Advice straight from a programmer - what to do to make sure your church is ready before your website goes down.

I've been building websites for over 20 years now, and I've heard my fair share of "horror stories" surrounding domain names, websites and email. Here are a few tips to make sure you're ready for the unforeseen!

Never use a personal -- or just one individual's -- email address.

If you are registering a domain name for your church or organization, make sure the contact information is not specific to one person, and especially not to one person's private email address. Use a "corporate" email address, and preferably a general address (like that multiple people can receive. (Of course, make sure someone is actually checking that email address, too!) This ensures that if one person leaves, all your domain expiration notices don't go with them.

Know your hosting provider and the services they do or don't provide.

Of course, registering a domain name is just one part of owning a website. There are many other moving parts, and they can all come from separate vendors (although we wouldn't recommend it). From DNS management to website hosting to email services, make sure you know who is providing each service and that your general corporate email address is tied to each account.

Don't forget third-party platforms.

There are plenty of add-ons that can help you understand your site traffic or improve your visitor's experience. Once again, make sure you know what those services are, and who holds the keys to each. Here are some examples that may have been added to your website:

  • Google Analytics: Track and analyze visitor activity and site traffic
  • Hotjar: Create visual heatmaps with visitor-engagement recording tools
  • AddThis or ShareThis: Encourage social sharing
  • Facebook Pixel: Monitor your ad effectiveness

As we often say, "Technology is great -- until it's not." I hope these suggestions help you feel confident about every part of your website.

Have questions about your site and all the services that may be included? Feel free to reach out! I'd love to help you with an audit.