Episode 8: 100% Free website options you should consider

Standard

Show Notes for Season 1, Episode 8

Before you decide to spend a few pounds each year to own a domain name, here are some truly free alternatives if you don’t have, and don’t want, your own domain name:

  1. wix.com is a brilliant service, but I don’t see their free plan as a good choice for churches
  2. weebly.com (love that name!) is a great way to make a beautiful website quickly, and their free plan isn’t feature-rich but it covers most of the basics
  3. wordpress.com uses WordPress technology to power a managed service, and free users don’t feel like second class citizens: compared to most rivals, the free plan has a decent array of features, but if you use the free WordPress software on your own hosting package, there’s much more you can achieve without spending a penny

What if you do have (or plan to acquire) a domain name?

  • Wix, Weebly and WordPress.com all require you to have a paid plan if you want to use your own domain name (though the entry level WordPress.com plan includes free domain name registration)
  • For Church of England churches, you can have a free A Church Near You directory entry, and they plan to offer a free option to connect your own domain, however “it is a starting point not a complete solution” (from “Parish Websites” Diocese of London)
  • Add a domain name to your free hosting package and you’re good to go with registering a domain name

And I mentioned a couple of low cost options, up to £50 per year, within the WordPress “universe”

  1. The entry level wordpress.com paid plan removes advertising, includes a domain name, and has a strong basic feature set
  2. (Disclosure: I’m connected!) ThisChurch.uk is a non-profit service built on WordPress technology that includes practical help getting your website up and running, and bundles in lots of premium extra features used by large churches

From this point on, I’m going to assume you’re “in”! We’re going to register a domain (or if you really, really can’t afford that, get in touch via the comments below and I’ll help organise a free subdomain for you) and press on with making our free website!

Episode 7: Choosing your home address on the web

Standard

Show Notes for Season 1, Episode 7

Here are some key points from this episode.

  • If you want to use great free tools for your church website, I think you’re likely to decide you should pay for a domain name
  • When you own a domain name, it’s unique and it’s yours, a bit like a street address
  • You can generally register your domain with one company and host your website with another
  • There is a free option: persuade someone who owns their domain to let you have a subdomain (which is analogous to an address like, say, Flat 16, 53 Station Road), I just don’t recommend that!
  • Subdomains are a fully workable option when there’s a clear connection between the domain and the subdomain, for instance ThisChurch.uk works just that way
  • At time of writing, if you want, say, a .org.uk domain, it will probably cost around £6-10 p.a., and you can shop around
  • If you’ve taken up the free hosting offer from TSO Host, the simple fair value option is to register a domain with them too
  • The best overall cost I found was from Tortilla Hosting (full disclosure: they’re the hosting partner of ThisChurch.UK)
  • Think before you commit! Next time, I’ll look at some fully free and low cost alternatives

Questions? Confused? Comment below and I’ll try and help!

Episode 6: Validating your free web hosting package

Standard

Show Notes for Season 1, Episode 6

You have your charity number / HMRC X number that proves your charitable status (Episode 3). You’ve applied for the charity web hosting package (Episode 5 / Direct sign-up link). Now let’s get the hosting plan added to your account, by proving your charitable status.

Useful links:

Log in to your hosting account here. Stuck? Call the helpline 01628 200 161 any time between 7am and midnight!

Let me know how it goes via the comments below!

Episode 5: Getting a free web hosting package for your church

Standard

Show Notes for Season 1, Episode 5

We’re still doing less exciting, enabling steps, to make sure that everything works just fine as we complete Season 1’s project to create a free website that you’ll be happy with.

Useful links:

Get the free charity web hosting for your church: https://churchfreeweb.co.uk/freehost

Get some help by watching this video where you’ll see me complete this task, step-by-step.

Episode 4: How to create a free, temporary email address

Standard

Show Notes for Season 1, Episode 4

We’re still doing less exciting, enabling steps, to make sure that everything works just fine as we complete Season 1’s project to create a free website that you’ll be happy with.

Useful links:

Create a Gmail account here

Get some help by watching this video where you’ll see me complete this task, step-by-step.

Next episode

Episode 2: Why go online?

Standard

Reasons to go online may include:

  • It’s trendy (it’s not)
  • It would be great to have our Christmas events online (a website’s for life, not just for Christmas)
  • We can forget about the printed sheet (who remembers to check a website every day?)
  • …What’s yours?

Reasons not to go online may include:

  • It’s scary (you need to get out more)
  • I don’t know how (it’s time you learned, and I’ll teach you)
  • I want to save something for the next new church member to do (that hasn’t worked so far)
  • …Go on, talk me out of it!

Spoiler alert! The (slightly dull but) compelling reason to have a website you control is… most people will look for you online, and assume whatever’s most likely looking is you. They’ll be frustrated, and you’ll be frustrated. So you need something that will be the thing people find when they look for you online. And it might as well be a website that represents you well, that’s fresh, current and comprehensive.

Next episode

Episode 1: Season 1 Introduction

Standard

Here I’m setting out my stall for Season 1. In a few weeks I’ll take you (small) step by (small) step through creating a website that you’ll be happy with and that other people can find. You’ll sometimes need to come to this website to get quick access to information or additional resources. And you can encourage me by posting questions or comments right here, and most of all by signing up for the email list.

Next episode