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dayfalljesse has some very good points.
Completely reworking/rebuilding a site in a new sytem (cms for instance) is a bit of work, in fact a lot of work. Most of what you are paying for is the developer's time. Believe me setting up a site's design and implementation, a well thought through site, is quite time consuming. If you care about what is presented through your online presence, and you should or else why are you presenting yourself online, then you should be as "professional" as possible. The key is to balance a "professional" design with cost. If you need a basic implementation with not a whole lot of thought put in to the design (many churches only need that) then you need very basic if any support. In fact, you would probably be better off getting a very cheap if not free hosting package. You will be responsible for all maintenance and data upkeep yourself, not to mention any design changes. If that is what you are looking for then that is your route.
Unfortunately most people who are trying to get their church's online presence rolling do not have much experience with web technologies, much less design strategy (putting your site design together on paper first). That is where good quality design/hosting companies and oranizations come in. They will work directly with you to understand your design needs and will usually implement your design for you. You need absolutely no technical experience as they translate your requirements into a product, no matter how simple or complex.
I totally agree that $3500 for initial setup fee is way too high, unless of course your site and technical needs are incredibly complex (not usual for a church). Even a couple thousand dollars can be a bit high for a church with simple needs.
I have played with Joomla a bit and I have to say that it does not impress me. It is completely free and open source and there is a lot of support for it as well as available free plugins/modules. The problem for me lies in the clunkiness of the user interface. Maybe I have not played with it enough but I could not see myself using it and I am not new to the IT world
I really like the DNN system (Dot Net Nuke). It is free and open source as well and is very intuitive. There are less modules available for free, but to be honest, most if not all the modules that are needed for a simple design are available for free. It is also very easy to set up on your own system if you desire to do it in house. However, I would highly recommend using a hosting company that implements the DNN platform and knows it well.
There are other CMS platforms out there to choose from and lots of hosting companies. If you need very little support because you want to do-it-yourself then use a company that offers hosting space and nothing else (well maybe email services). If you are not a techie and would like help with your site, go with a company that provides the support. I know it sounds cliche but - You will get what you pay for.
Joel Peebles, IT Coordinator
Thanks dayfalljesse and kick-ice....
Lot's of food for thought....I do like the blog look and capabilities of wordpress...and your work in progress looks great!
Just to get things moving...I've had powerfulchurchwebsites.com to put together some mock ups for us...I'll be happy to share the url with those who PM me...just don't want to post it in the forum...
Their design work isn't 'through the roof' in my opinion...but they are substantially less expensive than some of the other alternatives...and they are providing a skin for our Children's Ministry site...and a new and seperate site design for our students...
I'm hearing from some that the amount of $2K-3K is reasonable...and others are saying that we should be able to get 'amazing' design...
Seems like everyone's idea of 'great' and 'amazing' is pretty relative to their experience....
Here are a few examples of what I think is 'amazing'...
Also...I'm well aware that none of these sites were probably done w/ $3,000...more than likely three times that...
Cheap Church Websites
2000-3000 might be a little over the top we offer custom design starting at $1200. We crowd source the design so you get a bunch of design options to choose from, and then implement the design into WordPress.
Yes, $15 a month gets your site up, but doesnt keep it alive. Especially if you care about Google Page Rank or people being able to search and find your website. Biggest tip - keep updating content! That takes time. If you have someone in house that can provide nice graphics, edit sermons, update your church's blog, etc. for free then you get to keep it at $15/month. But if you don't update it at all--you are dead to Google. We want to attract people to church - therefore attract them to your church site. And with fresh, new content every Sunday from our pulpits, and with constant flow of programs and events, we have a ton of information we can be posting on our sites!
We offer this website design (one church per city) fully customized to your church for $1200, including 1 year of hosting, 1 year of updating the front page graphics, and 1 year of updating the sermons weekly. After that it's about $100/month to keep the updating service - just for your reference. (Essentially we give the website design/customization away for free if you purchase 1 year of service with us). Here is the site I'm talking about (all in Wordpress with SEO best practices built in!):
Hope that helps,
Good Sense Tech
Go with Wordpress
I agree with everyone telling you to go to Wordpress. $3000.00 for a website like yours is overkill. Even desiring one built from scratch is not a necessity. Wordpress has literally thousands of templates available for almost nothing and anyone who uses them customizes them. I have used templates for all of my clients for years and have never seen a duplicate site anywhere.
You can find a good provider to make your church a website for less than $1,000.00. The monthly charge of $100 is also a bit steep unless they are your personal webmasters. (A term nobody uses anymore.) For that amount they better be marketing, supporting, and SEOing your site for you.
Take a look at themeforest.net and checkout the wordpress section. They have a ton of great templates that aren't used very often. Check them out and, if you don't know how, get someone to customize and install them for you.
Wordpress is a breeze to learn. Plus, once you learn it you are now a hotshot webmaster.
I'll echo the Joomla issues in the last post, we used to use Joomla a good bit, but most people don't want to deal with the learning curve that is associated with maintaining a joomla site.
Wordpress is good, but there are still critical updates that need to be applied to the site to keep it up to date and secure. Occasionally, these updates can mess with existing plugins and templates.
Another option is a hosted solution such as squarespace or clover sites. Both of these have some limitations on design and layout, but can be really great for lower budget projects that don't need to be 100% custom developed code.
Hope that helps a bit!
Since people decided to resurrect an old thread I figure I will chime in with my 2cents because I'm a professional web developer.
Your budget is great if you are seeking a high quality, 100% custom solution that will be managed.
If you are just looking to update your site and have someone keep an eye on it then as everyone else has said you could get a decent solution for less than half of your budget.
I will say though you do get what you pay for... honestly you could pay less than a 10th of your budget if you want a low quality poor coded site that lacks SEO and security OR you could double your budget and get a top-level programmer that knows the ins and outs of web development (beyond just design) that will manage your website and be on call 24/7.
If you have any questions still since 2008 then don't be afraid to send me a private message, god bless.
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