“Are we there yet?”
You may loathe this phrase come family roadtrip time––but as soon as your church is ready to start the website redesign process, you’ll be the one saying it.It’s easy to grow impatient about things we’re especially excited about! The website redesign process is a refreshing, invigorating time in your church’s community. Your pastors, communicators, administrators, and people all across your membership are eager to launch the long-anticipated new church website.
The length of this wait is a direct result of a few factors: your priorities, your approach to design, and how well-prepared you are. It’s tough to pinpoint exactly how long it could be until your specific church’s website is launched without doing a detailed quote, but the approximations here should help you get a feel for a realistic estimate.
Let’s dive into these factors to help you estimate how long your church website redesign will take:
Do You Have a Timeline?
Right off the bat, you need to be transparent with your designer or strategist in the planning stage. If you have a timeline already cooked up in your head, you’ll want to lead with that. Do you want a new website live by a certain holiday or special event in the life of your church? Or are you willing to take 6-12 months (or even longer) to take it slow and steady with a more piece-by-piece approach?
Whichever route you want to take will determine things like cost and design method later on. Be realistic about this timeline, too––if you’re simply rushing for the sake of rushing, keep your mind open to suggestions from your strategist during your planning phase.
If they’re experienced in church website design, they will know first-hand the trials and errors other clients have made before you. Trust their estimated timeline, and be honest about your goals and expectations.
What Are Your Priorities?
Now that you’ve got any preconceived notions about how long your redesign will take out of the way, you can talk about your top priorities. Not every page of your new website has to be launched at once. If necessary, you could have a gorgeous homepage and “new here” page up in the first few weeks; the rest of your site can come together in the coming months.
On the other hand, some multisite churches (or larger churches with unique design or functionality needs ) come into the redesign process knowing they want a totally custom, one-of-a-kind website. If you want this custom experience, too, you’re placing customization as a priority above speed.
A custom site usually takes around 8-12 months.
Other Design Routes
If this kind of custom site doesn’t align with your ministry goals or budget, your church needs might be a perfect match for a theme website. A theme is a pre-designed series of page templates that you can easily add your colors, branding and content into. This allows you to launch your site much more quickly.
If you were totally focused, a themed website could launch in just a few weeks.
For example, our e360 Themes are all responsive to make your online ministry work perfectly on any device. And you can customize the colors to match your current branding! They’re affordable alternatives to tailored or custom sites at around $500.
Tailored designs are a perfect compromise if you’re looking for some of the customization without designing and coding the whole site from scratch. Tailoring is a good option if you love a theme site, but want to include special functions that your ministry needs or change parts of the design. Adding things like a small group finder, custom e-vite page, or third-party integrations can be included in this custom-theme hybrid.
Depending on how much you want to customize, your church website could launch in 4 to 6 months.
What You Can Do to Prepare
These timeframes should give you a general idea of how quickly your church’s website redesign could be finished. However, if you want to speed things up a bit, you can do so by coming prepared! As a ministry partner, you won’t just pass your login information off to the designer in charge and wait for, “Ta-da, it’s done!”
Come into the process ready to take on responsibilities that will make your redesign go smoother (and sometimes faster):
- Have a few hours a week where you can really focus on this project. There will be check-ins and decision meetings that need your attention.
- Have a sitemap ready so that you know how you want to present information and paths on your new site.
- Conduct a content audit, and choose what will make the transition to your new website. If there are holes in the audit now, be ready to fill them.
- Be prepared to enter content, yourself. Designers and developers will usually build your website, but you’ll be in charge of managing and entering the rest.
By checking all of these boxes at the beginning, you’ll definitely set yourself (and your church) up for success in the coming months.