So, you are ready for a new website. There are many things to think about in building a new website, so we will be doing a series talking about some different aspects as you prepare to take the next steps.
The first thing you need in place is buy-in from your leadership. If you need help with this, we can give you some good tools to help talk about the need for a new website with your leadership. Once the decision is made to get a new website, the next question will be, who should make the decisions about design, content, etc.
Just as different ministries have different leadership models, they have different ideas about who will make decisions when you are figuring out if and how to build a new website. However decisions are made in your ministry, having a team or committee accompany you through this process and who should be on a team is a big decision. The leadership involved can help or hinder a site build project. Many times our staff are asked, “How long does the process take to build a new site?” Inevitably, the answer is, it depends on you or your team.
Whether you work with a team of people or not, having someone as the project manager is key. This will be the direct link between you and your website builder as we gather the necessary information for your site.
Keep in mind, your point person or website team doesn’t have to have website building experience, but rather it’s best to have people that know your church/ministry, know and understand how to express your vision and mission, are open-minded, know where to find needed information, and can keep the project on task.
If you plan to use a team, here are some suggestions on who you should be looking for:
(we recommend keeping it small, three key people is an ideal number)
Communications representative: Knows what tools the church needs and uses to communicate. This can be the admin assistant or communications director or a volunteer that assists with newsletters, updating the site, etc.
A staff member: They know the day-to-day activities of the church or ministry, as well as hold institutional memory about vision and mission.
A visitor or new member: a visitor or new member will be able to point out the things needed that might be overlooked because it is information that you assume “everybody knows” (worship times and locations, parking and nursery info, etc.). They will be able to talk about items that are important to visitors looking for information for the first time, and point out language that might be confusing or “insider baseball” – terminology that long-time members and staff might understand, but wouldn’t be known by new people.
Remember to be open-minded, understanding that a website is dynamic, not static, so the decisions you make now about design and content can and should be adapted as your ministry changes and adapts over time – a good website will adapt to the life of the ministry.