Small groups, events, ministries, church online, and more–your website is constantly working to support your mission as well as help you fulfill the great commission. Because you expect a lot from your website, it’s important to make sure it’s not only performing it’s best, but also supporting you and your purpose well.
If you’re thinking about starting a website redesign project, here are 7 things to evaluate and consider before getting started.
7 Things to Evaluate Before Getting Started on your Church Website Redesign Project
1. When did you last update your website?
When it comes to updating your website, there really isn’t a magic number of years to wait before a redesign or refresh. Regular maintenance and security checks can help your website stay up-to-date with the right functionality and performance requirements for a longer amount of time. However, performance and security can degrade over time if you’re not doing regular maintenance. It’s important to know if there are any issues going on “under the hood” beyond just not liking the design before you get started.
2. What are your reasons for wanting a new website?
Your church website is a vital ministry tool which allows you to extend your reach beyond your community and engage audiences around the world. If it’s not reflecting the mission and vision of your church well or preventing you from serving your congregation or prospective attendees–it’s time for an update.
3. Make a list of how your current website is reflecting your mission and core values vs. how you wish it could be.
Having a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for as a church allows you and your team to define what you want to communicate in your messaging, who you want to reach, and how you want users to engage with your website.
Some sample questions for your team could include:
- What’s our mission statement, vision statement, and core values?
- What sets us apart from other churches like us or in our area?
- How easily can we find this information on our current website or in our messaging?
- Who are we reaching currently?
- Who would we like to reach in the future?
Understanding these items will help you structure your website to reflect the personality of your church and clearly communicate who you are with your users.
4. Make a list of what you love about your website vs. what you hate about your website.
You don’t have to have a love/hate relationship with your website. When your website is designed and developed well, it’s possible to love just about everything about it. Start drafting a list of what you love and hate about your current website, you’ll be surprised at how eye-opening this can be.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
- How would you describe the look and feel of your current website?
- Is your website navigation easy to understand?
- Can a new user easily find a Call to Action or CTA on every page to engage with you or your content (i.e. sign up for emails, contact you, sign up)?
- Does the design reflect your brand/personality?
- Is website management a headache?
- What is your website currently accomplishing?
- How is your website preventing you from accomplishing your goals?
5. What ChMS are you using and how do you envision it working with your website? Are there any external websites that need to be integrated with yours?
At the beginning of any development project, it’s important to know what integrations you’d like to incorporate in your website. This allows your development team to accurately plan and structure your website in a way that best suits your needs.
6. What is your timeline and budget?
The time it takes to complete a website development project can vary based on a number of factors including current production schedules, content development, integrations you want included, etc. Be sure to include when you’d like your project finished vs. when you need to have it completed.
You may be aiming for the moon and land among the stars so to speak if your wishlist is beyond what your budget allows, but make sure you define what your budget is with your development team. A good team will do their best to work with you and your budget to make sure you get what you need and some of what you want.
7. What are 3 goals you hope to accomplish by redesigning your website?
Outline three measurable goals for your website refresh or redesign project using these questions to get you started.
- What does your dream website look like?
- What would you like your website to accomplish?
- What functionality would you like to have?
Making the decision to redesign your website from the ground up or just do a refresh is a big decision but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Evaluating these 7 areas can help you clearly understand what you need and communicate it with your website development team.