Web design is not the same now as it was when I began to create websites over fifteen years ago when I was still in middle school. Back then, a little CSS, a great color palette, and correct positioning for your browser could set you up for success. Now you have five mainstream browsers on desktops, similar numbers on mobile devices, a vast array of dimensions and resolutions, mobile responsive, AJAX, HTML 5, CMS platforms, and so much more. So to say that your church’s web design is finished is saying a lot!
We want to give you a cursory look at how to setup your church up for success with some foundational tips that your website must have.
Let me state up front, I am by no means a web designer. I take the inspiration of others and craft them into something amazing. People dream on paper, through Photoshop, and with the skills of graphic design to make something look good, and then I get to work with programming. By the time I get my hands on the website, half the work is done and all I need to do is translate the artist’s vision into working code.
- Figure Out Why People Are Coming To Your Site
This seems like too much of a philosophical approach to web design and not enough action, but I promise you this: if you do not have this nailed down, you are missing out on so much effective traffic! Do people come for information on events? Then have your links and web forms easily scannable and accessible. Is your target audience new visitors that should see your ministries and hear about your theology from familiar staff faces? Make that prominent.
- Simplify and Declutter
This section goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Do not overload your website with extras, but instead focus on what your audience needs and what you have the capacity to share. But this goes beyond that to the psychology of choices and clutter. Too many links in navigation can actually hinder traffic, make it difficult for people to find what they want, and make your website unusable.
- Use The Right Tools
I love to write code with basic text editors, but I don’t create from scratch. People that work on your website need to have the best tools out there. If you are not a professional web designer, I recommend Radiant WebTools that has everything from drag and drop for the casual user to a brand new set of advanced tools to maximize your impact. Honestly, their full service might be the best solution for your church.
- Minimalism Is In
I have been a minimalist since I began to design websites. For those that do not know what this is, it is a design concept of using minimal elements that allow a strong color palette and the content to shine through. The web has always been ugly with terrible graphics. Skip that and instead jump on board with simple and beautiful.
- Tell Stories In All Mediums
A website is not just data. Yes, share your forms, point them to the time for services, and ministries that are available. But tell the story of your ministry with words, images, and video. Allow the person to fully grasp what your church is about just by the web design with faces of those you serve and worship along side.
These are just some of the ideas for doing web design for your church. What would you add to this list to improve church website designs overall?