In today’s world of smartphones, iPads and laptops, let’s agree on one thing: before a visitor sets foot in your church, the odds are incredibly high that he or she will first look at your website.
Just posting information on a site may not accomplish all your objectives. A quality website will feature the following design criteria:
1. Clean and Uncluttered – The more options and content a site has, the higher the potential for clutter. A good mix of content and imagery is needed to keep things clean and clear to the reader.
2. Informative and Helpful – Content needs to be organized so that it quickly informs and helps the reader find what they need with just a few clicks.
3. User Interaction – Does your website create an excitement to interact and explore? Once a visitor starts interacting with your site the chances increase that they’ll want to make a personal visit.
4. Engaging and Interesting – Does the design and color scheme catch the eye of the visitor? Is there multimedia that a user can watch and content choices that pull them further into the site? Create a site that engages the interest of the user.
5. Provide Solutions – A quality website will provide information that helps people resolve issues or obtain resources. This can be as basic as providing a spot for those that are “new” to the church, or articles and book suggestions on topics of interest.
How does your church website measure up? Does it meet these elements of design? Determine where you are now and where you want to go. Then, have fun!
[Editor’s Note: Adapted from Jason’s book, The iChurch Method: How to Advance Your Ministry Online. Jason will be part of the teaching team at the eConnect Conference in November.]
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Not to diminish the importance of having a Website and doing it well, I would say that more individuals come to a church because of existing members introducing them to the church. That does not mean that one should ignore other methods of assuring that your church is visible to others.
Related to websites, one of the biggest issues is assuring that enough volunteers are available to keep the site current. If that is not something you can assure happens without interruption over time, then it will not matter how well you dress the site up.
One should also assure that the site matches the true nature of the church itself, rather than being a marketing campaign that makes the church seem like something it is not. Honesty and Integrity is critical for a church, and should not be compromised by their website painting the wrong picture.
Websites should be easy to use and not overloaded with graphics or anything else that bandwidth and other resources, keep it simple and to the point. Information should be easy to find with little effort, with a summary of your doctrine along with location and contact information up front.
For those that want to research deeper, there should be a simple means of reaching a page with valuable links and as many pages of detail information as needed to provide a true reflection of the church and its teachings, assure it is well organized to make it easier to find.
The site should also not dumb things down, but offer information in a way that elevates others up; make them aware of what is available to help them grow in wisdom and knowledge of the church, after all it is about the church and not the website itself