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What Every Web Geek Needs to Know About Building a Church Website

Different people need different things out of your church's website.

While this is true at a user level, it's also true at a staff level. No matter who you have on your team, or where you fall in the chain of command, getting the church website up and running truly takes a village.

Last week we told you about a new series on the blog called "Everything You Need to Know About Building a Church Website." We'll be giving you a guide for working on a website with any and all personality types.

This week we're focused on dishing the dirt about Techie Tom.

Tom is a doer. He fixes anything and everything that has to do with church computers. He changes settings on servers, sets up email accounts, and troubleshoots when the office printer doesn’t work.

Tom will most likely be asked to take any tech product the church invests in out for a “spin” to see what it can do. He cares deeply about the church website, focusing on the granular mechanical details rather than how it looks.

Stop right there. Pause for a moment and get someone in mind for the Techie Tom persona. This is going to be a lot more fun if you have a face for Tom. (It doesn't haven't to be a male, either. Just someone who embodies the characteristics described above.)

Got it? Good. Here's a little bit more on our pal Tom.

Tom's Daily Tasks

Tom's "official title" can include anything from "webmaster" to "tech director" to "director of technology" to "IT guy." His talents are wide and varied.

Here's a spectrum of responsibilities, listed from smaller church environments to larger, to give you an idea of Tom's daily tasks. In small contexts, Tom can be found doing one (or more) of the following:

  1. Onboarding new staff with phone, Internet, email, computer, etc.
  2. Updating computers with new software releases
  3. Works on the backend of the website
  4. Build multimedia capabilities of the website
  5. Technical administration and help desk support for the staff

In larger contexts, Tom does these things:

  1. Reviews church data and presents it to church leadership
  2. Makes decisions based on data
  3. Pulling and running technical performance reports and troubleshooting problem areas
  4. Maintaining the ChMS (Church Management System)

This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but it does provide a range of Tom's daily duties given the context he finds himself in.

If you come across Tom in the wild, he'll be seated behind a computer screen, usually with a frantic staff member at his side screaming, "all I did was download this one little file and my whole computer went berserk!"

Tom's Main Responsibilities

As it pertains to the website, Tom focuses on keeping things going on the "guts" level. Backend servers, software updates, building website multimedia capabilities—this is what Tom lives for.

As with anyone technically-minded, Tom falls into the de facto tech support role. He may or may not like this role and he may or may not let you know his opinion. Kind of like this:

What Tom Needs in a Website

Tom wants to make sure the church is spending money only when it needs to. Tom is concerned about having all the necessary technical resources for the church (e.g., bandwidth, server space, etc.) as it pertains to the website.

He needs to have clear technical documentation of what any third-party website provider offers. He'll be using this documentation in discussing website options with other key staff leaders. True to his "doer" nature, Tom likes to be involved in the website buying/building process.

Conclusion: Know anyone like that? Should we add anything to the list of Tom's characteristics?