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How to Decide Your Website Needs

How to Decide Your Website Needs
Written by Mark Steinbrueck

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Continuing our Church Website Design Tips and Tools theme, one of the things you need to determine before you can build a new website is what functionality and content the website will have.

Ask your web team:

1) What is the purpose of the website?

For those of you who don’t know what a web team is, a web team is a group of individuals that are responsible for the content and the decision making of the website. So it’s important to ask the question:

  • Why do we have the website?
  • What’s the purpose?
  • Are you trying to get people to visit your church or your school?
  • Are you trying to get people to buy something from your business?
  • Are you trying to get people to request more information or to set up an appointment?

But it’s very important to make sure that you ask the question and figure out what is the purpose for the website. Secondly, think about;

What the immediate needs and wants are, as well as the long term needs and wants are for your website.

Make a list of what you want the website to do for you:

  • Audio
  • video
  • e-newsletters
  • blogging
  • event registration
  • shopping cart, etc.

Ask those questions of what you want it to do immediately and what you want it to do down the line. And what you need it to do versus what are simply wants.

Create four columns and in one column, create immediate needs.In the second column, create immediate wants. In the third column, create long term needs. And in the fourth column, create long term wants. And this will give you the visual and understanding of exactly what things you want the website to do for you.

2) Don’t create too much work for yourself.

So many times, I talk to people and they really don’t like the idea of getting into a new website because they just don’t want to add something else to their list of things to do. And I completely understand.

3) Find ways for the website to work for you.

In other words…

If you’re going to put time into your website, add content and features that will save you time. -Mark Steinbrueck

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So, for example, if you have bulletins or newsletters or mailers that you currently send out, find a way for the website to do that for you. Send out e-newsletters instead of sending out bulletins and mailers. It’ll save you on time for what you’re currently doing. It will also save you on the cost of postage and printing.

Registration forms. A lot of organizations still use the good, old paper forms. But if you use the on-line forms, those forms can be created very easily. You don’t have to print them out and hand them out to people within your organization. And it also is a good way, when people fill out those forms on-line, it’ll automatically categorize and put it in a format that’s easy to go through and digest the information.

Member, student or staff directories. A lot of organizations are using on-line directories instead of printing out paper directories. It’s going to save you on printing costs. It’ll save you on the cost of putting them together for print. And you can keep it on-line and easily maintain it as people leave and join your organization.

4) Decide who’s going to be responsible for maintaining the website.

So, the needs for the website are not just what the website will do and how it will function, but who will maintain the website and how often will it be done. And how much time will be put into it. Set the expectations up front.

The reason that people get frustrated with things in life is simply because their expectations are not met. So make sure that everyone that’s involved in the website understands and agrees for what the website’s expectations will be for maintaining and updating the website.

I hope that you found this article to be informative and help you in your process in developing a website for your organization.

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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.