Tools & Resources

Church Website Maintenance: 25 Tasks You Can Outsource Today

What thoughts come to mind when you hear the phrase “church website maintenance”?

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Church website maintenance is time-consuming

If you’re a busy leader in a small church, you may be thinking something like, “I don’t have time to maintain the website.”

Yep, I get that!

And, with so many other demands heaped upon your shoulders, it can be easy to prioritize church website maintenance behind them all.

Easier still is considering it a “non-essential”, and putting it off altogether.

We see the evidence of that kind of thinking strewn all over the Web in the form of abandoned church websites.

Poor church websites do little to help meet the needs of the people who visit them.

Dying, dead, or poorly constructed church websites also fail to bring glory to a creative God (which is the ultimate goal of all that the believer does) (1 Corinthians 10:31). Oswald Chambers comments on this verse in His Utmost for His Highest,

Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God . . .Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did.

The shallow things of life are those things which lack depth, or that are considered “superficial”. When compared to spiritual things or the things of God, building and maintaining a church website is a “shallow” thing in our modern lives.

Yet, it is ordained by God.

Did Jesus make websites? No, but that’s not the point. What He did do is honor God in everything that He did.

Since a disciple is not above his teacher (Matthew 10:24), believers are called to do the same.

If you’ve invested time (and money) in building a website for your local church, and if you’re aiming to effectively use it to help you accomplish some or all of your ministry goals online, then investing time and money in church website maintenance is not an option.

Church website maintenance is vital

This is worth saying again: if you’re aiming to effectively use your church website to help you accomplish some or all of your ministry goals online, investing time and money in church website maintenance is not an option.

Keeping software, add-ons, and plugins updated, researching, implementing, and monitoring security features, and regularly writing, editing, formatting, proofreading, and publishing new content just scratches the surface of all that church website maintenance involves.

Yes, these things are necessary. And, yes, they are incredibly time-consuming.

But, the good news is these tasks and more can all be delegated and accomplished, with minimal expense, through outsourcing.

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Church website maintenance made easy

Now, you might be thinking, “Hmm, outsourcing? That’s not for churches.”

I can’t imagine why not! In fact, if you have a church website you’re probably already outsourcing church website tasks.

Do you pay a monthly fee for a third party hosting and technical support solution like FaithConnector or WP Engine (as opposed to hiring staff in-house to build and maintain your Web server)?

Guess what? You’re outsourcing.

Outsourcing is simply contracting out a business process to another party.

Many churches have already realized the benefits of outsourcing such administrative processes as payroll, bookkeeping, accounting, and legal services.

Leaving these tasks in the hands of experts is a no-brainer.

But, have you considered that trying to figure out how to design graphics, edit and produce videos, or design and build landing pages for church events is a HUGE waste of time if you don’t know what you’re doing?

Why not contract people who DO know what they’re doing?

They’ll get the job done right the first time, and you’ll be able to spend your time accomplishing the core ministry work the Lord’s entrusted to you.

25 church website maintenance tasks perfect for outsourcing

You’d be amazed at how many website maintenance tasks can be outsourced!

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are 25 website tasks you can outsource immediately to lighten your workload, as well as that of staff and/or volunteers:

  1. Designing banners, icons, and headers
  2. Designing landing pages for special events
  3. Editing and producing video
  4. Editing audio
  5. Updating content management software
  6. Installing, configuring, and updating add-ons, plugins, and themes
  7. Monitoring website security
  8. Customizing or “refreshing” themes
  9. Integrating your website with social media accounts
  10. Calendar management
  11. Updating website content
  12. Sitemap submissions
  13. Basic graphics editing
  14. Podcast setup
  15. Transcribing audio
  16. Online research
  17. Adding media to web pages
  18. Adding new web pages
  19. Writing, proofreading, and editing website content
  20. PDF conversion
  21. Forms creation
  22. Keyword research for church blog content
  23. Creating backlinks and linkbuilding
  24. Monitoring Google Analytics
  25. Troubleshooting and fixing website errors

The bottom line

No matter the size of your church or what church website solution you’re using, outsourcing is a low-cost option for getting the expert help you need to keep your website updated and properly maintained.

What would outsourcing church website maintenance tasks help you free up time to do?

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A Productivity Tip For Smart, Creative People

I really enjoy being a creative Web worker. But, sometimes, the work can be as tough as nails. On the one hand, I just love the creative process. It’s so much fun to dream and imagine and toy with the possibilities. All too often, though, when it comes time to actually get things done, I sometimes feel like I’m drowning in all those “creative juices.”

Do you ever feel like that?

Do you ever feel like you’re running a hundred miles an hour in place? You know you’re busy doing stuff, and maybe feeling a little overwhelmed by what still needs doing. All the while, it just doesn’t feel like you’re moving forward. Or, for the effort you feel you’re putting in, it doesn’t feel like you’re moving forward as fast as you should be.

I think of those running-in-place times as my personal bout with “creative hamster” syndrome. It’s uncomfortable. I try to pick something and stick with it until it’s finished, but it gets difficult. Focus becomes elusive. And, I start to feel anxious because I believe I’m being productive, but I just don’t feel like I’m being effective. And, being effective is what I’m really after.

The search for the “right” productivity tip

From time to time, I’ve thought that finding and using the “right” productivity tip or set of tools, tactics, and strategies could help me get focused, become more efficient, and therefore, be more productive. But, tactics and strategies seem to never be enough.

Lately I’ve felt a real, practical need for structure and accountability, to help me move forward in my business. So recently, I enrolled in a business coaching program. I must say, from day one, this program has been spot-on. It’s been incredibly valuable–a real blessing.

But, my business mentor is not Christian. So while I resonate with her advice and instruction in the practical aspects of my work, I know we don’t share the same worldview. That means that I still need a Gospel-centered supplement to guide and help me filter everything I’m learning through the truth of Scripture.

In the end, what matters most to me is that whatever I’m setting my hand to do, it’s the right work to do, the best work to do. I care most that I accomplish God’s plans for me, and complete work that keeps it’s value (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Through my prayers, I was led to discover Matt Perman’s new book, What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done.

A clear path to rethinking “productivity”

Matt’s book launched today. But, he was gracious to provide me a pre-launch copy last week, which I began devouring the very same day.

Matt’s book had me at John Piper’s Forward. It begins,

This book is simply extraordinary. This is largely because of the way God has wired Matt Perman. His mind is saturated with biblical truth, and he is passionate, sometimes to a fault (as you will see in his personal stories), about being effective for the glory of Christ.

The first night, I read through the Introduction and Chapter 1. I learned, for the first time, about Knowledge Work. It’s funny, here I was all this time doing this work, and had never once heard it called by its name. Chapter 1 discusses Knowledge Work, and answers such questions as:

  • What is Knowledge Work?
  • What Is Unique About Knowledge Work?
  • What Is Challenging About Knowledge Work?

Matt then goes on to discuss the villains of our work: ambiguity and overload. A core message of the chapter is that “we’re using industrial era tactics for knowledge era work.” We’re making that mistake at a great cost to our being productive.

Last night, I read to the end of Chapter 2, where Matt discusses why efficiency is not the answer to being truly productive.

I’ve just been stunned at how much What’s Best Next resonates with me. Mostly because this book doesn’t stop at merely presenting reasonable arguments for transforming ideas and perceptions about productivity. At the end of each Chapter, and later in Part 3 of the book, there’s guidance for immediately and practically applying the concepts discussed.

From the first chapter, I was over-the-moon to find that the very first application aligned with an action item from the business coaching program I’m working through. BINGO! What’s Best Next is just the Gospel-centered supplement I was looking for!

A FREE bonus

I’m really looking forward to continuing through this book. It’s already been instrumental in changing a few ideas and assumptions I had about what it means to be productive. I never expected that being able to actually define the work I do would have such a major impact on how I approach everything connected to it. And, it’s already begun to spill over into other areas of calling and my life’s work: wife and home manager, blogger, church ministry leader.

As I said before, What’s Best Next launched today on Amazon. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. This past Saturday, I quietly launched the Church Website Ideas newsletter. So, I want to celebrate this “double launching” by giving you a free sample of What’s Best Next, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Your free book sample includes:

  • Table of Contents
  • Forward
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1

Here’s to your productivity!

Image Credit: hang_in_there | Flickr cc

Tools & Resources

Stay Focused – 8 Apps That Will Keep You Focused

We live in a busy world. Endless amounts of data are being presented to us, and all of them are fighting for a small piece of our attention. If you are like me and spend a decent amount of time online, it’s easy to find yourself distracted by constant interruptions. Not only interruptions, but I am discovering that I am always wanting to do more “things”. These things might be hobbies, building a new web app, discovering something to do in the area, or just spending time with my wife.

I find myself looking back at a day, wondering where the heck did the time go? If I am honest with myself, I find that this time creep comes in when I am highly unfocused during my day. So how do we become more focused? How do we build habits that keep us focused on our jobs, our families, and our activities?


Being Creative Takes Focus

Creative people have a bad reputation. We have a perception that we are unorganized messes. The problem with this idea, is that being creative takes a lot of focus and concentration if you ever want to ship your creations.

Getting your creative art out in the world is hard work. It takes a huge amount of focus to dream, create, refine, and develop. The process can be long, tiring, frustrating. But for any creative person who knows the joy of shipping a complete work of art, it is all worth it.


Why Your Meetings Suck

I’ll be honest, I really hate meetings. I never really knew why I hated meetings until I read Re:Work from the fine folks at 37signals. Today I wanted to share with you a few reasons why meetings can kill creativity and hurt your productivity.

Meetings are about concepts, not real work.
Meetings are giant waste of time, energy, and resources. Meetings tend to be more about abstract concepts, rather than real things. When was the last time you had a meeting that that actually got real work done? Probably not in a long time.


The Art of Saying N

One of the most powerful words in the English language is my least favorite word: No. I am someone that likes to hear the word, yes, to me I feel a sense of pride if people see things my way, if they join my cause, or follow my design style. But as someone who works on a church website, saying no could save you hours of work, prevent feature creep, or keep your website from straying from the church vision.

Prevent Feature Creep
This is main reason I say no most often. It is important to have goals for your website and a plan on how to execute. Feature creep is when someone, usually in a staff meeting, suggests something they would like to see on the website. This could be anything, flash games for the children’s ministry page, a shopping cart for the bookstore, videos of sermons, anything really.

Tools & Resources

39 Apps to Organize Your Church and Life

A lot of companies have really embraced the Web 2.o movement and the church can make use of a lot of the applications available online. Today, your church staff needs to be very organized, as they are dealing with a lot of information: sermon notes, video, podcasts, meetings, counseling appointments, and planning events to name a few. I have listed 39 applications that you can use to organize your church and your life!