I don’t want to rain on your app parade…but I do want you to think about that shiny new app you’ve had your eye on. The church down the road just spent major bucks on one and you saw them marketing it in your community. Everyone’s downloading it right? It’s the cool thing to do.
But wait. Let’s think about this more. I want to give you four reasons why you don’t need one. Yes, you most likely really don’t need one. At the same time, if these four reasons don’t apply to you, it’s four reasons why you might need one. Funny how that goes, right?
For the sake of being clear I believe that for the majority of churches, investing the time and money in an app is not needed. Some people will definitely disagree with my assessment on this subject, but from my own investigation it appears that a majority of these people have a personal investment in building and selling apps. It’s the equivalent of walking in a used car dealership and asking the dealer, “Do you think I really need a new car?” Of course you do.
Take a moment to think about the apps you use on a daily basis. For me personally they fall into three categories: social media, news and games, in that order. Each of these has one thing in common – money. You either purchased the app or you’re the product (i.e. you’ve downloaded a free app in exchange for advertising). With that in mind, consider these four reasons why you might not need an app.
1. Your website is enough – if it’s responsive.
Hopefully your church’s website is already built to be responsive. By that I mean your site is designed to adapt to whatever device it’s viewed on. If it is, it’s mobile ready. If someone is on their phone they have the ability to access your site and whatever you need them to see.
In our mobile society, you can’t afford not to have a responsive website if you want people accessing your information. In fact, back on April 21, 2015, Google began rewarding sites that are built to be responsive via their search algorithm. Don’t know if your site meets these guidelines? Google provided a nice tool to check it out: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
2. You can’t determine a purpose.
Every website has a purpose. Some are replacements for old yellow page ads. Some are used to promote events. Some are all about resourcing people with useful information. Some are all of the above.
What purpose would your app serve that your site doesn’t already do? Why would someone continue to revisit it? What’s the compelling reason to download your app and then use it regularly? If you can answer those questions, then build an app. Most churches can’t.
3. Apps are expensive.
Apps aren’t free. To build your app you will most likely have to work with a company that knows how to build apps. I can’t tell you specifically how much this will cost — a lot depends on how customized it will need to be. I’ve seen template-based apps start at $50 a month. Some have upfront fees on top of that.
Will your app only be built for Apple devices or do you want to accomodate devices on other platforms? They don’t speak the same language and have different specifications which means extra costs!
4. Apps require ongoing maintenance.
In addition to your website, you will also now have to maintain your app. It will need information updated to it. In our rapidly changing society, you can’t just throw it out there and never worry about it again! Think about the time investment. Also, what happens every time a larger interface comes out? Will you need to go back in and redesign the app?
These four reasons were by no means telling you what you have already done is wrong or what you should do in the future. Every situation is unique. Hopefully though they have provided a guide to help you in making future decisions.