fit your church’s needs. I am using a custom WordPress Theme that I have designed myself for my site. This allows me the freedom to make it do anything I need or want it to do. There are lots of great church based themes available out there, some free, some you have to purchase. Just search Google for WordPress Church Themes and you will most likely find the one that fits your needs and represents your church properly.
There’s not much more that I can cover in this post regarding this subject. Again, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
In our next post, we will go over some broadcasting services and video archiving services that you will want to think about using to help with your sermon archives.
So, go out and Be a Blessing and Be Blessed!
Rev. Dr. Robert White, Senior Pastor