10 Tips for an effective website

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Where do you start? What do you consider? How to make the website work for you and your visitors? We have created a guide and suggestions for you to consider when creating or reviewing your website. All churches are striving for similar results: help people find God, awareness of their church and members, how people can get involved and increase members.
 

1) Purpose

Consider the purpose of your website.  How and what you would like it to achieve for your church and your churches objectives. Consider your audience's; members, regular visitors, new visitors, local community, missions, supporters, trustees, advocates, volunteers and how they might want to interact with you and your church and how to effectively fulfill their specific needs.

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you build a better website providing and creating a better user journey for your visitors.
 

2) Clear Message

Write a welcome message, explain what type of church you are, what’s involved, how you connect with people, and what people can expect from your church and it’s services. Explain the culture, style and practices and it’s always nice to see photos of you and your team - it offers a warm welcome to your website visitors.
 

3) Clear Navigation

Make it easy for your website visitors to get around your website.  If people can’t find what they are looking for they will soon go elsewhere. Have clear menu tabs at the top of your website navigation - and include some click through areas on the home page and inside pages.  If you are trying to raise funds for a church project or mission then include click throughs for Donate Button, Prayer Requests, Newsletter Sign-Up, Volunteering.   Have these prominent and available at any time for people to act on - don’t make people search for how to donate - make it easy as possible for all key actions.  Confusing user journeys of your website will put people off.
 

4) Communication to the audiences

Generally, you will have two types of audience; members and regular visitors who will know their way around your website and will be looking for information about upcoming events and ministries.  The other type of audience is new visitors who will be searching for lots more information; location, address, services times, practices and beliefs. You might want to consider an “I’m New” section.  
 

5) Regularly Update and add links.

Update your calendar regularly, let people know about your services and events and how they can get involved.  Give feedback on fundraising projects, highlight case studies of how donations have benefited your missions and the people involved.  Depending upon your type of missions you might want to report on quantity of projects achieve, amount of people helped/saved.

Highlight any working partnerships and links to other churches i.e. Street Pastors, Food Banks and include their logos and link the logos back to their website.
 

6) Less  is more

Have clear space on your pages - don’t feel you have to cram the whole page with content.  Having short but to the point content in 3 or 4 paragraphs on the page with help your readers to digest the information quickly.  Use bullet points for quick reference to important pieces of information and to separate the text on the page.  Use images, an image is worth a 1,000 words and we know this is an old cliche but it’s true.
 

7) Quality Images

Have quality images on your website - don’t allow low quality images to be used as this reflects poorly to your visitors. If funds are tight and you would like to refrain from denting your spend with the hiring of a professional photographer for professional images then there are other free resource websites out there.  There are websites which photographers supply images to and are free resources which allow you to use the images on CC0 license which means you can use, edit, modify and distribute them for free; personally or for commercial use.  We have a list of websites here, where you can get images from.


8) Volunteering

If you have various missions/projects active then let people know how they can get involved in each one.  It could be something as simple as giving out leaflets for an event you’re organising, or 5 hours a week to help with administration or even to volunteer to work in the church shop or cafe.

If you are organising fundraising events you might want volunteers to help on the day i.e. Community BBQ/Fete, they could help with directing car parking, directing people, allocating stall places.  Think of each project separately and list what resources you need.  Sometimes if you don’t ask you don’t get!
 

9) Forms

Ensure to have submission forms available in your website.  These can be used for various opportunities for the church:

  • Request a christening
  • Request a wedding
  • Prayer request
  • Register for Alpha Courses
  • Registration for newsletter
  • Application to volunteer
  • General contact us form
  • Careers Application

With Church Edit you can create as many forms as you wish.  


10) Design

And finally but by no means least, design is one of the most important aspects of your website.  It is the first impression people will get of your church the services/support it provides and how welcoming and organised you may seem. From that first impression, people will evaluate whether your church is inviting to them.

A professionally designed website will make a difference in keeping your branding consistent throughout. Make sure to connect with social medias.  Use the social medias as your tanoy to drive people to your website.

 

If you have found this article helpful and think somebody may be able to benefit from it then please do share it with social medias or give it a Facebook Like above.  If you would like to know more about Church Edit, or if you would like to discuss your website then please contact us on 0121 651 1120.