Long-term website maintenance seems to be an issue for many churches. A lot of work and discussion go into the creation of a site; yet there’s not always a commitment to keep it up-to-date. While fresh content is often a problem, another issue is allocating resources for ongoing maintenance like tweaking features, improving functionality and updating the look.
When you aren’t thinking about the ongoing needs of you church website, there are plenty of opportunities that are missed.
You aren’t making your best first impression. The average person looking to go to church will go online before ever walking through the front door. Statistics also show someone looking for a church will visit a handful of sites before picking one church to visit. If you don’t have an updated website that represents your church well, you’re going to miss an opportunity to connect with someone new. Commit to making your website a true representation of your church. Does it have the same feel? If someone went to the site, and then came through your door, would it feel like the two are connected?
You miss a chance to help your members plug in. It’s one thing to tell your members you have a website, and it’s something else to actually fill it with useful information. If your website is hard to navigate or doesn’t have updated content about what’s going on in your church, your members can’t depend on it as a reliable source. When it’s frustrating for someone to figure out how to get involved, it’s easier for them to just not do it.
You lose an opportunity to say you’re relevant in today’s culture. The average person has an expectation of what a website should be. If they visit an out-of-date church website it only perpetuates the perception that churches are out of touch with what’s going on in the world today. I’m more and more convinced that churches don’t get a pass anymore. They aren’t exempt from having a well designed, up-to-date website. This is especially true for a younger generation that knows how easy it can be to set up a simple website. Yes, church staffs may not have the same level of tech savvy-ness, but this is a reality.
Your church website isn’t a one-time investment. There needs to be resources, people and cash budgeted for it each year. Look at it like a utility—just like paying the electric bill or investing in keeping your building clean. Your website matters.