Should I Use Publishing as My Church Website?

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Not sure if you should use Publishing for your church website? Answer the questions here to see if that's right for you!

Do you have a website?

There are certain benefits to hosting your own website that Publishing doesn't have a solution for:

  • Search Engine Optimization: People can discover your church through a web search; if you use Publishing as your website, people cannot find your website.
  • Custom domain: Every Publishing domain has .churchcenter in its URL, and this is not customizable.
  • A more customizable design: Publishing is limited in how it displays information.

If you already have an established website, you can use Publishing as a place for your members to access specific information. If needed, you could even link to your website from Church Center.

If you already have a mobile app, you can embed the giving form or a People form into your app.

If you decide to use Publishing to host the Planning Center built-in pages, we recommend you add your website as a your home page, so people can get back to your main website easily.

Add Your Website to the Navigation

Your website likely already has information you want on it. So, if you add your website to the Church Center navigation, people will be able to get back to your main website easily.

Here are some reasons to link to your main website from Church Center:

  • You already post information on your website, and you don't want to have to manage it in two locations.
  • You want to use the Church Center mobile app.
  • You want people to be able to access your website from the Church Center mobile app.

Publishing already comes with a built-in Home page, but you'll be creating a separate Nav Item, so you need to delete the built-in page from the Navigation.

Hover over Home, and click the minus sign.

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To add your Home page, click Add Nav Item, and then enter your church's website.

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Enter the label as Home or something like that, and add the icon.

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A big reason churches want a website is to make sure others can find their church by searching them on the web. Publishing doesn't help with that. However, if you want members of your congregation to access your giving, etc., you can create a presence on Church Center using Publishing.

Publishing can be used as a simple website if you don't already have one, even on the free pricing package.

Here's what to do to use Publishing as a website:

  1. Set Up Pages
  2. Add Pages to Navigation
  3. Help People Find Your Site

1. Set Up Pages

Create pages to hold the most important information you want people to access.

Here are some examples of the formatting you can use:

  1. Use Headers to break up the flow of the page.
  2. Use images to show what you're referencing, and place them right, center, or left on the page.
  3. If the page needs a header, upload it, and you'll see it on the preview.

The page doesn't automatically update with your changes; you need to save them in order to see them.

When you Save draft, the page can be seen by Administrators in Preview mode, but it will not be updated live until you Publish.

  • Customize Home Page

If you want to stay on the free plan, you can customize your home page to look nice and link out to specific links.

  • Upgrade for Custom Pages

If you want more than the built-in pages, you can upgrade your pricing package and begin adding custom pages.

You can format each custom page to hold the information most important to you.

2. Add Pages to Navigation

In order for your pages to show, you have to add them to the Navigation.

Add the four most important pages to the top, and then the rest of the pages will be in the More menu.

You can add any URL to the Navigation.

3. Help People Find Your Site

Once your website is ready for people to view, help them find it!

Here are ways to help people find your new website:

  • Share it on social media.
  • Send it in an email newsletter.
  • Add it to your bulletin via link or QR code.

To find the link to the site, go to the Settings from the Church Center dropdown. You'll find a link to your site and app stores, as well as some promotional material to help spread the word.

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Congratulations, you are done!
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