Continuing our look at questions small churches ask, this week we are taking a look at websites. Despite rapid advancements in website technology and design in recent years, the Internet is full of poorly built websites that are in desperate need of an upgrade. Sadly, many of those websites belong to churches. Let’s take a look below at some questions that small churches regularly ask about websites (and maybe make the Internet a better place in the process).
Google recently announced that the mobile-friendliness of your website would factor into its search algorithm. Fortunately, they also have a very easy way to check and see if your site passes their test. Simply go to Google.com on a mobile device and type in the web address of your church. It should declare your site as “mobile-friendly” in light gray next to the site description. You can also check this on a desktop/laptop by heading to this address.
How much should I spend on my website?
Ah, the age old question. This really depends on your church budget, but the absolute best advice I can give is to spend something. Many churches have that person who “knows how to build a website” and “can do it for free.” First, nothing worthy is free. There are always costs associated with hosting and domain name purchases. Any system that works around that is going to be offsetting the cost by making it a poor experience and hoping you upgrade or by adding some sort of advertising that you don’t want.
Are there any ways around the monthly fees?
Many, many services charge some sort of monthly fee. As stated above, there are costs associated with the servers hosting your data and access to those servers, purchasing a domain name and sometimes other similar services. Those costs are unavoidable, but some companies do offer discounts for paying annually. It pays to ask around.
How should I pick a developer?
First, keep in mind there is a difference between a website developer and a website designer. You want a company (or a person) that is equally talented in both parts. One is about function, the other is about form, but both have a major impact on the user experience. Try to find a company (or person) that has a decent portfolio they will let you see.
How much information should I include?
Websites are very commonly a gateway for people who are curious about your church but not ready to attend a service. Keeping that in mind, you want your church website to be simple and easy to navigate, but also informative. You always want the most important information (address, service times, contact information) quickly accessible and on the homepage. Less urgent information can be in subpages, but should be easy to find. When building your site, first look at it through the eyes of someone who is just now being introduced to your church. Next, it should be a good experience for church people who may be looking for specific information. If you approach it that way, you will likely find this gives your best return on investment. Let your website be an honest reflection of your church culture.
What other questions might a small church ask about websites? We’d love to answer those for you in the comments below or even in an upcoming blog post.