So you think your church needs a website. Or a new site. Or a better site. Rock on. Welcome to Church Websites 101, a quick and dirty series about how to start or restart your church’s website.
It’s time to surf the web and call it research. This is the fun part of a website redesign, when you get to look around at the competition and see what works and what doesn’t. But this isn’t just an afternoon of surfing. You’ve got work to do.
Here’s what’s on the docket:
- Look for what works. Wow sites, eye-opening features, fun things.
- Surf to get inspiration, but don’t steal and do what other people do just because it’s cool. Remember your plan. Remember your limitations. Another site’s cool feature might be a dud on your site.
- Don’t just look at church sites. Look at different industries. Look at rock bands, local businesses, nonprofits.
- But do look at church sites. See how different churches handle things like new visitors, maps and staff. Look at big churches and small churches. The Church Marketing Lab has a few lists of great church sites to get you started.
- Surf with your audience in mind. You’re not the only audience for your church website. That may mean taking it to extremes and surfing with (gulp) Internet Explorer.
- Also look for things you don’t like. Notice navigation that’s confusing or details that are buried. Try to pinpoint why you don’t like something (or why it wouldn’t work for your audience) so you can avoid the same mistake.
- Take copious notes. There’s nothing worse that seeing a great example and then not being able to find it again.
In the end surfing around the web is about getting inspired and being reminded of what you can do online. Don’t let yourself be limited by what you find, but let it inspire your thinking. Let the good ideas rise to the top and the bad ideas be warning signs of what to avoid.
More Church Websites 101: