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By: Shawn Quinn
Developing a website can widen your ministry, allowing your church to spread the Word to thousands of potential new members within a click's reach. Offer a place where people want to come and more importantly, that they want to keep coming back to. The problem with many websites is that they remain static and after awhile become bland and outdated. When you search for a provider to host your church's website, you should look for one that not only offers high-speed ISP services, but also provides web design, customization, and flexibility at an affordable cost.

Before you start your search for an appropriate hosting provider for your church's website, you should evaluate exactly what you want your site to offer. Many ministerial sites not only offer church and administrative information, but provide a community where new and current members can network through message boards and instant messaging. The more interactive your site, the more attractive it will be to visitors. Will your church site provide downloadable sermons? Will it have a youth music ministry? Perhaps you can watch live videos streamed from your Sunday services. Remember that not all computer connections are the same. Make sure you accommodate your visitors with options for the varying connection speeds whether they have a dial-up modem, a moderate-speed DSL, or a high-speed broadband connection. Nothing chases visitors away faster than slow-loading sites and tedious downloads.

Once you've brainstormed what you want for your church's site, do an internet search to find other church websites. Compare designs and determine what works for those sites - and what doesn't. Make a list of the pros and cons of each site you visit to determine the best and worst practices employed. Sites may minister, but do they minister effectively? Attractive sites pull people in, especially if the designs are dynamic and interesting. Although HTML web fashioning is integral in many web designs, CSS design is becoming more prominent. Flash and java are key features in a lot of dynamic sites, but use them in moderation. Too much flashy content can put off visitors, especially those with slower internet connections.

The more complicated and dynamic your site design, the more likely you will need to have third-party maintenance to support it. Make sure your provider offers this support. Even if they do, you may decide that it is more convenient and cost efficient to have in-house maintenance, so find a host that provides administrative tools for simple upkeep as well.

Flexibility and customization are other features you should search for. Some providers offer event calendars, photo albums, email lists and groups. These features allow you to pick and choose what you want to feature on your church's website to make it more dynamic and interactive.

Your website should grow along with your ministry. A site that is geared toward an existing congregation of hundreds won't be sufficient for a congregation of thousands. Church ministries often grow outward and as your members needs vary through different demographics, you may want your site to offer features to entice those various groups. Technology is constantly changing and your hosting provider needs to take a proactive approach to integrate these changes into your existing site to keep it up-to-date and vibrant.

Hosting providers offer a variety of premiums to keep competitive. Some offer free trials; unlimited storage space; free domain names; and web design templates. All providers should offer anti-spam controls; firewalls; backup services; and support for today's network media. You may want to consider an analytics package (such as Google Analytics) to track your website traffic. Always make sure your host provides excellent customer and technical support.

Growing your ministry takes more than filling your church pews. Your congregation can be worldwide with a dynamic and interactive website that offers content that reaches those searching for the Good News.About Author:Community Spice offers the tools you need to help connect your community, through its online presence. Offering church website builder and everything you need to build your church website. Visit online and get started with a free trial today.
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