Discount Church Websites
When you first investigate Discount Church Websites you notice one thing right away: the price. They currently offer a full-line of resources for the low price of $10 a month. No one I’ve found can beat that. Please note, however, that the $10 a month assumes you pay for five years of service. There are six other alternatives such as 12 months for $20 a month and monthly, for $40 a month. The 12 month price is still a great deal. But if you are committed to a web presence, you can save a lot of money by paying in advance.
What else should you know?
- As part of Charity Advantage, Discount Church Websites is the largest provider of web sites for the non-profit and church market.
- One of the best features is that they submit each of your pages to the search engines and keep doing so as necessary. This is huge! You want people outside your church to find your site. They will most likely do that through searches at Google, Yahoo, or Bing. So you need to have multiple pages ranked high at the search engines. Discount Church Websites does this and doesn't charge any extra for the service – unheard of elsewhere.
- They offer the standard options: directory, online giving/donations, calendar, blog, forum, YouTube integration, etc.
- Support is offered in four ways. First, there are online help articles. Second, you can email for help. Third, you can do a live chat. Fourth, you can call and talk to a real person. Live support is done 8 am to 6 pm Pacific time.
- You won't pay extra for additional features. It’s all included in one low price.
- You can develop unique forms to gather information and those responses will be stored in a database. Some church web hosts simply inform you of how people responded. But that doesn't really help. You need to be able to sort through the responses. For instance, if you put up a form that asks people what ministry areas they would like to participate in, you could get responses such as, choir, nursery, youth, etc. A database allows you to sort and find only those who are willing to sing in the choir. You can then send them an email with further information or a formal invitation. This is a great tool.
- The sitebuilder is as easy as using a word processing program such as, Microsoft Word.
- One negative is that they don't provide a free demo. This would be almost impossible with they way they are set up. They have professional designers develop your site FIRST. So they can’t have their designers develop sites for people who are just shopping. This is a disadvantage. However, to overcome this, Discount Church Websites offers a 30 day money back guarantee... no questions asked. The 30 days starts after the designers are finished with your site.
- There's good news and bad news here: you don't have to pay extra to have their design professionals develop your site for you; but, you have to wait up to two weeks for them to get the job done. You can't pay today and get your site online by tonight. You get professional designers who will develop a unique look and feel for you – and you won't pay extra for it. But you will wait for it – up to two weeks. Personally, I think this is a small price to pay for getting a low-cost and unique look and feel.
- Discount Church Websites claims to offer Facebook integration. But as far as I can tell all that is provided is a way to put a link on the site that takes a visitor to the church's Facebook page. It doesn't really integrate Facebook functions into the site.
- A small issue is that there is a limit of 200 pages on each site. However, most churches will never approach that number of pages. If they do, it might be time to divide and start a second site.
- The biggest problem with Discount Church Websites is that you have to register your domain and get your email elsewhere. In my opinion, this should be included in the package. I haven't come across any other church web site hosting company which does it this way… there may be some out there, but I don’t know about them. This adds an extra $20 - $30 a year. Still, I think the low price of $10 a month overcomes this shortfall.
This is as close to free church websites as I think you can get. Yes, there are a few places where you can get a few pages completely free. But for $10 a month (if you pay for five years up front) I don’t think you can get a better deal. Most churches can fit an extra $10 a month into their budget.
You can review their offerings on their web site: DiscountChurchWebsites.com. Or, you can go back and look at some of our other reviews.
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