Today I went to Wallacewell Community Fellowship to train volunteers in using the their website. Like many churches they have a website and now they want to do more. Often we provide this type of support by using remote software to login and show how to work the site. In this case we were actually able to attend site and show them in person. Of course for me it was great to meet in person and hear about the day to day life of the church.
As I came away from the church it reminded me of a problem that we often come across in Churches and Christian organisations. They are often run and staffed by volunteers. This is great because it shows a huge commitment by people to make the church and it’s work in the community successful. However it can mean that there is a bit of turnover in who is running the website. For some churches this turns into a bit of a problem. They don’t know who has the passwords and they can’t remember how to operate the site. Things go from bad to worse and the website falls into disrepair.
And that’s the point I was thinking about. It’s no good just getting a site builder site where you’re on your own. Big companies work by volume. They need thousands of sites to make a profit and so they don’t have time to help or train. Sure they’ll point you at documents or videos but in practise what you want is someone you can talk to who’ll help you sort things out. So this reminded me why we’re different and why it’s worth the effort to be different. We believe that you should have a fall back system. Someone you can go to to get things sorted out even when no one else seems able to help! That’s why we provide training to allow you flexibility and to remove the worry about the site.
So next time you’re thinking of a website why not have a think about what you’ll do when the person running it leaves – will you be able to cope? If not then make sure that you ask whoever is going to host your site if they can help. If all they offer is documents and a few videos you should think hard about whether that’s enough. My experience is that generally it’s not. You need someone to phone, who’ll be happy to help regardless of the problem. So if you’re having trouble getting you’re PC to work or your email so you can work on the website they need to be able to help with that too.
Hopefully some food for thought!