Church Webmasters – Stop Working for Free!
Mike Boyink implores “church webmasters to stop giving it away for free.“. Like many others, has concluded the only reward for free ice cream is complaints about the flavors. Mike also asserts that this lack of perceived value on the part of pastors and staff leads to re-spinning of style over sustaining long streams of substance.
I’ve learned something interesting: if you give away ice cream, eventually a lot of people will complain about the flavors, and others will complain that you aren’t also giving away syrup and whipped cream and nuts. – Steven Den Beste – USS Clueless – Capitan’s log – final post.
The above quote immediately came to mind after reading Mike Boyink’s well-justified rant today:
Are you a web developer working on your church’s website on a volunteer basis?Stop it.
Or start billing for your time, at rates competitive in the local market.
Knowing what Mike went through with the whole RidgePoint debacle I’m tend to agree.
For example: Just recently I just helped out OnMission.com with an article on search engine optimization. They offered me a small honorarium but since they are part of the North American Mission Board I opted they keep the cash for those out in the field … and hoped they would provide me with a mere hyperlink.
Instead, many of my thoughts wound-up being attributed to someone else in the form of an interview (with that someone else). Perhaps if I had invoiced them what my time, OnMission would have have made more of an effort to return the favor in the form of some electronic recognition (though my name is buried in the masthead, in an 8pt font some 47 pages away from the article). My mistake for not asking for the link up-front, their mistake for not understanding the worth of what they were given.
Likewise in Mike’s post, I happen to know the church site he’s talking about and know they are about to make an expensive mistake … but worse, I think Boyink hits the nail on the head when speaking of the ‘great cloud of witlessness’ that is the Body online. Regardless of whether its FrontPage, Publisher or whatever the WYSIWYG toy-of-the moment happens to be, Mike is dead right when he writes:
I’m seeing a pattern here, and it angers me. It angers me that, as the church, we can always find the time and motivation to re-implement a site on a different backend, or change the site architecture, or implement new navigational widgets.But try…just try…to find someone to invest that same effort in writing interesting, valuable content. Or documenting people’s stories for the web. Or talking at a strategic level about what the church should be using the internet for. Try it and you’ll get unanswered emails, unreturned phone calls, and blank stares in meetings.
The emphasis is mine, but I suspect its an accurate assessment of what’s being yelled at on the other side of Mike’s computer!-)