Updating a website is very important, and even more so if you are a church. When people visit your website, do they see event information from last year and nothing recent? How about the sermons – do you upload new sermons every week, or has it been months since a new one has been posted? This can be the deciding factor whether someone will actually come and visit your church or not.
My husband is always on the lookout for new resources and software that we can use in our design process. The first thing he looks at is their blog. If it hasn’t been updated in months, he assumes there’s not much going on in the company. He looks for some signs of life happening, and if he doesn’t see them, he leaves and goes on to someone else. And so it is with your church’s website. If someone sees no “life” there, they will probably not come and visit.
It used to be that you just had to have a website because everyone else did. Not so any longer. People are doing a lot of their searching online now, and they expect to see fresh, updated sites.
To be honest, it can be a little discouraging to us when churches let their website go. When we first start working on the website with them, they are very excited about it and have all kinds of plans for it. Then, a common theme, is that as time goes on, they get busy with other things (undersood!) and the website goes down on their priority list. Once the site is completed and turned over to them, we provide training on how they can maintain it. However, sometimes we will look at the site months later, and nothing new has been added.
Now, there are other churches who keep their excitement and are always adding new pictures and sermons, and keeping the events up-to-date. That’s what we like to see!
What Things Should be Updated
We add a new sermon each Sunday to our own church’s website. This allows anyone who missed the service that day to hear the message as well as those who don’t attend a church at all.
It’s very important to keep your event calendar current. It lets your congregation as well as your community know what’s going on. Make sure you list the correct dates, times and location of each event.
Adding new pictures from recent events is a great habit to get into. Why are sites like Pinterest and Instagram so popular? Because people LOVE pictures! Do you have someone in the church who is a budding photographer? What an awesome way to get them involved and at the same time keep your website current and updated.
Has your staff changed at all – new elders, pastor, etc? If so, make sure your website reflects those changes. And here’s a tip: when writing staff/leadership biographies, make them “evergreen.” What I mean by that is if you are stating how long your pastor has been at your church, say “he has been the pastor since 2000” instead of saying he came to the church “15 or 17 years ago.” The year 2000 doesn’t change but the number of years he has been there will change.
Updating a website should be more than something on your “to do” list (which sometimes never gets done). It should be a priority. And the way that will happen is to assign it to someone who will take ownership of it. Don’t assume it will get updated if no one has been given that job! This can be an individual or a team, but let it be clear that it is their project.
This can be an awesome way to get people involved. Seniors who are retired and have more time on their hands can update sermons and events from their home computer. Maybe you have a young person who is a “budding photographer.” Give them the job of taking pictures at different events. The key is to make sure people know what their roles are.
This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:-) If you have a church blog, it needs to be added to on a regular basis. This can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, but you should be consistently writing new posts to share with your readers. Otherwise, it looks like nobody’s home at your church, and that is not the impression you want to give.
How Updating a Website Can Help Your Church
By keeping your church website up-to-date, it shows you care about it and that your church is alive and active. And that’s what most people are looking for when they search for a church. They want to know you take care of what you have, and that you are involved in your congregation’s lives. Keeping updated on your ministries and events will show that.
What is the bottom line to updating your website? The goal is to give your congregation the information they want and need, and to make it inviting for new people to visit your church. Now it seems pretty important, right?