Church website maintenance is just as crucial as any other part of your site. Think of it as regular oil changes to keep your car running smoothly.
Glitches and problems with your church’s site could turn visitors away. You could also ruin the reputation of your church if visitors get a virus or their private information is stolen.
Luckily, regular maintenance isn’t difficult once you get the hang of it. The biggest challenge is just getting started.
1. Divide And Conquer
The first step is to divide and conquer. It’s almost impossible for a single person to do it all. With content updates, blog posts, bug fixes, security flaws and more, you need several members working on-site maintenance.
Ask for volunteers who may have a background in website development or IT support. Having these types of backgrounds makes it easier for them to spot potential issues. However, anyone is capable of performing regular tasks, such as installing updates and ensuring your site’s backed up. Just work together to learn what to do and how to do it.
2. Create A Schedule
The next step is to create a set church website maintenance schedule. For instance, you don’t want to back up your church’s site today and then wait until you’ve uploaded a dozen blog posts over the course of a month to back it up again. You want to back the site up at least once a week or before/after any major change.
Make a list of website maintenance tasks, such as updating, backups and scanning for potential issues. Once you have a list, decide how often to do each. For instance, backups should occur daily or weekly while site audits to look for broken links and other issues might only be necessary once or twice a year.
3. Choose The Right Host
The right web host makes your church website maintenance much easier. For instance, a managed hosting provider helps take care of certain tasks, such as backups and security. They may also implement platform updates to help further secure your site.
Your web host also helps boost your page loading speed and reduces downtime. The wrong host could serve your church with a slew of issues you have no control over. Carefully research your host to ensure they’re right for your needs.
4. Ask For Feedback
Why not let your site’s visitors help you out? After all, they’re the ones who are actually using your church’s site. Provide a feedback form and ask visitors to report issues and make suggestions. For instance, you might not realize a blog post leads to a 404 error. Or, maybe visitors think your call-to-action, such as asking for volunteers or donations for a community food drive, is difficult to see where it’s currently at.
By asking for feedback, you get valuable insight into what might be going wrong with your site. Then, you’re able to improve your church’s site for optimal performance.
5. Outsource Church Website Maintenance
If your church has the budget for it, outsource your church website maintenance. Numerous companies offer dedicated maintenance and support to ensure all you have to focus on is adding new content. Some companies even offer discounts to non-profits.
6. Update/Upgrade Regularly
Regular updates and upgrades are two of the most important website maintenance tasks. If you don’t do anything else, ensure you take care of both of these regularly. For instance, when a new security update or core platform upgrade is available for WordPress, install it. Just make sure your theme and plug-ins are compatible. Also, keep your theme(s) and plug-ins updated.
Sadly, the majority of major WordPress hacks come from outdated platforms, themes and plug-ins. Make these a priority and you’ll find maintenance is much easier, especially when you don’t have to recover from a hack.
7. Use Google Tools
Finally, take advantage of free Google tools. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics help you uncover problems with your church’s site before they become major issues. For instance, uncover indexing errors that are preventing your pages from showing up in Google. With Google Analytics, you can uncover potential page loading issues by noticing much higher bounce rates on specific pages.
Could your church’s website use some performance tweaks or just a fresh new design? Contact our team today to see how our website services can help.