Before you build a new website: Part 1


I was in an office consisting of wall-to-ceiling windows, which was a little warm because of the sunny summer day outside. It smelled like pepperoni pizza, and my heart was racing because of the coffee I consumed an hour earlier. I wore my new red Van's, Levi's and a gray tshirt. As I closed my eyes to relish in the moment, I was consumed by The Fifth Dimension's Aquarius playing in the background and hearing my coworkers clapping. We had done it...after eight months of hard work (three of which, were spent in this same small office with four people working from the same six-foot table and seven computer monitors staring back at us) the new texasbaptists.org had been launched.

WHO AM I?

In a continually growing digital world, I understand the pressure to have an increasingly growing web presence, but before thinking about domain names, hosting accounts, content management systems, etc. there are several factors you need to first consider, I suggest you begin thinking about the following:

  1. What is the name of my organization?
  2. What services does my organization provide?
  3. Why does my organization need a website?
  4. What are the goals of my organization's website?

Before my web team even started developing a new plan for a website, we reevaluated the current website. What was it doing well? What needed to be improved upon? Did the website reflect the organization's goals and purpose? I want to encourage you in this endeavor to know that at some point in the very near past, we were in the exact position you are in now.

Understanding who you are, what your organization does and how having a website fits into the broader plan of how your organization reaches its goals is very important. You may find later on that the commitment a good website requires is simply not worth the time, or that there may be another, easier way to accomplish the same objectives.

If you know who you are, what you do, why you need a website and what your site's objectives are, then you're ready to move on.

COMMITMENT

We're fully convinced a bad website is actually worse than no website at all. To that end, it is important to understand that your new website will take time (a lot of time), man (or woman) power and money, and not just at inception, but every month from the time your create the site to the time you take it offline (if you do at all). So when thinking about who will take care of your website, here are some questions to answer:

  1. Who can maintain my church's website?
  2. How much technical expertise does that person have?
  3. How much free time does that person have?
  4. How much (if any) money does my church have to compensate this person?
  5. How much (if any) money does my church have to pay monthly or annual web dues?

If you can identify a person or a group of people with the ability to maintain your site, you can compensate them or reach an agreement whereby they maintain the site at no cost, and you have the money to pay web dues, then you're ready to build your website.

In the event, you don't have any funds or have a small amount of funds for someone to run and/or work on your website, look into creating an intern position for local high school or college students. In the coming months, we will have more posts about internships, so keep a look out for that!

Check back next week for Part 2 where I will talk about Design & Development!

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