I believe that there’s a time and a place for doing things “in house.” Sometimes is a money reason, while other times it’s a quality control issue and wanting to make sure that it’s done specifically the way you want it done. However, there’s also plenty of times when outsourcing can be the best route. Usually outsourcing is best for one of two reasons: it’s highly specialized or simply busywork.
In the case of websites, I think most churches should hire out.
There are many reason why I think it’s in the best interest of churches to hire out their website but here are my top six (in no particular order):
Most people don’t realize how much time and work it takes to put together a website, especially for a church. I’ve tried to help demystify this process by providing you a basic outline in my post on how to plan your church website, but that is just the beginning. One of the things I’ve heard many churches tell me is that they didn’t realize how much goes on their website. An average website can get away with three or four pages, but many churches contain at least 10 pages, though many have more. Having past experience in organizing church websites is crucial to completing your website well.
So many of us devalue our time, and pastors are no exception. As I’ve written before, one of the best concepts we can adopt into our mindset is the cost of time. The reality is that whether you hire out or do the work in house, someone, somewhere, is spending time creating your church website. And this brings us to the key of delegation because time will be spent, but who is spending that time is an important question. By outsourcing, you are not only saving your own time, but you are also getting things accomplished faster. My guess is that it would take the average pastor, staff member, or volunteer, much longer to complete the same quality website as it would an experienced designer/developer. Which leads me to the next point…
Although time is not money (time is far more important), it’s true that excess time will lead to excess cost. From using the point from above consider: if it would take you only four times as long to complete the website in the amount of time it would cost to outsource it, you save money even if you pay that person twice your hourly expenses! Whether you like it or not, your time has a cost to it (and sometimes even a price tag). Let’s look at your options:
- Staff members
- If it takes a staff member 40 hours to complete, then you are paying for not only a week’s wage, but also for employment costs such as social security, taxes, office space, equipment, etc.
- Although this would seem “free”, you are costing your volunteer’s time that could be spent elsewhere. For some churches, they are blessed to have volunteers with these skills already, and you should use them, but if you don’t have them, then you are losing the benefit of them serving within their gifting. NOTE: I’ve had churches come to me because a volunteer set up their website but have since left and they don’t have anyone who can fix anything that’s broken or needs updating and you do run into this potential problem by using volunteers.
One of the great blessings I’ve been able to give to churches is an outside perspective on their website. Sometimes we can get caught up in the way “things have always been” or with concepts we’ve had in our minds since day one, but getting some outside perspective on the best way to present your church can be invaluable.
If you don’t already have a background in web design, you can’t expect to make the kind of website a web designer would. All of the popular DIY website creators brag about being extremely easy and everything, but that doesn’t mean you can set it up as well as a professional. I consider Squarespace (the platform I build websites on) to be extremely easy to update and edit, but to setup is still fairly complicated, and I’m not even including the customized design preferences which are endless.
It actually gets done
I’ve seen, and heard of, endless churches and businesses that have their websites pending for years, because they tried to do it in house. Sometimes, by simply biting the bullet and paying someone else is what it takes to finally get that website off the ground.
Have you experienced one of these two be true? What other benefits, or even pitfalls, have you found from hiring out your website? I’d love to hear in the comments below!