For many organizations, maintaining a website is hard work. It takes a conscious effort to be a disciplined webmaster when you are thinking in the back of your mind, "is anyone really reading this?" Meanwhile, those looking for the services your organization offers are desperately searching the web trying to find you. When they do, they WILL read what you've written, listen to what you've broadcasted, and browse through the photos you've published.
Sadly, most website visitors find little to hold on to. All too often, websites remain outdated and empty, even with simple management tools like our CMS. Your website visitors come and go without ever understanding that they encountered something truly great simply because the story was never finished and the picture was left incomplete.
So, what can you do today to grow your website and develop consistency in its maintenance? Here are three steps you can take right now to dramatically improve your website efforts.
Step #1: Make Your Website Important
When people within your organization tell you that they have not visited your church, ministry, or business website in a long time, it's a consequence of not making your website more critical to your daily operations. Find ways to use your website as a reference for everything from event details to organizational progress. Publish pages on your website for members, staff, and leaders. Instead of sending huge attachments by e-mail, store the files on your website and encourage people to go there to download them. Publish your weekly sermon notes, press releases, and company announcements. There are many ways to make your website more critical, which will integrate the maintenance of it more tightly into your operations.
Step #2: Make Your Homepage a Magazine Cover
Instead of creating a welcome message on your homepage that stays there for a year without changing, see your homepage as your opportunity to publish the latest, greatest, and newest information about your ministry or business. Every month is an opportunity to say or push something new. Plan out what areas of the page can be updated on a regular basis, and use those areas to publish teasers to other pages. Even if nothing else changes on your website, your homepage can serve as a place to direct your regular visitors to information they may have skipped.
Step #3: Establish a Publishing Schedule
The best tip we can give is to put everything on a schedule. How often should the calendar be updated? Should Monday be the day to publish the sermon notes from Sunday? Should you send out an e-mail newsletter every month or every two weeks? If so, when should the article for the e-mail newsletter be written and edited by? Putting every piece of the website on its own timeline will help to keep you moving. Once you have a schedule, integrate it into your operational schedule and execute on it. If your website visitors see consistency, they will begin visiting the website with the same consistency.