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  • Web site uses.

    My church is fairly new and until just recently there hasn't been much of an emphasis on our website. Actually the site was so bad that I was embarrassed to give the web address out. Well, we're finally getting to the point of getting a decent website. My question to you guys is what do you do with your website besides just giving general information about your church, announcements, and posting sermons or lessons online? I want make sure we use the website to its fullest potential. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

  • #2
    I'm no pro, but I would think of the website as 2 separate sites in one.

    1) Outsiders (New to "so and so church" link)
    2) Insiders

    One of the main problems with church website design is that many will have WAY too much info on the front page. Keep it simple.

    1) Outsiders: when someone who doesn't attend your church (especially a non-believer) visits your website they are essentially looking at 3 different things.

    a) Will I fit in. What kind of pictures of REAL people from your church can you use to convey WHO your church is. Is your church a diverse group of smiling, happy well-dressed 20 somethings? If not, then please don't use that stock photo!! People want to know if people like THEM are at your church. Use real photos of real people.

    b) Where is it? Location, location, location. Make sure that people know how to find your place. Make it plain and visible (also add MAIN gathering times in a very visible location on the front page).

    c) What time? What good does it do us to convey who we are and where we are if people don't know WHEN our main gathering is. This is not a license to post ALL of your gathering times, just the MAIN gathering.

    All of this info should be VERY, VERY visible. If I'm an outsider visiting your website, essentially I'm visiting your church without ever walking through the doors. Make sure it's a positive impact.

    2) Insiders: From your front page you can have links to all relevant info.

    a) Current topic - you might do some sort of changing banner to represent your current topic (along with TIME & LOCATION).

    b) All other gathering times.

    c) More in depth contact info, maps, etc.

    d) Story of church.

    e) Meet the Staff (team)

    f) podcasts (audio sermons)

    g) whatever else may be for the regular attender

    ***

    I've seen sites where all of this is accessible (links) from the home page. This can be done well, especially if you create the big elements for the outsider in very visible ways. Go ahead and link to the other areas of your site, just make sure that the first timer doesn't get bogged down in too much text/info for your regulars.

    I've also seen the "home" page of a church as a portal to 2 completely different sites...

    ...one link is something like "first time?" or "new to so and so church?"

    ...while the other will be something like "regular attender" or something way better that gets that point across (haha)...

    Our website (in my sig) actually combines all this on the front page, while making those 3 outsider elements pretty visible.

    Our header is just a rotating flash movie of photos of our people and enviroments. Right under that is a nav bar with access to other areas of the site, and directly below that we'll have a message series ad with our ADDRESS (where) and TIMES (when) of our morning gathering.

    P.S. We did actually use some stock photo when designing this run. Our design team decided that with the BIG real photo headers across the top, we could get away with a little bit of stock. However, we're about to refresh the look of the site as we move towards Easter so there will be changes in the works.

    As far as actual uses, see some of the "insider" uses I put above.

    To add to that we have a contact form and people actually use it a lot. Each week we have several inquiries from outsiders about our church, and several insiders use it to contact the pastor for varied reasons.

    Our podcast (audio sermons) page is very popular. We have it integrated into itunes so people can subscribe if they want to.

    We use our current topic info page in email invitation campaigns. We only do mailers about every 3rd series we do...the rest is word of mouth and email invites that people can forward to friends.
    Last edited by russhutto; 01-14-2008, 02:06 AM.
    Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

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    • #3
      I agree with everything blindeyes said. Additionally, I would submit the following:

      By "decent" I presume you mean, "designed by a person who does such things professionally." Make sure your web design is good. Like, good as measured by the standards of most businesses, not the standard of most churches. Most churches have horribly designed websites.

      If you want to check out a great church website, check out www.northpoint.com.
      Our church (pretty decent site) is at www.southshorechurch.com

      The website, www.churchmarketingsucks.com has more info on web sites, etc. Have fun!

      Nathan

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