How much time is needed to
maintain a parish website?
Provided by the Good News Web Designers Association

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Question: How much time should be budgeted for an in-house parish website manager? How much time is needed to maintain the site after the initial development is complete?
The answer to this depends on your goals, which need to be determined. Here are guidelines:


The minimum time spent on website maintenance for a large parish with active ministries) would be about 5 hours a week. That's the bare minimum. If the various church ministries provide news and updates, special events and other content to freshen their sections of the website, the webmaster's time spent is roughly equivalent to the time it takes for your parish secretary to put together the Sunday bulletin, more if graphics editing is included.

Expect that many ministries will take a long time to start remembering, on a regular basis, to provide fresh material for the website. Therefore, you should hire a website manager who will speak to the right people in each ministry and parish organization, seeking news that can be posted on the site and reminding them to continue to provide materials. This, of course, adds more hours to his/her webwork schedule.

Better yet if your website manager seeks out inspirational material from appropriate persons and ministries, suited to the liturgical season and other activities of the parish, and then edits them and integrates them into the website. Look for a Christ-centered, faith-filled webmaster who can help write this inspirational material. She or he will need about the same amount of time that your parish newsletter editor/staff uses to put together the newsletter. Think of this type of webwork as if it were a monthly newsletter. The website editor should attend parish functions and meetings to gather material, the way a reporter does for your newsletter.

Think double the workload when you have a parish school. I strongly recommend hiring two separate website managers, one for the parish and one for the school. Each person needs to have the time to get involved in parish or school activities, and be familiar with parish ministries or school departments -- enough to stay on top of what's going on. Usually, one person cannot do well by themselves, trying to keep in touch with all that's going on in both parish and school, any more than the parish secretary knows everything that goes on in the school and visa versa.

With individual attention and personal involvement given to the parish and to the school, each website manager would then be able to develop new ideas as the occasion arises, to evolve their sites. Evolutionary development, when one thing gradually leads to another, is an important key to having an outstanding web presence. But this requires hiring website managers who have creativity and ingenuity and an eye for what website visitors would appreciate finding online.

Also allow time for the website manager to add new skills to his/her repertoire of web designing techniques. This field is challenging and periodically requires the upgrading of software, adding new JavaScripts or DHTML or who-knows-what's-next to make the website function quicker and more efficiently, more interactively, etc. If you want your site manager to do more than the minimum, expect time to be spent on learning new skills, just as in any job that requires on-going education.

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