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. 

How to connect Facebook to your Church Website

How to Connect your church website to facebookThere are a couple ways to connect your church website to Facebook. The one I want to address is posting your blog entries onto the wall. There are applications on Facebook which pull your RSS feed and automatically update your status but I highly recommend you don't use this method. Even though it is the easiest way to update your Facebook community it can become white noise. If people see Blog titles and a link continually they will begin to categorize you with bulk emails, and we all know what that means!

To avoid this I recommend taking the extra 40 seconds and writing a personal note/teaser and copy the url manually. This keeps your updates in the category of personal updates, which people can not get enough of! The extra 40 secs will keep you in the "friend update category" and out of the "email blast category."

Social communities like Facebook and Twitter are permission based groups. This means you are apart of their exclusive online friends. Since this relationship is based off permission you need to approach it as such. Inauthentic wall posts can break this trust quickly if done regularly, even if your blog post are authentic. Keeping the trust means content engagement, and this is why you wrote the blog in the fist place.

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!

101: Church Website Usability

The main objective for most church websites is usability.  Your church website design will do you no good if your website is not usable.  Here are a few pointers that will help you create a church website that is usable. 

  1. Keep your content concise and to the point. Large blocks of content is often overwhelming to the user.  It is good practice to put the main point near the beginning as well because most readers will not make it to the end. 
  2. Keep your paragraphs two to three sentences long.  This keeps the flow of content and keeps the readers interest. 
  3. Use headers to call attention to specific areas.  This is an easy feature to use in Squarespace when writing content.  Headers are good for separating the page up for readers.  
  4. Use bullet points when possible.   This will categorize your main points quickly for your users allowing them to pull as much value as possible. 

Church website usability is also influenced by intuitive navigation.  If your users would not naturally find your new website page it may be in the wrong place.  You want your users to not think when they are looking for content on your website.  Always ask a few people their opinion on your websites navigation to ensure it is clear.