Health and Growth

3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Church Website Platform

Ask these 3 critical questions when choosing a church website platform.

3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Church Website Platform

Today I am going to talk about why it is important to have an easy to edit website coupled with a great church website builder.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how beautifully designed your website is; if it is difficult to update, then it is eventually going to go out of date.

People will not want to jump in there. For your church administrator, editing the website is not going to be their favorite thing to do.

If you haven't made it super simple, then your events calendar is going to fall out of date.

Your ministries are no longer going to communicate the heart of where they're actually at. Instead, your website will communicate where your ministries were six months ago or two years ago. You want things to be as simple as they possibly can be.

A huge element of what makes a great church website is that the content is fresh and relevant. I think one of the greatest challenges in why a lot of church websites are difficult to edit is that a lot of platforms out there were made by programmers for programmers. That's something we saw in the early days of the web where things were a little bit more challenging than they needed to be. We weren't necessarily taking the church administrator into consideration when we were building these platforms.

There were just too many steps. It was not necessarily the right language or the right user interface for a church administrator to use. There are situations where it's an out of the box kind of piece of software that's available to anyone like WordPress. It’s a platform built for plumbers, lawyers, schools and whoever else, but not really for a church specifically.

An interface can often give you too many options where you can do so many different things. When you remove all of those options, it increases the level of simplicity because you only see the buttons you need. With Sites, we've actually created a platform from scratch where we only show the church administrator or the church leader exactly what they need to see in that given moment. That really helps create a simple user interface where they only have to do the things they need to do.

There are a few key things churches want to think about when trying to solve this problem.

1. Demo the software

Prior to moving ahead with your next church website, ask your developer if you can demo the software.

I think so often we'll look at the designs of our potential developer and say, "Hey. These sites look great. Awesome. Let's move ahead," but you haven't actually looked at what the editing experience is like.

You should be able to demo that editing experience to make sure that your secretary or you are able to edit the website. Once the website has launched, the developer's gone and it's just you and that website now left with going forward. You really want to make sure that it's going to be simple and straightforward. Otherwise, you're going to have a world of pain ahead.

2. Know the features that matter most 

The second thing that you want to do is really map out the features that matter to you. Think through the tools that your church is going to need going forward and consider if those things are easy to use. Sometimes you can say, "Yeah, page editing is really, really simple." That's great, but actually uploading a sermon could be an eight step process. Your media volunteer is going to feel the pain of that. Look at those key tasks that you know you're going to be performing on a weekly basis and consider how easy they are to do. Are they really simple? Again, this is what you're going to be left with going forward. You want to make sure that you can do them all in a really straightforward manner.

3. Read reviews 

When you have a tool that you're considering, you need to know if people love it or if they are frustrated by it.

This is the beauty of social media and the web because people are going to share. You want to know, are there raving fans out there? Are there raging fans out there? Are they really upset with this tool? You want to find a tool that people are excited to market or leave great reviews on. This is one way you're going to know that you're getting set up for success going forward.

When you're looking for reviews for church websites, one tool I  recommend is called Capterra. That is a great online website that actually specifically focuses on software reviews and you really get a sense of how much people love or hate a product.

In summary, when you're considering a church website platform to move forward with, you want to demo it to make sure it's as easy to use as they say it is. You need to consider if it has all the features that you need and if they are easy to use. Lastly, you need to know if there are happy customers online raving about it.

Show Notes

Read the full blog of this episode here:

Today on Modern Church Leader, Sites Team Lead Matt Morrison explains the 3 critical questions your church should be asking when choosing a church website platform.

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3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Church Website Platform