Every week I hold online office hours and answer questions from folks like you. This week I answer a question on whether or not a church should use an open-source platform for their website. I also look at how to balance where information is sent across your various social networks. Take a look and be sure to join me every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. CDT for online office hours!
Do you suggest a small church use WordPress or some other hosted solution for their website?
My answer: Can you do it? Yes. Do I suggest it? No. Here’s why. I talk to people literally every day who are in a pickle for this very reason.
The church has a well-meaning volunteer build a website on an open-source platform like WordPress or Joomla. The volunteer then moves away or loses interest and the site sits frozen in time because no one knows how to update it. The people in ministry don’t have time to learn the platform and the volunteer no longer wants/is able to update it.
If you have a dedicated volunteer or staff person who is responsible for the site, this approach could work. For the majority of churches, however, I wouldn’t recommend it.
I recommend using a third-party CMS (content management system) that’s updated by developers and web professionals not a part of your church community. Reasons abound, suffice to say my experience at Monk has shown me the dark side of non-professionals getting a hold of a website.
How do I balance what information goes where? Example, I have some RSS feeds of my site and church-wide body, Bible readings and more going to Twitter with no complaints. That is far too many posts for Facebook.
My answer: Yeah. In general you want to avoid overwhelming any social audience with information, complaints or not.
Studies show that any more than four Facebook posts per day and you’re asking for trouble. With Twitter, this number fluctuates a bit and has more to do with the volume of tweets that go out within a certain time frame.
I’d be careful about using what I call the “complaint metric” as a reliable measurement. People could simply have tuned your information out, thus ignoring it completely. This is ten times worse than getting complaints. Complaints mean that people are still engaged. No complaints? Well, I think you can draw the conclusions!
I’d suggest getting your social networks hooked up to sites like:
Then you can get a picture of what’s effective and what’s not. These will inevitably tell you more than a gut feeling will.
Hope that helps!