You’ve probably got some questions. How much is this going to cost? How long is it going to take? How can I get others in my church interested in getting our congregation online? What can this company do for us that others can’t? This page will help you get some of those answered, and give you an idea of what the process of working with the Internet Outreach Experts will be like.
What can Internet Outreach Experts do for us that other website services can’t?
Most companies that offer web design services for churches are run by people who are primarily websites designers. Makes sense, right? Web designers would build a company that designs websites. Internet Outreach Experts was founded by a Pastor and Internet Marketer, that is, someone who cares about ministry and evangelism and who specializes in building online businesses, not just websites. We want to be your partner in bringing Christ to your community, not just the folks who designed your website.
We want to help you build an online presence that will complement your other ministries to help actually grow your church. To that end, we go far above and beyond what other services offer by including SEO (Search Engine Optimization), graphic design and limited social media services with our top packages. Why do we offer these services? Because they’re what it takes for effective evangelization of your congregation’s sphere of influence using the internet.
To reach people with the message of the Gospel, you have to make sure they hear it. In the digital age, that means an online presence. People check the web before doing anything new. You have to convince people to visit on your website before they give you an opportunity to see them in a church service. Your church’s website is the first impression it will make on countless thousands of potential guests; it is your public face to the community. Our sites are designed specifically with the goal in mind of helping future guests feel comfortable and excited about visiting your church.
However, having a beautiful, convincing website is pointless if no potential guest ever sees it. Your website needs to be high enough up in the search engines that people in your community can find it. This is called Search Engine Optimization, and is explained in greater detail under the next question.
Additionally, you need to be able to make at least a somewhat decent impression on people if they’re going visit your church. People today, especially younger people, expect multimedia to look professional, and to be updated on a regular basis. We’ll help you with updates and graphic design needs on an ongoing basis.
Let’s not forget that the greatest source of potential growth for your church is already sitting in the pews. An effective social media strategy will let you passively leverage what your congregation members are already doing, and make it easier for them to invite their friends to church. This is especially true of young people; many Millennials need to hear that your church is a great place from someone they trust before they’ll risk a visit.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the science of getting your website to show up at the top of the search engine’s results for any given search.
This is important for two main reasons. First, you want as many people as possible to see your church’s website. Let me ask you something: When was the last time you went to the second or third page of results for a Google search? I can hardly remember the last time I looked past the first few results, much less went pages back on Google. If your church isn’t ranking highly for terms people in your area are searching for, you might as well have not built a website.
The second reason SEO is important is that the only other way to get to the top of the search engine results is to pay for it. Paying for people to see your website is less than ideal for several reasons. Of course, there’s the cost involved; a properly run advertising campaign can be hundreds of dollars a month for the same number (or fewer) of visitors you’d get for free using SEO. Then there’s the fact that people trust natural results more than paid results, so this makes a much better impression for your church. Lastly, you’ll get as many as twice the visitors to your website using SEO than paid traffic for a given search term, because most people have trained themselves to ignore the ads and just focus on the actual results of their search.
Is SEO something our church can do ourselves?
Absolutely, anyone can do this, but it can be tricky. The problem with SEO is that the search engines change their rules almost every single day. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, and it’s very difficult to keep abreast of all of these changes. Using the wrong strategies might even hurt your website’s results! Using a non-expert for this will often yield non-expert results.
What exactly do you mean that you’ll help us with our “ongoing graphic design needs”?
With the Ministry Partner Plan, we’ll help your church with graphic design work. That means that if you decide you want a new graphic for the bulletin, or the newsletter, or a new sermon series, we’ll do the graphic design work for you. Ever wish you had someone on staff who could provide catchy bulletin graphics, newsletter graphics, VBS flyers, sermon series graphics, youth group materials, custom Sunday School graphics instead of clip art, or T-shirt designs? Now you will. This frees up your church staff to get out of the office and into the community!
How long will it take to see results from SEO?
Getting your church to the top of the Google search results can be a time consuming and difficult process, depending on your area. Larger cities may take months, for instance, but smaller areas may see results in just a few weeks. Typically you’ll see results in Bing much more quickly than Google. Also, there are often many terms that people in your area are searching for that you will want to be a top result for. It takes time and effort to work on each term, and maintenance to keep you at the top once you get there.
How can I get others in my church interested in getting our congregation online?
You’re a forward thinker who realizes the need for your church to invest in its online presence to survive in the 21st Century. How do you convince the leaders of your church of that?
For some folks it may take a work of the Holy Spirit. Pray for God’s guidance. Show them this website. Tell how much you’d like to see your kids and grandkids taken care of by doing something that would make them more likely to come to church. Be a squeaky wheel. Request a packet of brochures over the help desk.
Do you have anyone who can meet with my board/session/etc?
As he’s available, our lead consultant, Rev. Dave Baker, would be more than happy to talk to the leaders of your church by phone or skype. You can request a meeting or consult using the contact us page.
How much 1 on 1 time will we get with the lead developer?
As much or as little as your custom project requires. Expect more time upfront. Templates are offered as more of a “do it yourself” option; the site will be set up for you, but your church would be expected to customize the site with relevant text and pictures.
How much is this going to cost?
Our costs are extremely competitive, especially at the top level of service, and there are options to fit every budget. See our pricing page for more information.
How do payments work?
When buying a premade template website, there is a one-time fee and then a monthly hosting fee that varies based on the level of services you require. The one-time fee varies depending on the start up costs for services beyond the website.
For custom solutions, we generally use a 3 milestone payment system: 1/3rd before we begin, 1/3rd after the initial design phase is finished, and 1/3rd after you’re completely satisfied that the site is ready to go live. Payments can be made by check, credit card, or paypal.
Can we get a website from you and host with someone else?
This isn’t recommended, but is possible in some cases. Our sites require the latest software, and it’s possible that portions of the website won’t work unless the server is configured properly. This usually isn’t possible with shared hosting providers (what you would get elsewhere). You’ll also be opening yourself up to malware and other security problems unless you’ve got someone who knows how to competently manage a website.
Can we get your graphic design, SEO, social marketing, etc services for our existing website?
While I always recommend getting a consultation on your current web presence, we do offer custom solutions for your existing website. There may be start up costs involved depending on the service, however. Contact us here to request a custom quote.
How easy are your sites to update?
All of our websites use the very popular WordPress Content Management System to make them as easy as possible to for anyone to edit the content (but not the layout) of the sites. You can make changes in a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, upload pictures directly from your computer, etc. You can also freely make changes to certain predefined areas called “widgets”. Take any of our template sites out for a spin on our templates page. We’ll also help you with minor changes to the site on an as needed basis, but certain changes such as adding new custom features or major redesigns may cost extra.