The majority today spend most of their time online, socializing, reading, or shopping. If you are looking forward to making money online, then you have to find a way to tap into this online market. That is why it is necessary to have a website.
You can use this strategy to share your faith online and at the same time make a passive income. Then, if you are looking for a step-by-step guide on how to start a Christian website and make money, you are in the right place.
Starting a website is the same way as beginning a business. Therefore, you have to treat it as one or even a ministry.
Unlike a physical business, a website doesn’t require any capital in place, however, you will need a few requirements to start a successful Christian website. We will discuss these requirements and the necessary steps to take to begin a website.
How to start a Christian website: A step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Have a plan for starting a website.
Just like any other venture in life, a plan helps you stay focused as you have a clear goal. To succeed you have to treat your website as a business and allocate the necessary recourse such as time and expertise.
If you are planning to begin a ministry website, have a clear plan of what content you intend to publish on your website. Your website is a brand and you want to be known for a specific area. You can check out websites like desiringgod.org and joshuamwangangi.com to draw some inspiration.
Step 2: Buy a domain name for your website
Now that you have a clear plan and strategy, you should consider registering a domain name for your website. A domain name is a URL/ link that you type on google when you are searching for a specific site, e.g. joshwp.com.
Make sure to choose a domain name that relates to your niche- the type of content you will be publishing on your site.
I recommend Namecheap domain registrar as they have the best prices and a standard DNS manager. Dynadot is also another good domain registrar to consider, as they offer fixed prices, so you don’t need to worry about expensive renewal costs.
You can check out the full list of the best domain providers here to help you make the best decision based on your website’s needs. Before registering a domain name check if your web hosting company offers a free domain name.
It is wise to register a .com domain as it is what most people search for online. There are other domain extensions such as .net, .org for organizations, .io, .news, .health, and much more.
Every time you hear of an online business name- domain name, what comes to your mind? It’s a .com, as that is what most consumers are accustomed to, e.g. Most big companies have this domain extension, google.com, amazon.com, and much more.
Step 3: Choose a good web hosting provider
Now that you have chosen a good domain name, it is time to get web hosting for your website. A web hosting provider is simply a company that holds your site’s files on its servers at a fee, as it will be very expensive to run your own server locally.
Hosting your website on one of these platforms helps you to reduce the cost of running your online business, as you don’t need to worry about server maintenance and update, and other technical issues.
You can check the full list of my recommended best WordPress hosting providers here. And if you are looking for fully managed WordPress hosting then, read this article on the best-managed WordPress hosting providers here.
Like any other service, there are things to consider when choosing a hosting provider. This includes the entry and renewal prices, security, Server performance, Free CDN- content delivery network, Storage and bandwidth, refund policy, customer services, Backup, uptime, and free domain name.
Step 4: Create a business email address that matches your domain name
You will surely want to send newsletters to your audience on various updates. A good business address will enable you to achieve this objective.
Trust me, you don’t want to use your personal email address for this, as it can limit you and even be penalized and sent to your user’s spam folder.
The difference between a business email address and a personal email is that, unlike your normal Gmail email, a business email uses your own domain and not Gmail’s subdomain. i.e. [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], unlike the Gmail email which ends with @gmail.com. You can put whatever you desire before @yourdomain.com.
Step 5: Choose the CMS content management system to use
Despite there being several CMS- content management systems- WordPress leads with a market share of 43% of all websites on the internet.
Other CMS include Magento, Wix, Joomla, Drupal, Squarespace, HubSpot, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, Ghost, Textpattern, Blogger, TYPO3, Bitrix24, and PrestaShop.
WordPress is the best CMS and easiest to set up. It has great community support and there are thousands of plugins and ready-build themes to extend its functionality.
You don’t need any technical skills to run a website on WordPress, as there are themes with ready-to-use templates to start your site. A good example is the Kadence theme, Elementor theme, and much more.
With WordPress CMS, you can build anything including a simple website, an online forum, a marketplace like Fiverr, a membership site, an eCommerce store, and much more.
Step 6: Choose a suitable lightweight theme
A theme is simply a folder/ group of files that determine your website’s appearance and help you to design your site as you desire.
Depending on their functionalities, themes are classified as either lightweight- meaning they do not interfere with your site’s overall performance or heavy themes- meaning if they are not well configured they might add extra bloat to your website, hence affecting its performance.
A good example of a lightweight theme is GeneratePress, followed by Kadence, Astra, Blocksy, Neve, Zakra, Sydney, and OceanWP.
You should choose a theme that comes with most functionalities out of the box, as you do not want to end up adding many plugins for that purpose. This will make your site faster and neater.
I like Kadence as it meets that criterion. The theme comes with its theme builder and supports most basic functionality straight out of the box.
For example, the Kadence theme builder comes with an in-built table of content, a full library of free starter templates, predesigned sections, and much more. Their premium add-on adds a ton of extra professional functionalities.
Step 7: Choose a page builder
Every theme comes with a theme builder, or you can choose a theme builder of your choice as long as it is compatible with the theme you are using. For example, GeneratePress comes with GeneratePress page builder, Kadence theme with Kadence page builder, and Elementor Hello theme comes with Elementor page builder.
Other popular page builders include beaver, nimble builder, WPBakery, Visual composer, Themify builder, Divi builder, SiteOrigin, brizy, WP page builder, Oxygen, Genesis pro, Gutenberg, and much more.
Step 8: Install the necessary plugins
Plugins are like mobile apps within the website. They are used to extend the theme’s functionalities, such as adding a table of content, adding social share icons, backup purposes, for security enhancement, image compression, and optimization, caching, payment integration, WooCommerce extensions, and much more.
Every website has its unique needs; hence only choose the plugins you need. Most plugins add extra bloat interfering with your site’s overall performance. You want to be wise about which plugins to choose. If possible, go for a theme that gives you most of these functionalities out of the box.
If you are considering starting an online course website, I recommend using LearnDash as it comes with premade templates and additional functionalities for a course website.
Step 9: Design your website
Now that you have everything you need and have a clue of what to do, it is time for the actual work. Login to your WordPress website, and install the right theme and page builder. As I said earlier most themes come with a few ready-made templates to help you to set up a professional website with ease.
Choose from the template library a design that suits you, and click apply. Now you can change the template’s content to fit what you need. You can check out the step-by-step guide on how to create a WordPress website using the Kadence theme and Kadence page builder.
You can also choose different templates for different pages of your website, and edit the content to suit your site’s needs. Create a menu, header, and footer section.
Step 10: Add your website content
Now that you have created a professional-looking website, it is time to add content. If you are intending to use your website for blogging, consider adding a few articles to start with. At this stage, you can also add any other page content.
Step 11: Publish your website
The final step of creating your website is launching it officially. You can now confidently publish your website, meaning it will be live and visible online. You can now access your site using your domain name, and share the link with friends. Consider creating and publishing content for your website regularly to increase its visibility on search engines.
You can now read my step-by-step guide on what to do after publishing your website here.
Which type of website is profitable?
Any website can be profitable; you only need a good strategy to outdo others in your niche. You can achieve this by doing original research, and creating quality and detailed content that adds value to the readers. You don’t just want to create another copy of existing content. However, you can look at existing content to spot a gap and then do original research on the topic and produce a better-detailed copy on the same subject.
Can I start a Christian website for free?
Yes, you can. Some hosting companies offer you a free trial for a while for you to test their services. For example, WP Engine gives you a 4-month free, while IONOS, Liquid Web, and Flywheel offer 14 days of free trial. Bluehost has a 30-day refund policy meaning if you are not satisfied with the service they will refund your money back.
Other companies offer free VPS- virtual private server- trials for up to 2 months. They give you a $100 free credit to try their platforms. These hosting providers include Vultr, Cloudways, and Digital Ocean. You can try any of these today free of charge.
Google Cloud, Amazon Web Service, and Oracle Cloud offer free tiers that you can take advantage of. The only downside with these platforms is that you must have good skills to run the servers through root access. However, as long as you do not exceed the limit of allocated resources, you will never pay a coin.
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