Your Website is More Important Than You Think

Your Website is More Important Than You Think


Your Website is More Important Than You Think

Rachel Botsman, Trust Reseacher

Happy Easter! He is risen! I was sadly disappointed that no one asked me to do a solo of “He Arose” during an Easter Sunday service. Well, there’s always next year. I’ll keep practicing and waiting for your call.
You know what TED Talks are, right? Just in case you don’t, they’re short messages – a bit like modern day sermons – to promote “ideas worth spreading.” All TED Talks are not equal in their amazingness. The other day, I downloaded a boatload of them to listen to while I was putzing around in my car. I listened to about four meh (a hip word substitute for “O.K.”) talks when this speech grabbed my attention:
“We've Stopped Trusting Institutions and Started Trusting Strangers”
Well now, ain’t that the truth?
Rachel Botsman is a “trust researcher” (coolest job title ever). In order to show how people are trusting technology and strangers in more ways than they ever have, she uses examples like Airbnb, Tinder (!), and Bla Bla Car, a French company that matches drivers who are taking long trips with passengers. I can relate.

When we took our trip to Rome last fall, I happily booked a room with Airbnb – instead of a well-known hotel (BTW, our experience with Sergio was great). Now that I look back on it, that might have been considered risky – but I trusted. And my first ride with Uber – instead of a cab company – could have been chancy too. But, I believed Uber was a good bet because of what I’d seen on the Internet and what I had heard from my friends. And it did not disappoint.
Botsman calls this the “trust leap” that people are taking with technology.
“A trust leap happens when we take the risk to do something new or different from the way we’ve always done it.”
Because technology is so present and easy to maneuver, people turn there first to make connections and often trust it more. Websites are the first impression and if they’re not attractive and current, people will go elsewhere.
So, your website.
If it’s true (and it is) that your website is the “front door” for new people, what is it saying about you?
Does your website inspire trust when someone knocks at your Internet door?
I know, I know. Getting your website up and off the ground was a major accomplishment. And that’s awesome. But unfortunately, it cannot be static. Your website is not something that you can check off your list as having “completed” because…it’s never done. I’ve been on some websites that have such old information that I wonder if the place is still in business. Those websites, I’m sorry to say, do not instill trust.
If you were going to judge you by your website, what would you think?
It’s hard and time consuming and (probably) few people in your sphere have the skills to manage a website. But just know that for new people, your website is important. Figure out a way to update it on a regular basis. For some of you that’s going to be weekly and for others that’s going to be at least once a month. Your website needs to post information that’s up to date. See it as a way to begin building trust.
I agree. It might not seem fair. But this is the way of the world. You can either adapt and embrace it or dig in your heels and look the other way. From everything I know about you, my awesome readers, there’s no way you’d want to be anything less than inviting and welcoming to the new (technology-driven) stranger in your midst. That’s pretty exciting. Hallelujah!
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Thankfully, no one gets to “swipe right” or “swipe left” on her blog. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at or on Facebook at
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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