When To Launch Your Church Website Update

boy riding bicycle off a jump

Are you updating your church website? Most likely unless you just completed a major release, you are probably in the middle of some sort of update. The more important question is has your release date slowly crept backward as you find more things to change? Scope creep is dangerous as hard work you already accomplished is sitting idle. In this article I will explore when it is acceptable to launch website updates.

From updating an image to an entire redesign, something on your site is probably changing. At the very least, various parts of your site are being considered for change. Why not release that update? You may have several reasons for not launching, but they are often just excuses. The biggest advantage of websites are that they can be updated and added to easily. So perfection is not required to publish.

The key indicator for when you should launch an update to your church website is actually very simple: when the new site, page, or feature is better than the current one. Here are several obstacles you might encounter as well as some potential solutions.

Missing content

Are you redesigning your staff page but are missing a biography or two? It is perfectly acceptable to publish the site and make those updates at a later time. I would suggest simply putting whatever information you have and leave their biography as “pending” or something similar that. If the majority of your staff is missing the biographies, omit them altogether and launch; saving those for a later update.

Missing elements

Did your graphic designer leave for another church and leave you without anyone that can even spell Photoshop? You might be worried that your donation page is still missing a shiny new button to grab your users’ attention. Instead of fancy buttons, have your developer use CSS to style the button. A contrasting color, large bold text, and a margin of white space around it can be used for the time being. It may not have reflections, drop shadows, or any other kind of impressive visual treatment, but it should not hold up the entire page from launching.

Missing functionality

Is your developer too busy to finish that new JavaScript date selector widget on your sign-up form? You can sometimes accept the risk that you will get varying date formats and leave your form as a plain text input field. It may not be launching an impressive or interesting form, and your staff may have to discern date formats; but at least you are allowing members to sign up for an upcoming church picnic.

I do not want to trivialize website updates and give the impression that they can be launched without any care or consideration. There are often legitimate problems that prevent a page or site from launching. Some of them can be quite large and complex, as I encountered many when I was a web project manager!

Action Item

What is holding your website update from launching? Is it a major setback or something that only seems like a big problem. Take a step back and see if it is better than what currently exists. If so, publish it. Having something that truthfully answers some of your visitor’s questions is better than having something that tells none of the story.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Balch

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.