A Review of Church111
When I discovered Church111 my first question was, "What’s with the name?" The answer I received was simple: their offices are in suite 111 of their building. Ok...
Before I begin my review, I'll let their president introduce themselves.
My name is Jack Massari, President of ICG Link, Inc., creators of Church111.com. ICG Link, Inc. has been in business since February of 1995. We host thousands of web sites and have 20 professional people dedicated to customer service, custom design, custom programming and technical support. We built Church111 from the ground up in 2003.
When churches are choosing a host, I can think of four primary considerations.
- Ease of Use and Technical Competence
- Special Church Related Features
- Cost vs. Value
Ease of Use and Technical Competence
Some churches have in-house capability to build a site from scratch using code-level web design. Perhaps there is a parishioner or staff member with that technical expertise. When a church relies on this capability, the cost of hosting is often extremely low since you can purchase a bare bones host. However, the problem comes in when that person is out-of-town or leaves the church. Then the church is stuck with a site they can't maintain going forward. Today's church-centric systems like Church111 are extremely user-friendly. Personal training is included and any church staff can maintain the site with no difficulty.
Special Church Related Features
Another mistake is that many churches don't realize the number of church related web site features available from Church-centric hosts like Church111. If they choose a regular low cost host, they don't receive those special benefits. When a church signs up with a service like Church111, they get built in features. In the case of Church111, we offer a scheduled church events display, a church calendar, a prayer request system, Bible verse of the day, Daily Manna from the Web, audio or video sermon delivery, 17 versions of the Bible, 6 Bible commentaries, a Bible dictionary, some 50 church related documents in our church library, an online or print version of a members directory with photos, an internal message center for members, private members chat room, private members message board or forum and more. We even have a mobile app that displays all the important, frequently changing church site content.
Cost vs. Value
One other mistake that's easy to make is confusing cost with value. Value is comprised of the cost plus the quality of the deliverable. In the case of Church111, the entry price of $15/month includes unlimited pages plus personal training on how to use the system. The only extra cost items are the members section ($10/mo), the blog ($5/mo), e-commerce ($10/mo) and the mobile app ($10/mo for the church, free for users). So all in all, there is a distinction between cost and value that must be considered.
We occasionally have a church sign up who never follows through with building their site. It almost seems as if someone is told to get a web site and doesn't really have the time to do the work required to set it up or keep it up. In the case of Church111, we offer personal customer service to avoid this problem. A church client can always call on us to help with the initial setup and design. The cost of a custom design is surprisingly low, but sometimes we never get that call. Even when we reach out to these clients, some just don't have the time or energy to complete the project.
Christian-Resources.net Review of Church111
This church web site hosting company offers a superb product at a reasonable price. They are definitely an organization that you will want to consider when choosing a church web site hosting company.
Here are our thoughts about their service.
- The demo provided to me by Church111 showed that creating a web site is fairly simple. You can add video and audio. You can post documents and prayer requests. The member's area is password protected. Each individual family has their own login name and password which can be changed at any time. The directory is pretty easy to update. You can print the directory or address labels. Send email to the entire member's list or just to certain groups.
- One of the main disadvantages is that the templates offered for building your site are very generic. You need to have some skill to really create a unique look and feel – or be willing to pay their designers to do it for you.
- An online church directory is a must-have when using a church web site hosting company. This allows people to create a profile for their entire family: names, contact information, etc. With Church111, you have the option to print the directory in PDF format. This allows you to print copies of the directory for people who don't have access to the internet. This print feature is not offered by many church web site hosts.
- An interesting option is the live chat and message board. This allows people to chat live with other members. They can also start a forum-style conversation. However, this area may not be utilized very much because most people are already doing this on Facebook.
- Their prices start out great - $15 a month. But with all the add-ons you will need the cost rises significantly. The member’s section is $10 a month, using secure forms to accept donations/offerings costs $15 a month, setting up a blog is $5 a month. Still, the price stays in the reasonable range. Be sure to check their site in case my numbers are a little out of date.
- They limit disk space and bandwidth – you’ll pay extra to get more. For small churches this won't be a problem. But if your church is mid-sized, you may run into issues, finding that your site is offline because of overuse. This is especially true if you post multiple sermon video or audio files.
- They offer some search engine optimization. That means that they try to get your site listed on the first page of search engine results (when someone does a search at Google, for instance). But they don't submit each page to the search engines; just your entire site. I don't think that will bring very good results unless someone is searching specifically for your church.
- The standard package comes with 10 email addresses. So as long as you have fewer than 11 staff members, everyone can have their own address. If you need more addresses, they come at a very inexpensive price.
- Church111 offers support in several ways. First, there are online tutorials. If that doesn’t work, you can email them, chat live with them, or call them. They offer a free one-hour training after you begin your site.
- There is a special function in the member’s section that allows people to post prayer requests.
- Church111 adds a cool little optional tool that few if any other church web hosts offer. You can put a page up that has the bible on it. People can go-to any passage and even do searches. They offer a number of translations, including, the New International Version, the New American Standard Version, and the New King James Version.
Overall, the product offered by Church111 is a good choice when considered against the other options. Their advantages are significant. First, you can print the church directory. Second, you can put the entire bible on your site. Third, their costs are in the reasonable range. Fourth, their support options are excellent.
The main disadvantages are that first, if you build your own site, the banner will be very generic. You can upload your own – but most people don’t know how to do this. To get help, you will have to pay for the designer’s time. Second, the interface is adequate, but it didn't blow me away, it was just average.
You can review their offerings on their web site: Church111.com. Or, you can go back and look at some of our other reviews.