So you want a church website, but you want to make sure it’s a good one. Like really good. Since church websites are notorious for violating some of the basic rules of web design, we’ve put together a list of the top ten features of the best church websites. Take these as the Ten Commandments of church websites. Read and heed.
- The best church websites have nice-looking church website graphics. Good graphics make a great website. Everyone recognizes the power of nice-looking graphics and pictures. Many church websites use graphical power to its full advantage by having church website banners, which are a great way to feature beautiful church website graphics. Good graphics is number one on the list, because it’s really important.
- The best church websites have readable text. A website features words. Those words should be readable. Having readable text means that the font color should contrast well with the background color, the text should be large enough, and there should be plenty of white space between lines, and around the text.
- The best church websites display design consistency throughout the entire site. Nothing is as disconcerting as a website with a disconnected design. Make sure the same menu is present on all the pages. Visitors should always know that they’re still on your church website.
- The best church websites have intuitive navigation. A church website flops if people can’t find their way around. People want to find what they’re looking for. “What does this church believe?” “How do I find the church?” “What can I expect if I visit?” “What are the service times?” The best church website is easy for users to find their way around. “Intuitive navigation” simply means that the navigation is really, really obvious. It hits you in the face (in a nice way, of course).
- The best church websites are simple. “Simple” in web-speak doesn’t mean limited in functionality or in depth of resources. To say that a website is simple is one of the highest compliments that you can give a website. It means that a website is organized and cohesive. People crave simplicity when it comes to navigating on the web, when using a piece of software, or when using a new tool. Oh, for simplicity. I’ve visited church websites that must have been designed to push people to the brink of insanity. Flashing fonts. Whirling ads. Pulsating banners. Tragically small fonts. Messed up tables. Makes you want to die. The best church websites are simple in their design. Simplicity is both an aesthetic advantage and a navigation benefit.
- The best church websites are easy to update. Don’t forget that a church website is only as good as it is current and updated. Not only should the website be great for visitors to view, but it should also be accessible by the church leadership team. Too many websites perish and die because the only guy who could update them is the thirty-year-old-guy-living-in-his-parents-basement-who-used-to-go-to-church-and-said-he-would-make-the-church-website-for-cheap-but-he-stopped-going-to-church-and-nobody-knows-where-he-is.
- The best church websites load quickly and universally. Very few people will sit patiently in front of a computer screen for several minutes, waiting for a website to load. For that reason, a church website should load quickly. The website should also be universally accessible, meaning that it should be viewable by any web browser or mobile device.
- The best church websites are informational. I’ve been to church websites that provide no information. Like none. Maybe a name, and that’s about it. People appreciate church websites that are complete—that is the websites answers most of the questions about the church. Where is it? What kind of church? When are the services? How do I dress? Answer the basic questions, and you’ll have an informational website. Note that it is possible to go a bit too far on this point. A church website that overloads the viewer with information is not helpful.
- The best church websites have reliable web hosting. Although the website itself is crucial, there’s something behind the website that makes the whole thing tick. It’s the web hosting service. Make sure you sign up with a consistent and reliable web hosting service. This matters. Why? Because a shoddy (read: “the cheapest we could find!”) web hosting service means that you could suffer site outages frequently. It is even better if you can find a Christian web hosting service that maintains a commitment to hosting reputable sites, and understands the needs and purposes of its Christian clientele. (We’ll talk about this more in another post.)
- The best church websites are up-to-date. This last point is extremely important. The church website must, must, must be kept up to date. A church website is a crucial communication point between the church and its members, community, and the world at large. Having outdated or inaccurate information is worse than having no information. If you are going to go to the trouble and expenditure of having a church website, you must make sure that you keep your information current.
It may seem overwhelming, but these ten rules of church websites aren’t that intense. In fact, many of them are just simple common sense. But if you follow them, you’ll be well on your way to having one of the world’s best church websites.
If there was ever a time to remain or become a Sharefaith member, it is now!