By Drew Mooney
As a refresher of what we covered in the session, there are three main areas to consider when thinking about a church website:
- VISUAL: because the style & presentation of the website can communicate a lot about the atmosphere of the church. Not to mention that the website creates the first impression of your church for many visitors. (“good” example, “needs help” example)
- CONTENT: because there’s an appropriate amount of information that belongs on a church website, and there is a best way to present the information (good, needs help)
- USABILITY: because the site should be easy to use and navigate, and it should meet the needs of the visitors. Ask “why do people go to the site?” and “What are they looking for?” Your congregation and geographical location will determine that!
It’s best to get feedback about these three areas from staff, current members, visitors, and even strangers (if possible). That enables you to begin to think about the “how” and “what” details that arise when you’re actually ready to make changes to your site.
If you’re thinking of redoing your site, you should also evaluate your current web hosting solution. If your site is down frequently or loads slowly, you should consider finding a new web host. In general, you should look for a host that has optimized performance and excellent customer support. I don’t include “low cost” in that list because hosting is the one thing you should not skimp on when it comes to cost. You can build your site for free if you need to, but you need to pay for good hosting.
At hillsong.org we use WP Engine, which is a hosting company that’s dedicated to hosting WordPress sites. WordPress is the CMS that I recommend you use for your website. Hands down, it’s the best platform to run a church website on.
Now, once you’ve figured out a hosting solution for your new WordPress site, you’ll need to think about the look, feel, and functionality of your site. Seek out themes that offer the tools you need (ex: play sermons online, integrated calendars for events, etc.), and find one that is usable and visually appealing. Don’t get fixated overly much on colors or exact layouts; these things can be easily changed with a few simple lines of HTML and CSS. Check out the following companies/lists for theme ideas:
Drew Mooney – Growing Your Church Through Your Website