Before your website can become a reality, careful and strategic planning must happen first.
Planning means asking questions and then working with a group of people who can help you answer them. Several planning meetings may be necessary with a group of 3 to 7 people who are aware of the vision of the church and of web techniques.
Here are some good questions to think through:
- What is the purpose for your church’s website?
- What is the strategy of how it will serve people?
- How can you measure it’s success in helping you serve people?
- What is it about your church that people really need to know?
- How can the website most help the church achieve its vision?
Keep the goals for the website in line with the vision of the church and consider how the site would help you move forward with the vision. It is also wise to prioritize what information is available so you don’t distract from what is most important or relevant.
Some churches put too much information on their site creating large blocks of text which are repelling to most users. When presenting information the site should chunk down large blocks of text in to smaller sections with images and video integrated to help process the content more visually.
Anticipate future growth by choosing a web platform which allows for expansion of the features of the online platform. Churches should have a platform which allows non developers to update the website easily through a content management system. This will allow for the latest information to be updated to the site so it can serve the church well. Your site should always change to provide relevant information which people need to participate with the church. A stagnant site does not get repeat visits.
Altogether, planning might seem like a messy, drawn-out process, but it is well worth the effort in the end.