Church Website Design

SUM Bible College Website Launch

 The School of Urban Ministry (SUM) Website:

We recently launched a phase one website project for the School of Urban Ministry in Oakland, California.  SUM is an accredited Bible College, with almost twenty co-hort campuses.  We were excited to give the website a brand new look. 

SUM Website Features:

We are really excited about the interactive map that we were able to intergrate on the front page of the SUM website.  We are excited for the easy access UI that this gives for SUM's several cohorts. 

We also implimented a standard schooling banner for SUM.

CMS Platform

The SUM website is built on the Squarespace CMS platform. We love Squarespace.

Shoreline Church Website Launch

Shoreline Church Wesbite

We had the opputunity of working with a church plant in Palm Beach Garderns, FL called Shoreline Church.  In contacting us, Shoreline Church, wanted to create a simple page that would convey the vision of their church pre-lauch.  As you can see, the design of this website is a-typical of other designs we have taken on in the past.  Since the needs of Shoreline were different, we wanted to approach design differently. 

Shoreline Church Website Features

Floating Navigation Bar: Since the design of this page is one page, vertical design we needed to think of a creative way to navigate this website.  This floating navigation bar, was the solution we chose.  When scrolling on the Shoreline Church Website, the floating navigation bar will follow your web cursor.  When you click on the navigation links, you will be automatically taken to the top of the corresponding category.

Custom Pay-Pal Buttons: We decided to make pay-pal look better by creating custom button. Very simple, but it changes the dynamic of the Partner section of this website.

Custom Connection Platform: We created a multi-layer connection platform for this website, which allows all of the social connection platforms to be integrated.  Sections include: Facebook & Twitter feeds, Mail Chimp Sign-up form, and Blog RSS feed. 

Shoreline Church Website CMS

The Shoreline Church Website uses the Squarespace CMS

Top Ten Signs Your Church Website is Ugly

Top Ten Signs Your Church Website Is Ugly

  1. When you ask people if they like the church website they say, "It works... I guess."
  2. When you look at your website it reminds you of the late 90's.
  3. There are clip art images on your website.
  4. You use multiple colors in your content to emphasize importance.
  5. Your church website banners are pixelated (and not in the cool way).
  6. You don't want to use it either!
  7. Every time you mention your website as a reference you are hesitant.
  8. You actually forget the URL to your church website!
  9. There are kittens and sparkles on your landing page.
  10. The word Cyberspace is in your titles!

There was a recent study that showed how 52% of users would not return to a website because of its ascetics! That means if your church website is ugly you are guaranteed half of the people who visit will not return. Are you ready to let this happen? Church websites done right. Sometimes the design of your church website is left in the hands of the wrong person. I have heard story after story of church websites being done by the brother, cousin or friend of the pastor. This usually leads to poor design and lack of time committed to making the church website intuitive because the volunteer is not a real designer. When you bring in a friend or brother in to design your website it's hard to say NO to their work, which can cause the website to suffer. Are you willing to let 52% of your users go because you want to still use your cousin or brother? The investment in your church website design will make the difference with keeping the traffic to your website. My guess is that 52% is only going to grow as users become accustom to great design on the web. Investing in your church website design is investing in the future of your church!

Commit the time to your website

If there is anything we've learned over the years it's commit time to your website.  In todays age of communication your website is key to getting connecting with others.  Your church website has the ability to be your greatest asset when it comes to communication.  

Three tips for getting committed to you Church Website.

  1. Set a schedule to update your website.  Just like you take the time to update your email inbox or prepare your message for sunday morning you should update your website.  If you don't have the time assign the task to an assistant, but make sure you update your content.
  2. Set a concrete plan for keeping your church website up to date.  With out a plan you will quickly forget about it.  Setting a plan will also allow you to empower your team to pitch in.  
  3. Set goals and celebrate when you reach them.  There is nothing better than meeting a goal set by your team.  When you go form 115 on google to 7 it is electrifying.  Set personal goals with your team as well to build momentum. 

When you care about your church website your church will care.  People can tell when a website is neglected, and when they see this it deters them from coming back.  Committing to updating your website with relevant content will pay out dividends for your church website. 

Know Thy Audience

When it comes to your audience, assumptions can cost you time and resources .  I have noticed a commonality with peoples assumptions of their church websites audience.  The assumption is your audience is exactly like you. 

Here at Sheepish Design we look at the core audience in the Church Website Discovery phase.  Many times people will begin defining their core audience as themselves.  It is natural to assume everyone is like us, but it's not true.  If we make decisions based off an egocentric core audience we may miss the opportunity to truly connect.  

Taking the time to understand your core audience allows you to answer their questions and resource them with relevant information.  The time it takes to understand the audience for your church website is minimal compared to the return it brings.  

Remember a great church website design is only the beginning to reaching your audience!