Questions Churches & Non Profits Must Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

Questions Churches & Non Profits Must Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

How to choose a website designer for your nonprofit marketing websiteAs a non-profit or a church, you have specific needs with your website. It’s important to know what you need and what you want from your website before you start to search for a web developer. While you have in mind what you want, also be open to the ideas of the developer. If you choose a developer who has worked with church and nonprofit websites in the past, they may be aware of pitfalls and trends that may be helpful in your project.

Before you start your search

  1. Have in mind what you can budget. If you’re looking for a $500 website you’ll be talking to a different kind of developer than if you’re looking for a $5,000 website. You want to make sure the developer you choose can handle the size of your project but also won’t push you to back because your project may be smaller than some others on their schedule.

  2. Have links to a few sites you like ready to share. You don’t want your site to copy your competitors or even a friend in another state, however, you know what elements of a site you really like. Showing a developer what you like can help shorten the development time and ensure you get a site you’ll like.

  3. Talk to people you know who have websites. Ask them what they wish they knew before they hired a company. Would they recommend the company they used? How much traffic do their sites receive? Are they able to edit the sites themselves? Remember, this site is part of your church marketing, you want  work with a reputable company.

  4. Make a list of what you want the site to be able to do. Do you need to have event registration? Do you want people to donate online? Do you want to publish weekly blog posts or videos of your services? An organization’s website is the key piece to non-profit marketing online. Making sure your site will support the extrasyour have in mind is important knowledge on the front end.

  5. Know if you need a developer who can manage the site or if you or someone on your staff will manage the site. You’ll need to update your staff page. You’ll have events and pictures you’ll want to change. Who will do that work? If you have someone on staff, it’s important you choose a developer who can train your staff to update the site. If you need someone to manage the site, look for a developer who offers those services as well.

What to look for in a developer

  1. Look for a developer with experience with websites for churches and nonprofits. Some non-profits’ passion is a controversial subject for other people. We suggest working with a web developer who supports or at least is not opposed to the services you offer. How can you tell? Sometimes you can tell by affiliations of their company or their owners. Sometimes you can tell by the way they handle the subject of what your non-profit supports. Why is this important? A website is your non-profit marketing hub online, you, you don’t want to hire someone who could potentially make the process more difficult than it has to be.

  2. Expect a developer to be able to talk in terms you can understand. If they hide behind acronyms or large technical terms, think twice before you hire them. Some companies use large words to appear more experienced than they are. The really knowledgeable companies can help you understand what you are buying and are willing to take the time to explain it to you.

  3. Ask if they have any ideas or suggestions. You have an idea of what you want your site to do. Ask the developer for their ideas as well. Look for someone willing to listen to your ideas but not afraid to make some suggestions to save you time or money.

Questions to ask your developer

  1. Can you email me links to sites you’ve developed? (Click through to those sites and make sure they load quickly and work the way you’d want yours to work.)

  2. What platform do you develop on? Some platforms, like WordPress and Joomla are easier for people with limited technical knowledge to update.

  3. What are your hosting fees?

  4. Does the hosting fee include any basic support?

  5. What are your hourly fees for support?

  6. Do I own the website? If I want to transfer the site to another hosting company, can I?

  7. How quickly do you typically turn around the sites?

  8. Will you provide the content or will we be responsible for that?

  9. How many pages will you develop for us?

  10. Are those pages full content pages or page designs we can use to create new pages?

  11. What’s the cost for creating additional pages?

  12. Can we add a blog to the site?

Whether you’re developing B2B websites, nonprofit websites or church websites, you’ll find most sites need to be redesigned every few years. As technology changes, Google’s search requirements change and design trends change, you’ll want and need to redesign your site to take advantage of those changes. Your site will be an investment, but keep in mind it’s not a once and done project. Choose a company with a long-term vision to help your company grow not just now but in the future.