By Deborah Coble

Back in 2005 one of our WVUMC churches launched a website.  Things were going well.  However, over time the website became out dated and volunteers stopped making the necessary updates, so when the time rolled around to pay for the website name (domain name) it just didn’t get done.

A new pastor brought to the church a new focus on communicating to the larger community and formed a team to re-brand and re-launch their website, but there was a problem.  Because the registration for the domain name had been left unpaid for, another company swept in and launched a website with their name but with XXX-rated content.  This was a horrifying realization by the local church and unfortunately there really isn’t anything that they can do at this point.

A website domain name is as valuable as any other church property. 

This hard lesson learned reminds us all to do a monthly tune up of our church websites.

– First, check out your domain name registration information, make sure that the contact information is correct so that someone from the church receives the registration reminder emails.

(Most churches have .org as their domain name.  Go ahead and purchase .com as well, this will help prevent confusion and ensure that no one can mimic your church or use your good name for bad things. While you’re at it – pay for a few years in advance, that way you’re good to go for a while.)

– Second, do visit your website weekly (even daily) – and keep the content fresh. Make sure that posts reflect what is happening NOW in your community, not what happened 3 months ago.  Also, be sure to take a look at Find-A-Church to make sure that the right info for your church is presented!

(Most people searching for a church home will first visit your website. A good website is an important evangelism tool in the 21stCentury.)

– Third, maintaining content on a website can sometimes seem daunting. This is a great time for a team to be formed to focus on communications for the entire church.  Websites, lively social media pages and even livestreaming of worship services is being done by churches of all sizes in our conference!

(The WVUMC communications team has a team to walk alongside your church to launch a new website, with free training and a FREE template that reflects the values of The West Virginia conference!  Contact your district office for more details)

We have been called to develop, discover and deploy passionate spiritual leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!  Using the tools at hand we can share our stories with our broken and hurting communities and make a real difference in the world!

If you have any questions or concerns about your website or social media platforms send us an email: wvumc@wvumc.org