[This is part 4 of the “Relaunching Your Church Website” series, click here to view all posts]
3.. 2.. 1.. Launch!
It’s done, your site is now online for the whole world to see and use. Now its time to sit back grab a cold drink and wait for everyone to behold the beauty of what you built. It is a museum after all. Wait no it’s not, your site should be treated more like a plant then painting. Paintings are created and then looked at every once in a while but their use diminishes over time. Your web presence should be growing, breathing and moving. It should have more use a year from now than it did the first day it launches, if it doesn’t you missed your goal. Because even with the best content strategy, you can still slip into an inactive state if you aren’t purposeful with your site.
How to Keep a Site Alive
One major trap people run into with a website is who should update and maintain the site. Most have had the thought “Everyone will update their information to keep the site updated”. WRONG. If everyone is in change no one is in charge.
Who Owns It?
You need to define who cares the most and is going to pay the most attention to your site. Most likely this is you, but often this could be an administrative assistant. No matter who it is they need to have this question on there mind when you do anything: “What role does the website play in this?” With that question in mind you can’t leave your website behind or let it collect dust.
How To Contribute
One piece that I didn’t mention in the last article about choosing a CMS, has to do with permissions. Most CMS have the ability to limit what users can update. This way you can give access to your entire team, but the areas you don’t want someone to touch will be left alone.
Make a Schedule
Many times the person who owns your website and is making sure it stays update has another role or roles on your team. So 1 would encourage you to set up a few schedules. Trimester 3 Times a Year update your static informational pages, make changes the images and update text, I would schedule these for:
- 1 month prior to fall launch
- after the new year
- 1 month prior to summer.
Weekly Double check your calendar and bulletin to make sure you have answered the question: “What role does the website play in this?” I would do this on Fridays, or your last work day of the week.
The last thing to do after you launch is to get feedback and stats on how the site is actually being used and what is missing and plan out when you want to fix it. Remember your site is organic and growing, most of the time you maintain but every so often you will hit a growth spurt and add something new, are you planning ahead to make it possible or are you letting ti sneak up on you?