Having a church website is the equivalent to having a digital front door–it’s often the first way that people interact with your church, often before they visit for the first time. There are so many amazing benefits to church websites, yet with all of these benefits comes a myriad of problems that each church faces.
Here, we aim to walk you through 10 of the common problems churches encounter when trying to do a good job with their church website and the corresponding solutions for each.
Here are the 10 most common church website problems and 10 simple solutions:
Problem #1: Outdated church website.
By far one of the most common issues for churches is having a continually out-of-date church website. This happens for many reasons, but mainly it’s due to only one person having access to the church website. So what happens when other people need to update it? What if the individual is on vacation or ends up leaving the church?
Solution: Find a church website builder that allows for shared logins or user profiles giving access to multiple people in various ministries and roles with the ability to update the site.
Problem #2: Outdated design, limited creativity, and a cumbersome layout.
Often when a site is built by a volunteer or hosted with a smaller company that doesn’t offer updated design options, you can get stuck with old, stale, outdated design options. Often these design lags make updating things a pain on the backend as well.
Solution: Look for a website company that offers dozens of church website themes that you can choose from, with lots of options and styles. Using a theme creates a very user-friendly experience that looks good. By sticking with a theme and simply replacing the placeholder content with your own, it makes building a website from the ground up much simpler.
Problem #3: Expensive set-up and maintenance.
Big or small, all churches have a budget to stick to and need to steward their money well. The cost of a custom church website can be very expensive and could deplete your entire budget.
Solution: There are tons of church website companies and builders out there that are not costly. Look for ones that have no setup fees or hidden costs. For those churches working on a smaller budget, find a company that allows for a monthly payment option instead of annual.
Problem #4: Difficult migration process.
Once you decide to move to a new church website company, you’ll want to migrate all your content over to the new site. You’ll want to ask the new company how they help with this process to make it minimally inconvenient for you and your church staff. Chances are you don’t have the time to do it yourself.
Solution: Sign up with a church website provider that offers a migration service, better yet go with one that offers it for free. They will move all of your content from your old, out of date website to a brand new one, saving you time and headache.
Problem #5: Hard to change or unable to change themes.
Sometimes changing your church website theme can mean downtime or lots of design hours. With WordPress and other open content management systems, you often need to hire a web designer to get the new theme installed correctly.
Solution: When you set up your site with a reputable church website company that offers multiple theme options, it’s easy to change themes to freshen your site.
Problem #6: Difficulty integrating audio sermons or podcasts.
Having your sermons online is huge. Your church members will love being able to go back and listen to your sermons or catch up on the week they weren’t there. But what if your current website doesn’t support this or just makes it too difficult?
Solution: Find a website provider that has a built-in sermon player and allows for easy upload and download for your church members. Plus, you’ll want to connect it for podcasting with iTunes and other services, so make sure this is all integrated into your website builder.
Problem #7: Hard to integrate or little support for online giving.
Believe it or not, some website providers don’t have a solution for online giving or allow easy integration. This is an incredibly important feature to have and one that should be considered carefully.
Solution: Go with a provider that already has online giving integration in place. Some church website providers also have their own online giving platform integrated into the church website software so that setup is extremely easy.
Problem #8: Bad or limited support.
We know that being in the ministry is tough. Going from meetings to weekday church services, preparing for weekend services, doing counseling and managing the business of your church can be taxing. When your church staff have problems and need solutions fast, the customer support can make all the difference. No one likes playing phone tag or waiting days for an email reply.
Solution: Using a company that offers daily phone support, email support, and chat support can make all the difference. Excellent customer service agents that are there to help with daily tasks, as well as setup, migration, and theme changes is something to prioritize.
Problem #9: Expensive mobile app fees or too basic of a church mobile app.
Getting a mobile app for your church can be a big expense. However, some companies out there claim to have a church app that comes with their website. While this may be true, some of these companies don’t have a full-fledged church app solution and merely provide a trimmed down version, or an app that people must download and then log into just to access information for your church. Some companies just offer a mobile version of the website and call it an “app.”
Solution: Find a website provider that comes with a free church app. Since so much content gets shared between a church’s website and mobile app, it’s nice to find a provider that has the app builder integrated with your website, so that it makes it very easy to update, manage and build your app. That way when you update your website, your app is updated as well. There are only a few companies out there that have a truly free church app with no hidden costs, developer fees or monthly fees. Be sure to research the full cost of an app for your church and pick the best provider for your needs.
Problem #10: Difficult website editor that isn’t user-friendly.
Most website editors and builders can have a very steep learning curve and require some knowledge of HTML or CSS to have a good looking website. This can be a challenge as many volunteers or church staff may not be this tech-savvy.
Solution: Go with a church website builder that has a 100% drag and drop WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, creating a fun, user-friendly experience. This will make it easy for anyone to be able to learn and is extremely user-friendly.
These are just 10 of the most common church website problems. Thankfully, by doing some research and picking the right church website builder for you and your needs, you can avoid all of these problems and be set up for success.