What We Can Learn from Cars

Websites and cars have more in common that you might think. Characteristics that apply to selecting and using a car can be used for websites. A car is a necessity in modern society. Similarly, a website is often required for your church to have a presence in the digital world. Here are some tips to help your website perform at its peak levels.

Buying Options

When it comes to using a car, you have many options. You can buy a new car, a used car, lease, or even rent. How invested do you need to be with your website? Do you need to run your own server? Can you use a content management service? Or do you outsource it completely with an outside agency? There are many options, but which one is right for your church? It comes down to a balance of budget and time. It is cheaper to run things yourself, but it takes more time. The converse is true. A third party can manage every aspect of your website, but the price will be higher.

Right type

You would not want to use a small compact car to move furniture. Likewise, a vehicle that consumes a lot of fuel may not be the best commuter vehicle. The same applies to your website. Many features may appear attractive on the surface. But if your ministries will not use them, they add no benefits. Worse yet, they can be confusing to potential visitors. If you cannot keep up with a monthly newsletter, you should not try live streaming your services. Commit to a feature set that makes sense for your skills and team size.

Maintenance

One commonality that should be obvious is maintaining your car and website. Something simple like oil changes and tire pressure may seem rudimentary. Yet without them, your car’s performance will decline. The same is of course with your website. This could be regularly updating your site’s content. It could also be patching software. Platforms like WordPress need regular security updates. It is even a bigger deal if you maintain your own web servers.

Inspections

Many states in the US need yearly vehicle inspections. While they are not foolproof, they often catch many things you might miss. This includes the health of your tires, brakes, and various filters. You can do the same with your website. Many companies offer services to watch your site for security breaches. I use the WordFence plugin for WordPress. It alerts me to out of date software, and hacking attempts. They even offer clean-up services for compromised sites. See what products your church could use.

Insurance

Driving without car insurance in the US is against the law. It is a measure you take against having accidents. While you cannot prevent all accidents, recovering from one is important. This is why regular website backups are essential to any church. Most content management systems allow you to export your site’s content. Saving copies of your site will save you in case all your other precautions fail. I once had a church website I ran hacked. But the clean-up process was easy since I had an offline backup of every file. So get that insurance policy for your site.

Action Item

Pick the right options that your church needs for its website. Keep in mind the time your team will have, as well as their technical skill set. Balance that with the budget you can spend for your digital ministries. Then once you get a system in place, remember to maintain and inspect it. Also, keep up to date with your insurance policies and backup your files. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy your creation. A beautiful car is a pleasure to drive in. Take pride in the website that you are developing for God’s kingdom. Browse it, check it, and watch it perform!

Photo courtesy of Kenn Kiser

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.

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