Your church website is a crucial component for both church engagement and outreach. It serves as a central hub for members and congregants to learn about your ministry. It is also the gateway to important information for visitors and community members who are considering whether your church will be their home.
When working on your church website design, you should first shop around to see which firm can best help you communicate your mission and engage visitors. There are some critical factors you’ll want to consider during this selection process. We’ve provided the seven most important questions you should ask a website design firm before hiring them to create your church website.
Here are seven essential questions to ask a design firm before you hire them for your next church website redo:
#1 – How many church websites have you designed?
You’ll want to ask to see examples of a design firm’s church website work so you can make sure you have someone who is familiar with the specific needs of churches. This is critical for a site that should convey your ministry’s mission. If they’ve not designed a site for a church of your size, can they provide other sites that have similar needs and show how the navigation will be similar? A church-focused website design firm will be able to help translate your ministry’s goals to a website design. For instance, if your most important goal is for your site to welcome visitors and provide information about services, the designer will know to create a New Here page with easy homepage navigation.
#2 – Can you meet my timeline and budget?
Having an in-depth understanding of their process will allow you to better understand the impact it will have on your team. If the timeline is extensive and requires significant time and resources from your team, it can cause a disruption to your daily operating. The proposal should also give you a good understanding of where they fall within your budget. Be wary of a firm that provides a flat rate early in the quote process. You want someone who gets to know you well enough to understand what you want then create a quote based on what work will need to be done to achieve your goals. Carefully examine the proposal to ensure that you can easily understand what could lead to additional charges during the web design process.
#3 – Will we be able to make updates once the design is complete?
Unless you have an extremely tech-savvy team member, you’ll need some assistance after the website goes live. Do you want to add a new page, update staff info, or create a new form? These types of changes may require either tutorials provided by the firm or some assistance with updates after the site design is complete. Ensure these details are worked out in the initial contractual phase. Otherwise, you may experience a lag in content updates or potentially high fees after project completion. This will help you decide if you need a firm that offers a long-term maintenance package or if you should hire a staff member to maintain the website in-house.
#4 – Will our website be custom or based off a template?
Many web design companies offer both custom and template-based design packages. This is where a good understanding of your budget will be crucial. If you want a fully customized website, it will come with a higher cost. Templates can sometimes feel a bit cookie-cutter but can be tailored to appear distinctive and are ideal for smaller budgets.
#5 – How do you enhance user experience?
This question ties back to whether they have experience working with churches. If so, they’ll have a better understanding of what church website visitors are seeking when on your site. You’ll also want to ensure they offer capabilities to make the website responsive for mobile devices. Statistically, 50% of people utilize their mobile devices for web usage and that number will likely continue to grow.
#6 – How often will we receive updates and proofs?
Understanding how often you’ll receive updates and how many times you may submit revisions is crucial. Many firms will begin charging after a certain number of edits, so you’ll want clarification on this. If your website has several components, ensure you have adequate revisions included in your package.
#7 – Will they set up integrations with your church software?
Chances are, you’re hoping to list the very same events that are on your church management software on your church website without duplicating much effort. Or maybe you use a giving software that will need to be added to the website. Be sure to ask if they’ll include setting up these integrations in the design process and if they charge extra. Firms that specialize in church website design will be familiar with the integrations you are looking for and be accustomed to setting them up.
You’ve asked. They’ve answered. Now, it’s time to decide.
The easiest way to achieve a successful website is to utilize a professional website design firm that specializes in church websites. Working with someone who understands the church can bring tremendous value to your project. Ensure that you understand the process that goes into your website build by asking the above questions, then make your choice based on the right fit for your ministry. A good church website design firm will ask you questions that make you clearly define your ministry’s goal and build a website strategy that helps you exceed them.
Set yourself up for a successful website launch by working with a partner whose primary focus is church website design. The experts at Ekklesia 360 help ministries create sites that actually do ministry online. Ekklesia 360 is built for churches and backed by a team that is dedicated to your ministry results. Additionally, they’ll be able to do what a local design firm cannot offer: thought-leadership and strategy based on their work on amazing church websites for inspirational ministries. Schedule a consultation with an Ekklesia 360 strategist and ask the seven essential questions above to discover how partnering with them can support your ministry.