Easier Done than Said
A frequent question we get round here is: Who does your website? Behind that question is an assumption that we paid someone a ton of money to build this thing and that we're still paying someone a ton of money to maintain it. When I say matter of factly, "we do", my inquisitor looks at me like I just morphed into an alien. Seriously, the look is scary - we might call it "technological bewilderment". Ten months ago, I was right there with them. Since then, we've built three websites from scratch: the original, which in hindsight was terrible; the site you are viewing now; and just last week we introduced our mobile site. The sum total for all three sites was a lot of time (which we have) and $300. That said, we did invest heavily in the core logo and graphics (big ups to Cathy and Ryan at Riggs). And we have the indomitable Helen Johnson from HLJ Creative on standby for ongoing help with our graphics. But almost all of what you see is the work of Suzanne and me.
When people reference the revolution of the world wide web they are usually talking about how easy it is to distribute and consume original content. Until now where would you go to share the 30 second handy cam clip of your 2 year old dancing to Beyonce in his diapers? However, the untold story of the internets is that someone like me, with exactly 0 years of experience designing websites, and someone like Suzanne, who started with like -10 years of experience, can distribute content on a beautiful platform, at little cost, with almost no time loss between idea and implementation. In short, the tools are now available to not just make stuff but to make beautiful stuff, fast.
We learned this lesson out of necessity. We don't have enough money to pay someone else to do it and we're determined to not make ugly stuff. Sure, we bang our heads against the computer screen every day when a graphic won't stay in one place but we press on. And yes, there are other things we could be doing that come easier and look more like "normal" church work. But this isn't a "normal" church, it's a bootstrapped church and I hope we never get so "normal" that we forget how to clean the bathrooms, set up chairs, and make our own coffee.
Last month seventy people worshipped with us at our monthly Reveal service. In comparison, over 500 unique visitors landed on our website. We'll never stop focusing on the first impressions of a guest at worship but why should the first impression of a guest on our website be any less important?