In essence, new visitors to a church will check out its website before attending services. Not to mention, a church’s website can help existing church members to take part in events and contribute to the community.
Having a beautiful church website can not only help members of your congregation, but it can also spread your message to unaffiliated people. Every year, millions of people who don’t attend church regularly check out church websites.
People visit church websites to do things such as:
- Check for when services are held
- See the contact details of the church’s leaders
- Find directions to the church
- Read or watch inspirational messages on the church’s blog
- Submit their prayer requests
- Engage with other church members online
A well-designed church website can make it easy for church leaders to stay in touch with their congregation and vice versa.
Image source: Abide Connect
Weebly is a great website builder for churches, ministries, and other religious organizations. Here are some of the reasons to use Weebly:
- It’s free: Weebly allows you to build free websites, although they will be hosted on a Weebly subdomain and have Weebly branding.
- It’s affordable: Weebly’s premium plans, such as those that allow you to use your own domain and remove Weebly branding, are not expensive.
- It’s easy to use: Weebly’s site editor is intuitive and does not have a big learning curve. You can customize the look of your site by simply dragging and dropping elements.
- It has great templates: Weebly has a nice selection of free templates that are simple and look great. There are also premium themes available from third-party developers. You can switch themes any time without losing your content.
- It’s mobile-responsive: All of Weebly’s themes are optimized for mobile devices, allowing you to share your message with anyone who has a smartphone
- It can be used for e-commerce: Weebly has e-commerce capabilities, which can be useful if you plan on selling religious items or branded products to raise money
- You can track your performance: On the Insights page in your Weebly account, you can see your stats, which are divided into three categories: Traffic, Sales, and Marketing. You can see how many people are visiting your site and where they are coming from. You can also see which content is the most popular.
- You can stay in touch with your congregation: With Weebly Promote, you can create and send out emails to a list of subscribers or contacts. You can notify your church members about events, local news, and service time updates. There are many email templates you can choose from, and each one can be customized using a drag-and-drop editor. You can also see detailed stats about each email’s performance.
- You can enable members to contact you: Weebly Forms makes it easy to create simple contact forms for users to message you or subscribe to your list.
- You can collect donations: Using Weebly’s ecommerce tools, you can collect payments, either for seats or as donations.
- You can host videos: You can upload motivational videos or embed Youtube videos to inspire your congregation even when they are not attending church.
- Everything can be done from your phone: The Weebly mobile apps make it easy to manage your site and stay connected with your visitors on the go.
Following are the top five themes to use to build your church website.
Urban Church is a free Weebly theme. It’s a great choice for your ministry as it was designed specifically for churches.
In the demo, the home page features a simple welcome message, displayed with a call-to-action alongside an image of four hands holding a cross. The brown background design features rays of light shining from above on a city.
Under the welcome message, there is a short section where you can include basic information about your church.
All of these elements can be customized. You can change the headline, text, image, background, and color.
You can also add elements and page sections. For example, you can add a map element which users can use to get directions to your place of worship.
The main menu is on the upper-left hand side. In the demo, the pages are Home, Store, Blog, About, and Contact.
All of these pages can be customized. For example, instead of the Store and Blog pages, you can have Donate, Calendar, and Photo Gallery pages.
The blog features a simple design with post previews. On the right-hand side, you can include links to your blog archives and information about the author or purpose of the blog.
On the About page, you can include a contact form, your phone number, your address, a list of the church’s leaders, a map indicating your location, and more.
While the Urban Church theme is not as stylish and modern as some of the other themes offered by Weebly, it does its job. It’s a great option if you are looking for an easy way to build a simple church website.
The Unbound – Unite theme uses beautiful design elements against subtle backgrounds to deliver a strong message.
Visitors can be greeted with a bold message against the backdrop of a full-width image header.
In the demo, the header consists of the text “The Ultimate Discover Guide” with an image of a pristine lake and mountains in the background. However, this can be changed to connote a more religious meaning.
As users scroll down, they will see your most recent blog posts. The blog uses easy-to-read dark text against a white background and lets you embed stunning images.
Having plenty of white space and breaking up blocks of text with visuals is a great way to keep visitors on your page longer.
At the end of each blog post, there is a section where the author’s image, bio, and social media links can be displayed.
You can include a call-to-action at the bottom of your homepage, along with icons linking to your social profiles.
The main menu is on the upper right-hand corner. In the demo, it has three pages: Blog (this is the homepage), Who We Are, and Get In Touch.
The Unite theme is perfect for churches that want to produce content to inspire and motivate others. The theme centers around the blog, but you can also add more pages, such as a Donate page.
Choose this theme if you prefer simplicity and want to create a website that is easy to read and navigate.
Verbena is a premium Weebly theme designed by Webfire Themes.
It can have a full-screen background image, which remains static even visitors scroll through the different sections of the page.
Parallax scrolling effects and other animations make for an interactive user experience.
Visitors can manually scroll through the page sections or use the bullet-menu on the left-hand side to skip to any particular section. Opposite the bullet-menu, on the right-hand side, you can have social icons which you can link to your social media profiles.
At any point of time, users can go back to the top of the page by clicking the small arrow icon that you can include on the lower left-hand side.
You can also use traditional slideshows to let users scroll horizontally through different sections.
At the top of the homepage, you can include a menu. You can add or remove custom pages and create drop-down menus to organize your site.
On the upper right-hand side, you can include a small three-lined icon. When clicked on, a welcome mat will scroll in from the top of the page.
This welcome mat can include information about your business, your contact details, and a call-to-action.
There can also be a shopping cart icon in the top-right corner. Clicking on it will let users see what’s in their shopping cart without leaving the page.
You can delete the main menu so that you have a one-page website.
There are numerous page layouts that you can use for your homepage or any other pages; the static background layout is only one of them.
Other page layouts include inserting a full-width, horizontal slideshow in your header, creating a sidebar that is displayed on only one section of a page, and creating a sidebar that appears on your entire page or site.
There is a wide range of icons you can use throughout your site.
The Verbena theme is fully customizable.
You can use the drag-and-drop editor to change and edit sections. You can delete elements and change colors.
When using this premium theme, you can still use all of Weebly’s default elements.
It would be recommended to use a default background image that fits a religious organization. You can also use video backgrounds.
The Verbena theme costs $40 for a single-site license. You can also get it by signing up for a Webfire Themes membership, which costs $29 per month and gives you unlimited access to all their premium themes.
Aria is a relatively modern theme meant for business websites. Nevertheless, the theme has all the elements to qualify as a church theme.
It’s a versatile and ultra-responsive theme. This means anyone can view the content of your church website on any device screen; it automatically adjusts to fit the size.
The Aria theme features a drag and drop header bar, image slider, services slider, and many other unique sections.
With all of these elements, it’s clear-cut that it’s a super customizable theme, and you have more than enough sections to display information.
The image slider is perfect for displaying different photos of the church environment. On the services slider, you can display church locations, events, and more. Every other information can come under the many subsequent sections.
Notably, the Aria theme features a video section. You can either upload videos directly or link videos from third-party platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
Some sections on the lower part of the homepage include a pricing table and testimonial slider. These may or may not be needed on a church website. If it’s not, the theme is easily customizable; hence, you can remove them.
Aria is not a free Weebly church theme. You can purchase a single site license for $40. Alternatively, you can purchase it along with all Web Fire Themes for $29 each.
ePAGE, by Roomy Themes, is a great theme that can be used by churches, religious organizations, educational institutions, and more.
You can use Parallax scrolling to create a vertical header slideshow while keeping the main welcome text static. Parallax scrolling can be used in other sections of a page as well.
ePAGE is a colorful theme. It might not be the slickest theme around, but it allows you to convey information and emotions through the use of bold images and a variety of colors.
You can have a sidebar that appears on every page of your website. This sidebar can contain a menu, which can have drop-down (drop-sideways, to be more precise) sub-menus.
You can put anything you want in the sidebar – a call-to-action, an about section, links to your social media profiles, and even a YouTube video.
The ePAGE blog section is simple but allows you to create easy-to-read blog posts. The blog section can have its own sidebar, on the opposite side of the main sidebar, displaying information relevant to the blog (such as an About section for the blog author).
ePAGE has ecommerce capabilities, but you don’t need to have a Store page as in the demo if you aren’t selling anything.
On your Contact page, you can include a form so that people can send you a message. You can also include a map that shows your location so that new congregants can easily find you.
The Testimonials page lets you showcase statements from different people, along with their profile pictures, names, and titles. For church websites, you can use this page to showcase stories of people who have had their lives changed after finding God.
ePAGE uses a simple drag-and-drop builder. You can resize elements, delete sections, add new sections, and change text and colors.
The Live Customizer feature lets you see changes that you make in real-time.
ePAGE costs $25 for a single-site license, $60 for a three-site license, and $90 for a designer license (which will enable you to use it on an unlimited number of sites, including sites you build for clients).
Add-on services include theme customization, full website design, and recreating the look of the demo on your own site.
Image source: Capterra
You can also check out the bonus theme below:
Stencil is a theme you’d want to check out for any type of church website. The theme was specifically made for Weebly and it is mobile-friendly and compatible with top web browsers.
It’s an ideal option to go for if you need a one-page theme, and this expresses its simplicity. Despite being a one-page theme, Stencil has more than enough sections to display important information.
Some of the key features of this theme include a slick design, section-to-section scroll, multiple button styles, sticky sidebar, dual columns, and a custom footer.
All of these features are easy to customize, and with the drag and drop builder, the setup is relatively fast.
Notably, you can access all of Weebly’s elements in the drag and drop builder. As a result, it’s almost like using a native Weebly theme.
Going further, this Roomy Themes supports custom plugins and FontAwesome icons. It comes SEO-ready, which will come in handy if you’re particular about your church website ranking on search engines.
Although you can easily build a simple Weebly church website and inform your congregants what the URL is, the following tips can help you reach more people.
Don’t just design your site with your congregants in mind. Think about new visitors, such as people who come across your site when searching for a church in the area.
Make your site easy to navigate and make it easy to find information such as your address and contact details.
Image by Tabitha Mort via Pexels
If you have services or programs that target kids or families, make sure to include information about them. Many people who are searching for extracurricular activities that will have a positive influence on their children look to their local churches for help.
Don’t just “set it and forget it.” Updating and maintaining your site regularly can help keep congregants engaged.
It can also attract new visitors to your church. There’s nothing more off-putting than looking up a local church and finding a 10-year old website that has broken links and which hasn’t been updated for a decade.
The themes we mentioned above make starting a blog easy. On your blog, you can post motivational quotes, inspiring stories, and religious thoughts.
Use a tool like SEMRush to do keyword research and basic SEO to attract organic traffic to your blog.
Image by Francesco Ungaro via Pexels
Your website isn’t the only way to stay connected with your congregants. You can and should use other social channels to your advantage.
Email marketing is a great place to start. You can send inspirational email newsletters to your congregants and/or inform them about upcoming events and service updates.
You should also set up social media profiles. Facebook and Twitter are great tools for churches.
You can also use Instagram to post inspirational quotes or pictures/videos of your services. YouTube can be used to post motivational videos or videos of your services as well.
You can even live-stream services and speeches on YouTube or Facebook Live.
You should link to your social profiles from your website and vice versa.
If you want inspiration on how to design your church website, what pages to include, and what type of content to post, look to others for inspiration.
You can find many examples of church websites on the internet. Many well-known churches around the world have beautiful websites that you can take inspiration from.
Don’t copy any specific site design. Instead, look at a few different sites to get ideas.
About one-fifth of churches don’t have a website altogether. Many others have websites that are outdated or not well designed.
Use the above themes to create a stunning church website with Weebly’s easy-to-use platform.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.