Nobody likes to see something great go to waste. If you bought a $700 ski boat, you wouldn't want it to just sit in the dock to collect dust and barnacles—otherwise that hefty chunk of change would be for nothing!
Or even worse, what if it was your church website collecting dust in the world wide web? You've spent countless hours creating content and building the site from the ground up, but now feel like you've ended up wasting time, energy, and even money building this for your congregation. And they just don't seem to be interested. *Sigh.*
We're here to tell you that your congregation is totally interested—they can and will benefit from your church website, but somewhere along the way, your website has sailed far from its destination and lost its way. We've navigated these waters before and we've got tried and true methods to turn this ship around and get some solid credibility for your website and get your church members using it again.
Always Keep It Updated
Your church website should act as the major hub to all the need-to-know info. If your website is still featuring your Christmas drive registration in July, your former pastor's page is still live, and your upcoming events aren't on the calendar, your congregation probably doesn't even bother to visit your website, let alone trust it for anything useful.
Maintaining your website takes a lot more than just going in once a week to "check in." It's a continuous process that takes time and consideration. Over time, if you haven't taken a good look at your site and found opportunities to improve and update it, it's going to take some time to get things out of the doldrums. We've covered 9 church website improves you can cover in just a few minutes here. To name a few, you can:
- Make important information the easiest to find
- Audit the quality of your photos
- Check your site on mobile devices
- Check your ranking on Google
Read about more tips here.
Teach Your Staff How to Use It
Whether your website is hosted on Wordpress, Wix, Clover, or Ekklesia 360, it's important that your staff knows how to use and update it. Unless you've got someone full-time, it will more than likely take more than just the one church communicator to run and update your site. There will be times when the outreach coordinator might need to update the events for the upcoming community brunch potluck to collect RSVPs. But if it's too hard for him to do it, he may end up just texting the information to people, putting it on the Facebook page, or posting a sign on the bulletin board. None of which helps your website or helps your church grow and thrive.
After you've determined the right number of admins to run your website, take the time to do some training to ensure that everyone involved can work on the site and get it floating along again.
Address the Problem to Your Congregation
When you decide to revive your church website, you will want to tell your members and give your spiffed up site a healthy dose of promotion. You can address it in smaller group setting or during your Sunday sermon or newsletter.
This next part is going to take some customizing on your end, since each church is different. The solutions are different for each website. Whether you decide to make an announcement when your website has re-launched or choose to make an announcement saying that the new website changes are coming depends on your unique situation. You can say something like:
"We noticed many of you haven't been using the website—it's been due for a makeover for a while! We've decided to make a change for the better to build your trust back in the website. What would you like to see change so that you find it more useful?"
- or -
"Please welcome Mrs. Connie Clinesmith! We have hired her to keep our church communications more organized and easy to find so you can keep checking the website for all important information. We'll be sending around a survey; please take 3 minutes to let her know your suggestions about how you'd love to use the [church name] website."
The most important part is that you acknowledge your out-of-date website and that your whole team has dedicated time and effort to fix. This is the key to start building a reputable website and get your congregation to start using it.