The Benefits of a Catholic Parish Website

It is common knowledge that a business website is key for most businesses for a few key reasons: to give customers easy access to information, products, and services; to give customers the opportunity to interact and communicate with the business or organization; to promote their business and it's products and services; to attract more customers. Although a Catholic parish is not a business, these key points can be applied to a parish as an organization and I will explain in further detail the benefits a website can bring to a Catholic parish.

Provide Information

You can only fit so much information into a bulletin and many times parishioners aren’t willing to stick around after to Mass and wait for an appointment in the parish office just to get the information they are seeking. A parish website is the perfect place to provide detailed information about church events, past and future, as well as Mass schedules, and resources for education, ministries, liturgy, sacraments and other programs offered at the parish. It’s quicker and easier for a parishioner to find the exact information they are looking for and they can do it from the comfort of their own home, from their office at work, or even their mobile device. The fact that they found the information they were in need of could even result in their joining a ministry or entering their child in school. That parishioner might not have had the confidence or motivation to ask around for the information, but with the website they don’t have to.

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Increase Communication

As members of the Church, I’m sure we all have our own thoughts and opinions about the way things are handled by our leaders. As parishioners, many times we feel that our voice is not heard and our feelings go unnoticed. Many times we are embarrassed to speak up in a face-to-face conversation with our priest or pastor, but perhaps over the phone or online we are more motivated to speak freely and let our feelings be heard. A parish website helps to break that barrier and opens new channels of communication between parishioners and parish leaders.

Another way that a parish website would increase communication is by creating the opportunity to send messages and updates to parishioners via email. This helps to save paper because parishioners that have signed up can receive the weekly bulletin online. All that is required is that they enter their email address into a form and it would be saved into a database.

Promotion & Marketing

Obviously a parish isn’t trying to sell a product, but we can apply the same principle of marketing and promotion. As members of the Body of Christ we want to follow the command of Jesus to love and serve all people. We want for those who are lost to find their way home to the Church. We want for those who have strayed and lost interest in all things religious to realize what they have been missing and find a place in the Church where they can serve others. We want our children to get a better than average education without pushing spirituality to the side. The Church should be the center of our lives, not just a Sunday morning obligation. By promoting parish programs, especially youth ministries, we can bring more of our lost brothers and sisters home. Unlike a flyer, a website isn’t limited to certain area, it is visible world-wide. Someone who may have happened to read that homily on that priest’s blog could now find themselves called to enter the Church.

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Reaching the Youth

Young people these days seem to find Church boring and the outside world is calling them to give up their faith for a false notion of freedom. The inevitable teenage desire to rebel doesn’t have to end with their departure from the Church. What that child needs is a better understanding of their faith and a more entertaining and fulfilling way to practice it in addition to Mass and the Sacraments. Even though many of these teens have been invited to participate in a youth ministry, many of them are perhaps reluctant to pursue it because they are unsure what to expect.

A parish website can be a portal for these reluctant teens to explore their faith and take a look at just what exactly that youth ministry does when they get together. Maybe they will realize that the false stereotype that they had was far from the truth and decide to take them up on that invitation after all. Teens these days spend so much time on their cell phones and computers, so don’t expect them to pick up a bulletin. But a website, with it’s interactivity and aesthetic appeal, is probably a much better way to get their attention and keep it.

Misconceptions

Many people these days have certain misconceptions about the cost of building and maintaining a website. Websites are not expensive to make and a professional web designer or developer can build a quality website in a matter of weeks. There are talented individuals who are willing to provide discounts to religious organizations, but those organizations are sometimes disinclined to pursue what they conceive as an expensive endevour, when in all reality they can get a website at a great deal. A website is an investment that requires almost no cost to maintain as long as there is someone with a basic knowledge of computers who can be assigned the task of adding and updating the content. Almost anybody who can send an email can use a CMS (content management system). This means once the website has been designed and created, it isn’t necessary to hire a professional for maintenance purposes.

Interested?

If you are interested in building a website for your parish or religious organization, feel free to inquire about my services. I am a professional web designer and developer with years of experience working with small businesses, corporations, and religious organizations. Take a look through my portfolio to get a feel for my work, then use the contact form to get in touch with me. God bless.

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