Most congregations don’t have good websites, says Scott Swoboda, a seasoned website designer, consultant, and CEO of churchsites.com. Many are clumsy, lack important information, and are hopelessly out of date. But the biggest reason, Scott says, is a lack of continuity, from year to year, in keeping the site up and running in a consistent manner.
More than half of the people who will visit your church have totally checked you out on your website. Because this is such an important part of building a vibrant faith community, I called Scott, who’s been my church’s go-to web guy for years. In this interview you’ll see why.
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We’ve seen the future, and it’s digital. Your church’s website is your new front door, and most of them need a lot of polish. Scott’s advice can save your church hundreds of dollars and is well worth listening to.
Know What You Want
Websites serve two basic constituencies: members and non-members. So how much of your site should be devoted to satisfying each of these is an equation best worked out before calling the web designer. Plan before you build.
Your volunteer web maintainer will come and go, so it’s crucial for churches to choose a web partner who’s able to provide accessible training for the next person to be able to carry on without a hitch.
Content is King
Improving your visibility – or ranking on search engines like Google or Bing – is greatly improved when your site is routinely updated, your name and address info is in the footer, you link with others, and when you’re consistently posting new content. Nothing turns people off more than a static website with dated info.
About Scott Swoboda
Scott Swoboda is the President of Stratum Development, Inc., a website development company located in Wheaton, Illinois. Scott started Stratum in March of 2000 with a vision of providing Churches and non-profit organizations with a powerful, yet easy to use website content management system (CMS). Today, Stratum works with over 1,000 active clients and ministries through our branded design channels www.ChurchSites.com and www.NonProfitSites.com. Scott graduated from Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in 1989 with a B.S. in Cross-Cultural Studies and a Certificate in Biblical Studies. In the spring of 2002, Scott also completed a Master’s in Business Administration from National-Lewis University. He and his wife, Laura, currently live in Wheaton, IL, where they are active in their local Church and busy raising their 4 young children.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Church Post – If you are looking to improve your church’s communications you’ve got to check out this great email platform. I’ve found it easy-to-use, reliable, and John, Debra and Kim are great to work with.
Wistia – If you’re still hosting your videos at YouTube or another ‘free’ video sharing site you know the drawbacks. Wistia helps me put out great looking videos and see who’s watching for how long. The Wistia staff is easy to work with and very professional.
The Grow My Church Store – Everything from mugs to pens to fridge magnets, this is a promotional products store aimed at helping churches become closer communities, more hospitable, and welcoming. I started this store and shop there often because I couldn’t find anywhere else to go for these products.