This worry-free website checklist makes life easier

by | Sep 5, 2019 | Website

As your digital communications hub, your church website serves potential visitors, and your congregation, by providing the information they seek. To keep this humming, here’s a website checklist of what should be done weekly, monthly, and at least twice a year. Making time for these things saves you stress in the long run and helps keep your site inviting, relevant, and helpful.

Weekly, look at function and content

Block off an hour each week to tackle these tasks in order to keep your site updated, relevant, and running smoothly. This mini website checklist allows you to get in a good groove and keep small updates under control.

  • Update plugins and themes
    Updates serve two purposes. One, it keeps your WordPress site running smoothly. Forms work, sermons play, etc. Two, it keeps your site secure. When these go outdated, it leaves your site vulnerable to attacks. 
  • Remove old event info
    Few things stand out more or will leave your site feeling more neglected than information about an event that happened weeks (or months) ago
  • Update/remove old content (ministries, names, etc.)
    As programs and leaders change, make a note to update the information to reflect what’s going on. If new photos or graphics are needed, make arrangements to get those as well.
  • Upload new information
    The content types and focus will vary from church to church and how you use your site. Whether it’s a weekly video, encouragement, or an upcoming event, having new content on your website will keep people coming back for more information as you train them that THIS is the place to go for all the helpful info.

Monthly, look at SEO and audience analytics 

One a month, spend a bit more time looking at the performance of your church’s website. For a site to be found, you’ll need to keep pages optimized for SEO (proper tagging, low file sizes, etc.). You’ll also want to keep close tabs on how your audience interacts with your site provides insight into potential behavioral changes. Look for shifts over time in top content, the amount of traffic coming from your social pages, and anything else that indicates you may need to make a strategic shift to follow your audience.

  • Review site analytics
    What’s working? What needs improvement? Potential trouble signs are rising bounce rates, reduced time on site, and overall traffic reduction. Keep an eye on how people are coming to your website. Any channels that you pay for, either with money or significant time investment, should definitely be watched.
  • SEO improvements
    Search engines look at bounce rates and time on site pages as indicators of quality content. Go through photo title and alt tags to ensure they are correct and relevant. Reduce photo sizes with tools like Short Pixel, which makes it easy and fast to get images to just the right file size and resolution (our affiliate link here). 
  • Review social analytics
    What types of posts are helping to drive traffic AND help people? For example, video typically does well on social. Think about how you can leverage those kinds of posts to help get people to helpful information on your site.
  • Make adjustments as necessary
    Repeat after me. Communications and marketing is both art and science. The data shows us how people are interacting with our digital content. If something isn’t working, learn from it, and find another way. Trends and best practices come and go! Ultimately you need to optimize the site and overall digital presence to serve as that digital hub.

At least twice a year, look at strategy

Now, look at the 10,000-foot view and how your site lines up with your church’s broader goals. This part of the website checklist is a bit more involved and one I don’t recommend doing alone. Round up the team, block off a few hours, and go through how the site is functioning as a part of your church’s overall communication strategy. Bringing fresh eyes can also help you to see things that you may overlook simply from being so close to the site day in and day out.

BONUS: This is a great time to celebrate accomplishments and recognize people for their work. And provide food. Sandwiches, cake, donuts, fun coffee, whatever brings your people joy. 

  • Branding consistency
    Check fonts, colors, etc. Your pages don’t have to be identical, but they should all work together as a part of the overall brand.
  • Mobile experience
    Go through the site page by page. Look for issues with content flow and font sizes. Make updates as needed. 
  • Review best practices
    What’s working well for other churches that make sense to incorporate? Not what looks “cool”. Not what that church down the street is doing. Look at methods that have shown to be successful that line up with your communication and missional strategy.
  • Review tools/plugins
    Are these tools helping you to achieve the desired results? What needs improvement? What needs to go or be replaced? 
  • Revisit website strategy
    How does it line up with helping the church to achieve its mission? Look for ways to add or tweak content to better align the site with that mission. 

Knowing what needs your attention regularly will keep your website fresh, working well, and serving your audience. This website checklist may even just be the start for what works for you! Take it and make it your own. In the end, it’s all about helping people grow in their faith.

Feeling overwhelmed after reading all of this? Think your site might be broken?

Learn about our FREE website audit!