Let's Get Practical

#97: The Truth about Hiring Someone to Build Your Church's Website

March 11, 2019
Let's Get Practical
#97: The Truth about Hiring Someone to Build Your Church's Website
Chapters
Let's Get Practical
#97: The Truth about Hiring Someone to Build Your Church's Website
Mar 11, 2019
darrel@darrelg.com (Darrel Girardier)
In this episode, I'm going to walk you through what you need to think through before you hire someone to build your church's website.
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I'm going to walk you through what you need to think through before you hire someone to build your church's website.

Speaker 1:
0:00
Hey everyone, this is, let's get practical. Daryl Gerardi a and today we're talking about the truth about hiring someone to build your church's website. Let's do this
Speaker 2:
0:12
[inaudible]
Speaker 1:
0:12
well to let's get practical, this podcast about church communications. From a practical standpoint, it's about what works and what doesn't and it's about helping you cut through all the clutter and noise and straight to the point. And today we're going straight to the point about the truth of hiring somebody to build your church. A website. Yes, building a website is not an easy task. And today I'm going to walk you through some of the things that I've learned along the way. And I guess the truth about when you're building a website, when you're bringing somebody in to build it, what do you need to look for and what do you need to think through when you're doing that? And I say bringing someone in, it can be a company individual, or you could be building yourself. So let me give you a little history on our church's website.
Speaker 1:
0:51
When I first came on staff, our church website was actually built by an agency. A company had built it for them before I was even on staff. I think they built like five years before I came on staff. And that website that they built was a fine website. The problem was when I came on, staff was mobile for us was we're at about 50% of the people who came to our website. We're coming via a mobile device and the website wasn't mobile friendly. So that was problem one. Problem two was it was a custom, the thing was custom from the ground up, even the back end, if you will. So what I logged into, put content in and was a custom build, so I really couldn't modify anything and couldn't add anything to it. It was completely a all in one box solution that they created for us.
Speaker 1:
1:31
So I felt kind of trapped for what I could do and what I could dream going forward. So we kind of knew this wasn't going to be the option for us longterm. So what we did was at that time I had a web developer on staff, a guy named Josh Jenkins. And Josh decided, and I decided together, we're going to just rebuild the thing from the ground up, we're going to do it ourselves. So we did all the heavy lifting ourselves. We got a host provider, we found a backend that would work for us. We installed expression engine at that time. That was the best option for what our needs were. And we built the whole thing up, ground up in house. We brought Katie all right on board at that time and she helped us move all the content over to the new website. And then I think I did hire someone from the outside to kind of help us a little bit of the design stuff, but for the most part we completely rebuilt this thing from the ground up.
Speaker 1:
2:18
So that was version two of the website, if you will. Now we're getting ready to go to version three and we've just started production on that about 90 days ago. And we've started the preliminary work on that and that, uh, should be launching this summer. And for that we've decided to bring in an outside individual to build it for us. Uh, actually it technically it's a company but it's just when it was this one individual who is Josh Jenkins who used to work for me, who left and now he's coming back to build that. So that's where we're currently out on our website. So let me walk you through kind of some of the options that you have as an individual. You've heard of what we're doing. I want to walk you through some way that basically three categories, if you will, three avenues that you have to go down when you're building a church website.
Speaker 1:
3:00
And some of the things you need to think through about doing that. So here they are, category one. Category One is you buy some hosting somewhere on some sort of platform and you install wordpress on there and then you pick a theme. Uh, I say wordpress because it's probably the most popular option. The other option is, is within that category one is you pick Squarespace. You pick nucleus, you pick some other popular all in one solution platform by which you basically, for the most part, you're running things, you're the one inputting the content. You're may be an applying a theme to it. You're doing the design work, you're kind of doing a lot of the heavy lifting yourself. So that's kind of option one option or category two if you will, is that you hire company, you hire an agency to come in, they give you a quote and they build out a website for you with their company, their designers and engineers.
Speaker 1:
3:55
You typically find companies that specialize in church website build outs. So these are people who in typically they work with large scale churches, but even smaller trips about manner, they've got probably a package for you. It, you know, for x amount of dollars, we'll do everything for you hosting. All that's included in this package price. So that's category two and category three is you hire an individual, you find me a volunteer in the church and you say, Hey, you gonna make this happen. They give you a quote. Maybe they volunteer, they do it pro bono, I'm not sure. Or you know, you've got a, you've got some really great individual designers out there who can build websites from the ground up all by themselves, which is pretty awesome if you can find it for somebody who can do that. So there's a kind of the three categories.
Speaker 1:
4:35
So let me walk you through the pros and cons of each category. Category One, if you buy a host and you decide, you know what, I'm going to throw wordpress on there. I'm going to go Squarespace. I'm going to go nucleus. That's, that's option category one, if you will. Okay. If you do that, here's some things you need to think through. One, you need some level of technical expertise to be able to pull this off. Um, even with the super easy solutions like a Squarespace, you need to have a little bit of technical knowledge on some stuff because here's the deal. At some point, if you're the single point person and it breaks, you're the person who's most likely to get to be in charge of having to get it fixed. Or finding somebody who's going to get it fixed or contacting customer service to get it fixed.
Speaker 1:
5:14
So it's all going to really kind of really rest on you, especially if you go with a hosted wordpress solution. So keep that in mind that if you do that, if something breaks, you've got to fix it. Also, keep in mind that in order to build this thing, you're going to have a lot of heavy lifting yourself, inputting the content, making sure it's correct. Um, picking up the theme, picking out the colors, moving stuff around on the website. That is going to be a lot of heavy lifting. That's going to fall on you. So you need to keep that in mind. So this is, it's also the cheapest option because it's going to cost you probably no startup costs whatsoever. It's going to cost you anywhere between, I'm going to ballpark between 16 to 50 bucks a month, depending on what you choose as terms of a host and you can turn around and create what you need on there and turn around it.
Speaker 1:
6:01
It's going to be cheap. Uh, it's, but it's cheap for a reason because you're going to do a lot of the maintenance on it. Out of those options. I will tell you if you're doing a category when I personally like Squarespace right now, that to me is my favorite because they're customer service I've dealt with is really, really good. It's not super expensive. I think it's around 16 bucks a month now I think is what it runs. If you'd do the monthly package and it gets a little cheaper, like as like 12 bucks, maybe if you buy it for a year, I think it's a really good solution. I think it works really well. Uh, I've really like Squarespace and I think you do a lot of great things and their stuff looks really good. You will have to do some heavy lifting on your end in terms of, uh, the branding, the, and the design of it because you don't want to look generic, but I think is the best if you're going to go down to category one road category to you hire out a company to do this.
Speaker 1:
6:48
This is moderately expensive depending on the size of your church and the scope of the work you want to have done. So typically these agencies have like maybe a buildout fee and then a monthly fee for hosting. So you're going to have some probably some up front costs and then you have monthly cost. Sometimes it's all rolled into one. You have to sign like a two or three year contract and you're going to pay say a hundred bucks a month, whatever that is for the agency to kind of build this out. So the advantage of that is is typically they're going to be your tech support. They're going to pull all that together for you. They'll probably, they'll probably give you so good, hopefully get customer support in terms of the actual build out of the website. Initially they're going to probably hopefully have a meeting with you, which they here we buy to what your needs are, they want to learn about your church and then they'll turn around and say, great, here's some of our options.
Speaker 1:
7:34
If we think we'll start our done solutions that we think will work best for you. And they'll even have engineered designers, kind of build out the website for you based on a whole bunch of different options. They've already got ready to go. Now the, the thing about this is you gotta keep in mind that when you go this route, you're going to have a little bit of less of a choices in terms of avenues by which you can be creative or you can change things up because a lot of these companies have a lot of prebuilt solutions based off of experience of working with other churches. So other, you know, if 90% of the churches they work with want this thing, I say a church calendar, they'd probably have a prebuilt counter solution that fits 80 to 90% of the audience. The problem is you may be the 10% who don't need a church calendar the way they've got it set up.
Speaker 1:
8:16
You needed a certain way and there's going to tell you, I'm sorry, that's the way it's built. We really can't make that customization for you, so you gotta be able to be able to understand that. You're going to give up a little bit in terms of customization if you go that route. So keep that in mind. And so the upside is is that they've got formalized process, they probably worked with a lot of churches, they've got some key insights on how churches work best. The problem is is that you're going to have to realize that you're, that that may mean you have to give up some customization on your end. So if you go this route, by the way, one of the things I think you should do is you probably need to basically just go to the website, find their client list or ask for our client list and start calling churches who have used this company and figure out, okay, what do you think of it?
Speaker 1:
9:01
What's the customer service like? What's the pricing like? You know, kind of really kind of knows in and then see if you can get any red flags from anybody who says, I wouldn't work with them. Again, you kind of want to do that. You wanna do your research if you go that option. All right? Category three is you hire individual. Now if you have an individual, there's the terms of the cost can vary via somebody who's just straight out of college. They're our rookie, if you will. It may be dirt cheap. They may charge you like pennies to do this. Um, if they're volunteer, they may charge you, they may do it pro bono, uh, or they may be really expensive because are really good at what they do. And there are one, one person shops, so therefore they've got charged a lot. The pricing on this can really vary based on the quality in years of experience.
Speaker 1:
9:43
So when you hire an individual, you need to kind of keep that in mind that the pricing is going to vary depending on their skill set and so forth. So just always keep that in the back of your mind. I like, one of the reasons I like individuals is, is that individuals, a lot of times we'll actually be the best in terms of the customer experience. And I mean that the sense of the fact they're going to listen to you, they're going to figure out what do you need, what do you don't need? There'll be able to design custom solutions specifically if they're an expert, they're an expert at what they do and they can really kind of really build a really great custom solution for you. You're going to pay for it, um, but they're going to really give you the individual attention that you need.
Speaker 1:
10:20
And that's really, really important to specifically if you've got some really unique custom requirements. The other thing is you'll get custom designs. You'll get a lot of individualized attention and a lot of individualized work for that. So I always liked that because again, I'm going to get individual attention for what I need and that's why I'm going with Josh Jenkins again, to come back and build it because I know Josh is going to sit down and Josh is really going to think through our website and think through our needs. Josh is also going to think through us if we don't, you know, if we change something up again in the future, how do we make sure that we don't get stuck in a platform? You know, if I, all of a sudden we do everything inside of wordpress, are we going to be able to get our wordpress stuff out and, and get it into a separate platform?
Speaker 1:
10:58
He's going to think of those things for me as well. So that's why I like bringing individuals. So your options are, you can use wordpress, Squarespace, you can go nucleus and go those routes and those are great routes. Again, that's option category one if you will. And that's a great route. It's the cheapest route. Um, just remember the lot of the technical is gonna fall on you. Option two is a category two. You can hire a company and that company, uh, can we be great because they've worked with churches all the time, so good for them. And so the reality isn't that maybe a little more expensive because you are buying into a system. Um, and, and they may have some upfront costs and they may have some monthly cost that you're going to have to incur. But the good news is they're going to handle the technical issues for you, hopefully have good customer service.
Speaker 1:
11:42
And then option three is you can hire individual, uh, specifically I suggest if you hire an digital, some of that you know, or you've built a relationship with now somebody just found on the Internet. So the better you can do that relationship side of things, guess what the better chance you are that you're going to put somebody who's really going to listen to your ministry, listen to your church, and really built something out that will actually best serve the church. So there's the three options. I've, we've done all three of my church. Um, we're going with option category three, if you will. We're hiring an individual at this time, but I have done it where we have, you know, we've done wordpress. You actually, we're going to do where press, I've done it where we've hired a company and we've done an individual. So that's the route we're going. So there you go. They should listen to this podcast. If you liked this podcast, leave us a rating on iTunes or you subscribe as well in your favorite podcasting app. We would greatly appreciate that. Until next week, you guys take care. And I'll talk to you soon. Thanks. Bye.