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Church Website Maintenance: DIY or Developer?

church website design and maintenance
Written by Mark Steinbrueck

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Continuing our Church Website Design Tips and Tools theme, one of the biggest decisions an organization has to make when considering church website design is whether they will update and maintain their website themselves or have a website developer do that for them.

In this video I address that question, “Will I be able to maintain the website myself?”

Let’s talk about maintaining website yourself versus having a website developer company do it for you.

What are the pros and cons of maintaining a website yourself versus having a developer do it for you?

Maintaining the website yourself will take more of your time but it will typically save you money. That’s the advantage of maintaining it yourself. Advantage of updating the website yourself is that you can do it anytime that you want whereas if you have a developer maintain it for you often times there’s going to be some kind of a lead time it might be a few days, it might be a few hours sometimes it takes a week or more. Typically it’s going to be a lot quicker for you to be able to maintain the site yourself.

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But ask yourself if either you or someone else at your organization has the time and the desire to maintain the website internally. If you don’t or you don’t have that time, you don’t have the desire to maintain the website yourself most likely it won’t be done then. In those situations it is recommended that you consider having a website developer or company maintain the site for you simply then you have new content put on there on a regular basis.

We recommend that you try to do it yourself if possible but if you don’t have the time or you don’t have the desire to do it then often times it is better to have a company or an organization do it for you.

Something else to take in consideration when it comes to maintaining the site is:

Are you using a desktop-based platform or a web-based platform?

Simply put a Desktop-based Platform as software that is stored on your computer and web-based platform is something that is not stored on your computer you simply need to have access to the web to be able to log into them and back into the website to be able to maintain it.

There are limitations to going with the desktop-based software and simply put is you have to have it on every single computer that is going to be used in maintaining the website.

If you have three or four people on your web team that means that each of them has to have it on their computer to do it. If it is unavailable on the Smartphone or a tablet that means that they are not able to do it that way. If they have a desktop versus a notebook computer they’d have to have it on both of those units as well.

The preferred way or the recommended way is to go with a Web-based Platform like WordPress because that means that you can do it from anywhere in the world that you have internet access you can use a computer, a Smartphone or a tablet to be able to do that.  For more on this read What Is Best Platform for my Website?

Is training provided?

So whether you maintain the site yourself or not that’s a very big part of it. Are you going to know how to do that? Find out how to update the website. What kind of training is provided? Is it going to be done by video tutorials, are there phone trainings that are provided or are there reading tutorials that you have to go online and read to be able to gain the knowledge to maintain the website.

How easy is it to maintain yourself?

Some web platforms are very easy to use (like our WP-EZ church website builder) whereas others are more complicated. It is very important to research the platform that the developer will be using to make your site or that you will be using when you build your own site and find out what other people are saying about it. Find out if they are saying that it’s easy and if it’s complicated. It’s something that’s very important to know before getting into using a particular software platform.

Is there support if I need help maintaining the website?

When you do get stuck, can you get church website help when you need it? How is it provided? Is it provided by email, is it provided by filling online forms, is there a phone number that you can call? But all those questions are important to have answers to before selecting a choice of maintaining the site yourself or having a developer do it for you.

Bonus: Software Updates vs Content Updates

It’s also important to understand the difference between content updates and software updates, and who is going to provide each. Software updates are the regular updates that need to be done to the content management system, plugins and theme to keep them secure and up to date. If you use an online website builder to build your website, these updates are done by the website service provider.  If you build the website yourself or hire a developer to do your church website design, you will either need to do these updates yourself or have a developer do them for you like with our Full WordPress Service.

Content updates include things like adding events to the calendar, publishing sermons, and updating info about your ministry or business. Most organizations do content updates themselves, but some of our clients have a monthly content maintenance service and send us their sermons or content updates.

If you have any questions or would like to talk to someone at OurChurch.com please complete the consultation request form below and we will be more than happy to speak with you.

Comment and discuss… What questions do you have about website maintenance? Would prefer to maintain your website yourself or have a website service provider do it for you?

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    About the author

    Mark Steinbrueck

    Mark Steinbrueck is President and Co-founder of OurChurch.Com. He is a member of Generations Christian Church, a husband and father of 3. He is a huge Cardinals baseball fan and bleeds Garnet and Gold.