Many times the church website is only as good as the people making it. Even if you are stuck being the "web person" because nobody else wanted the job; I implore you to find time to sharpen your skills. Over the years I have found a multitude of education sources that will not only make you a better web professional, but will push you to create a higher quality website for your church.
Even if you are not a web professional by trade, if you are working on church websites, you should attempt to develop your skill set. Below I will outline some ways to better yourself, as well as pros, cons, and my humble verdict on how to utilize it:
While a college education increases the likelihood of getting a job as well as the salary you can expect to pull in; they are often behind the curve when it comes to the web.
- Pro: Higher education degrees are widely recognized and often required for jobs. Adds a wealth of other benefits besides learning how to make good websites.
- Con: The largest time and money investment of all the options by far. Additionally, the lag behind the latest trends is also the largest in academia.
- Verdict: Unless it is part of an overall goal; I would suggest you move on to other methods.
There are many series of books out there that teach topics related to the web. Design, development, strategy, user experience, usability testing, and many more are covered.
- Pro: This knowledge is obtained for a fraction of what college costs. They are often very relevant to the latest trends, and certain book publishers can
- Con: Unless you are capable of teaching yourself, books may not be a good fit; especially for more complex topics of website creation. Also you still need a decent amount of time to read and understand these books.
- Verdict: If you can read, understand, and learn sometimes technical information from books, this is the way to go.
Many web professionals (myself included obviously) feel the need to share their thoughts with the rest of the world, for free. The trouble is finding a few you enjoy, the time to read them
- Pro: Free information that is typically very relevant and up to date
- Con: Not an accredited source, as anyone can post information, true or false. Again, you need to have a knack for teaching yourself, but if comments are allowed on the blog, you may be able to pose questions to the author.
- Verdict: Find a reputable source and stick with them as long as they put out good content. But do not consider yourself an expert just because you read a few "how to" articles".
Another channel of distributing self-made content, this time in audio or video format. Yet again, not extremely reputable, but free and even easier to consume
- Pro: Free information, relevant, and extremely easy to consume while multi-tasking (commuting, exercising, etc. while listening)
- Con: Again, not an accredited source, and is not something you would use to base your entire website strategy upon.
- Verdict: Consider as a great supplement to your growing expertise in website creation and maintenance.
It should be obvious that I want you to dig into at least one of education sources. You are obviously reading a blog now, but there are others out there that while may not be targeting churches, can certainly help you craft better calls to action, conversion funnels, writing guidelines, and branding advice. Invest some time and effort in your skills and ultimately help further the Kingdom of God with a better website for your church.
Image courtesy of Alfonso Diaz