Last Friday I posed the question “what actually heals a church website?” Now it’s Tuesday and I’d like to talk about this in light of the many excellent comments received.
But first a BIG THANKS to all who participated in this dialog – this was both good and healthy and it is much appreciated.
1. If it’s broke, please fix it
“The medicine that heals depends on the illness â€” if youâ€™ve got a spinning gold cross, removing it becomes job #1” – Mickey
It’s such a simple point, yet a very salient one. There are some very obvious maladies that afflict our church websites. When we see them, we should fix them.
For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I prescribe my post entitled:
Even if you do know what I’m talking about, it’s a fun read … don’t worry, we’ll be here when you get back.
2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
“I fixed up my churchâ€™s website with WordPress and a user-friendly, inviting design. Within months theyâ€™d wrecked the colors, changed pictures of people to pictures of furniture, and otherwise mucked it up.” – Jeremy
Okay, I’m not trying to be a wise-guy here, but I’ve seen this happen all to often. Usually this occurs when an individual has an agenda that it outside the scope of what the church website is trying to accomplish. Two that come to mind are:
- On the job training or skills advertising
- An ego that can’t share nice things
Often, I find it’s a combination of the both. My post “Mr. Zeldman meet Mike Boyink, one of ‘The New Samaritans’” comes to mind.
3. Content is King
“Even if it has to be black Times New Roman on a stark white background, Iâ€™d say job one is relevant content. When, where, what, who, and how, and for good measure, donâ€™t forget why.” – lemon
I’m thinking ‘lemon’ pretty much summed it all up rather nicely with his/her enumeration of the basics that help us avoid the “Seven deadly sins of web writing.”
4. Identify your target audience
There are really (at least) two distinct audiences for a church website:
- People not part of your normal congregation, seeking information about your church …
- People in the congregation who want to know whatâ€™s on this week …
Since the introduction of thisÂ blog back on May 17, 2002 I’ve been preaching the importance of identifying the purpose and personality of your church website – and then aiming all content, controls and/or contrivances at seekers and members alike.
Put another way, “A church website that fails to convey the purpose and personality of the congregation and staff will also fail to bring new members into the door.” – Empty Parking Lot Tabernacle
5. Identify your process & work-flow
“Unfortunately I think its a people problem, the site is just a symptom. People need to see it as a communication medium and commit to its use. Iâ€™m surprised at how poorly email is used by churches, let alone websites.” – David J
Unfortunately, I think the master of the B2Blog has offered a diagnosis that is as incisive as it it accurate. David accurately points out that unless we understand the work-flow that defines how we:
- identify things that need fixed;
- identify things that work;
- identify what makes compelling content; and
- identify the target audience of your church’s purpose and personality …
… then a church website is likely never to get healed no matter what content management system it employs, …
… no matter how much Flash animation the site does or does not have, …
… no matter how many social networks the church-geek API’s into the site.
In short, unless church doesn’t have well defined processes for how to effectively get the right information out to your target audiences, then you’re efforts are like the person Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 as aimlessly batting at the air.
At least that’s my take. What about you?