By Jen Lieberman
[Written for synagogues, but applicable for all.]
You’d be hard-pressed to come across a synagogue in 2017 that does not have a website. However, just because a synagogue has a website, it does not mean that it will be a successful one. Eventually, your site will need a tune-up, but how do you know when it’s time to redesign your synagogue website? Here are 6 tell-tale signs that it’s time to invest in a refresh.
1. You cringe when people tell you they learned about you online.
Your first reaction when anyone (especially a prospect) tells you that he or she discovered you online, should be one of joy. See if you can pin-point the reasons why an otherwise friendly encounter elicits such a negative response. Is it a question of needing to update the content, or is it for a bigger, more complex reason? Your website is your synagogue’s online home. It’s important for you to feel the same sense of pride in your site as you do in your building.
2. You feel envious when you visit the websites of other synagogues in your area.
There is no reason to always feel like you need to be “keeping up with the Joneses,” but it is true that you only get one chance to make a solid first impression. If other synagogues in your area are presenting a strong online presence, then it may be time to update yours as well. You don’t want to potentially turn away prospective members who may not take the time learn about how wonderful your community is, simply because they are turned off by your website.
3. You can‘t easily make content updates.
If you or others on your team are unable to quickly update your website, then something is wrong. It can be a simple matter of training (if so, contact your web provider for help), but this isn’t always the case. If your synagogue is completely reliant upon one volunteer (and this relationship isn’t working) or a hosting company for even the smallest of updates, consider re-evaluating your current arrangement.
4. Your last redesign was 3–5+ years ago.
Technology and design move fast. While you don’t need to obsessively follow and implement every trend, your website should feel relevant, especially to young families. Look no further than how fast website design changes by looking at the online transformations of these iconic brands.
5. Your website is not mobile friendly or responsive.
We are past the point of considering a mobile friendly website a luxury – it’s a must. Ensuring that your website provides a level of compatibility for all devices is critical.
6. You‘ve asked yourself if your website needs a redesign more than once.
If you are actively considering whether or not you should update your site, then you probably already know the answer to your question. Your website is one of the strongest tools that you have to attract prospective members. It’s visible, public, and easily-accessible to all. If you feel like the design of your website is holding your organization back, then it’s time to explore other options.
The first impression your website makes ought to be a strong one. Your synagogue is dynamic and thriving. You deserve a website that reflects your community.
Jen Lieberman is the client relationship manager at Jvillage.
Cross-posted on Jvillage Network’s blog.