Building and maintaining a good website is a struggle for many churches. But for some, developing a good web presence is a mindset problem. Here are some of the most common roadblocks you can remove to give your website a better chance of being successful.
The web is not as important as building upkeep or paying the utility bills. Most churches wouldn’t consider not paying the electric bill or refusing to replace a broken front door. If you look at the web as your church’s first impression with people, it helps you think of it as a necessity. And if it’s a must-have, it should be budgeted for in the same way. Go beyond basic hosting costs to include regular updating as well. The average person will look at a handful of websites before picking a church to visit in person. Isn’t that enough by itself to invest in a good website?
We don’t have the technological know-how. I can’t code either. But I work with companies and people that can. Finding the right partners can be tricky. (Try Dribble if you’re looking for a good freelancer.) But refusing to do that work often becomes the excuse that delays web projects. Also, most of the time, a church volunteer or an elder’s high school cousin isn’t going to be able to give you the time or professionalism you need to get the job done efficiently.
Churches are exempt from good design. Thinking about design is not looking at it as competition between secular businesses and the church. Yes, you’re vying for people’s attention, but more importantly good design is about accurately reflecting who you are as an organization. Are you helping people get a sense of what your church believes and what your culture is like? Increasingly, design is something younger generations just expect as well. The Barna Group found that while Millennials are looking for a more stripped-down, authentic church experience, they also view technology as a must have norm.
A website invades the privacy of our members. I hear this all the time, especially from smaller churches. They can’t build the website of their dreams because people won’t want their pictures online. The fear of offending is much stronger than the reality of people not getting upset about it. Part of that is a culture shift of emphasizing the importance of sharing your church with your community. Yes, privacy is important. Yes, you should have a policy for using images. But the church is called to reach out to the community, not to hunker down inside a country club.
The website is separate from our other communications work. Your church website doesn’t live alone on an island. It shouldn’t have a different look and feel than what you’re doing in person. Good communication is cohesive and strategic. Beyond design, consider how the content of your site fits with the other tools you’re using to communicate with your people.
We can put anyone in charge of maintaining our website. It’s frustrating when website duties are thrown onto someone who doesn’t want or have the skillset to do it well. It’s not fair to that person and it’s not a situation that is set up for success. You wouldn’t let someone without the right qualifications run your children’s ministry, so why not demand the same excellence from your communications?