In the early days of the Internet, building a website was extremely costly. Because of this, template sites like GeoCities and Tripod were created, allowing the average person to build a website. Use of the word “website” in this since is probably pretty generous. Many of these were poorly designed and not very functional.
Which brings us to today. Now, there are hundreds of companies to choose from when looking to build a website. There are even quite a few companies that build websites solely for churches. Within those companies are options to build a completely custom site or build using a predesigned template. Let’s take a look at those two options.
With a template site, the bulk of the code work has already been done, so most of the actual labor happens in editing the actual content. In a custom site, the content and code must both be developed. The labor involved requires someone who has a good idea for design and someone who knows how to write code, so the work is more expensive with a custom site.
Depending on the company you choose, any number of features and designs could be available in a template site. You will want to do some research. Since every church is different, it will be difficult to find any template that meets your exact needs and wants. With a custom site, however, you can literally do anything you can dream. Of course, you will pay accordingly, but hiring a good programmer means you can build a site that exactly fits the unique vision of your church.
Development takes time. With a template site, much of the development has already been done, which means you are able to launch your website much more quickly. A custom site does require more time.
The old joke in the design world is you can have it fast, cheap, or good, but you can only pick two. While template sites certainly help to close the gap on these three, you are still going to get the best design with a custom site. To decide what is best for your church, you should decide what elements are most important and see if you can find those in a template site. If not, you might want to consider investing a little more into a custom site.