You can have a great church website. There are 5 simple rules you must follow.
Mark MacDonald · January 5, 2017
What’s your thread? What are people around you looking for? Healthy marriages? Satisfying employment? Peace in chaos? It starts with understanding your audience and their needs and goals. Only then can you create a website that will interest them. Speak solutions and they’ll find your website interesting.
Your website should simply attract your congregation and community to your thread story and show how they’ll benefit from your ministries.
2. Be consistent.
Your thread is your brand. Now you need to put your “thread glasses” on and think about how your thread (your brand promise) will look. Decide on a couple of colors and fonts that will be a visual cue for your story. Then start telling your story being careful with the words you use. Be consistent with related keywords that someone in your community will use in Google.
For your website design, you need to create consistency too. The more complex looking your website is, the more people will identify your message as complex. And the gospel is simple! Make your message easy to find (see point 5) and easy to understand. Every page should have a similar responsive layout (one for desktop, one for iPad, one for phone) that is more about content than about the design.
Make the design professional and consistent to web paradigm though. Web paradigm is what people expect from a website. Stop trying to do something new and different with your design, user-interface, and user-experience.
Here’s what we know most people are expecting from a website:
- A logo and tagline in the upper left, a simple menu right under the logo, then a content area under the menu. Be careful of the right side of the pages (since most don’t look there thanks to online ads). Protect the left side of your content areas as valuable real estate. Make things flush left (rather than centered) and understand the first 3 - 4 words of a headline are read more than the rest.
- Most people like longer pages now with clear module separation. Limit clicking between pages since, thanks to mobile browsing, we like to slide down a page rather than finding a link to switch to other pages. Ensure that a simple footer says “this is the bottom of the page” while allowing a user to go to some other area without scrolling back to the top.
- Everyone enjoys pictures/videos that show themselves (people that look like the community) once they’ve engaged with the thread.
- Create an online environment that is consistent with your actual local church environment. You don’t want to surprise the web user when they decide to attend your services with something they’re not expecting. Show lots of pictures of the “real” experience on your website!