The Best Church Website Design Tips
A lot of flack has been given for poor church website design in the past, but that trend has progressively seen some change over the past few years. As time goes on, certain church website design choices and features have proven to make a huge positive difference in terms of public opinion and attendance from church website visitors. To help you make your church website the best it can be, check out these church website design tips that include quick, simple demonstrations on the easiest way to create a church website that leaves a lasting impression.
Adding images to your church website design is a given, but there are a few things that most churches don’t think about when they add images to their website.
- Compress images ahead of time.
One of the most notorious mistakes people make is using these gigantic high resolution images on their pages. Massive images means massive load times, which is a big concern to avoid. You can use services like kraken.io and others to compress your images and convert them for the web before you put them on the site. By doing that ahead of time, you save on your site storage and severely reduce load times on your pages, making things much smoother for everyone.
- Optimizing images for search engines.
Search engine crawlers can’t just run across an image and tell what it is supposed to be, that’s why there are two ways that search engines can tell what an image is about. One is the filename of the image and the other is the ALT tag. Make sure that you include your search keyword in both of those areas to make sure that your images help your search engine ranking.
- Find a good source for images.
If you’re looking for a lot of great Christian media, I happen to know of an amazing website where you can gain access to over 78,000 media resources for churches, called Sharefaith.com.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to add images and graphics to your church website.
One of the biggest draws to a church website, both for current members of your congregation and for potential visitors, is the ability to listen to sermon recordings. If someone misses a service or is looking for a new church and wants to listen to some of the teachings ahead of time, making your sermons available to listen to online is a big help in driving traffic to your website. When it comes to providing your sermons for others to listen to, there are a few things you should keep in mind to help you get the most engagement.
- Record them in MP3 format.
MP3 format is perfect for online playback, because it’s widely compatible with just about every audio player and browser out there and it’s easy to keep the files to a manageable size for upload and download.
- Make a podcast.
Apart from your website, it’s helpful to create a podcast feed with your sermons so people can subscribe to it and listen to new sermons as they’re published.
- Add notes and video.
You don’t have to stop at just uploading the audio file. Others may prefer to watch the sermon or have some notes to follow along with, such as a PDF or PowerPoint presentation.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to add sermon audio to your church website.
Good design is crucial in a website these days as it’s becoming more and more common for potential new visitors to check out a church online before attending. Your church’s website will usually be the first thing that new visitors see, meaning that you want to do your best to make a good first impression when they see your site. Here are some crucial church website design tips.
The purpose of good design is good functionality and making sure that your layout and design choices mesh together to provide an excellent user experience is key. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate and content is easy to digest, before you worry about prettying it up.
- Color scheme.
Whether you’re looking to use your logo colors or mix in some different schemes or patterns, you should get some ideas for colors that go well together and how they accentuate the page or section they’re being used in. Your color choices should enhance the look of your church website design, not distract from it.
- Font selection.
These days, we’re not just limited to Times New Roman or Arial for fonts. Web browsers can use much more modern and decorative fonts to open up new possibilities. Just remember that the point of text is to be read, so make choices that are legible. Also, limit yourself to just 2 or 3 fonts and designate areas where each is used. Paragraph text should be consistently the same font, as should headers. Exceptions should only be with your logo and graphics on your site.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to change your church website design.
Part of good design involves making the best use of your space. Think of your website as a canvas that you need to populate with content that’s creative and meaningful. Here are a few things to consider when laying out your church website.
- Use grid-based layouts.
Ideally, you want to minimize the amount of scrolling someone has to do to read or even find the content they’re looking for on your site. By using a grid-based layout, it makes better use of your space across the page, by separating content into rows and columns, rather than just continuous paragraphs.
- Draw things out on paper first.
Take some time to draw and write things down with good ol’ fashioned pen and paper to help you visualize how you want your page to look. Consider where you want to place text along with any media on the page to see how you want them to correlate with each other.
- Determine the purpose of each section.
Each section needs to tell a part of the story that makes the bigger picture of the page. For example, if you have an About page and want to talk about the church’s mission, vision, and staff, all on the same page, you want each of those topics to have their own clearly defined section that breaks things up and makes the information easier to take in for your website visitors.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to get the perfect layout for your church website design.
With YouTube reporting that users watch more than 3 billion hours of video per month, and that mobile video consumption goes up by 100% every year, there’s no doubt that video has a very strong influence to online viewers. By adding video to your church’s website, you give yourself some awesome perks.
- Boost your search engine ranking.
One of the criteria Google and other search engines use when ranking a site is how much time people spend on a site. Mist Media reports that the average internet user spends 88% more time on a site with video, which means that incorporating a short, engaging video on your site helps to keep people on your site and looks good to Google.
- Grab people’s attention.
Many people may not be willing to read through a long article on your site, but will watch a quick video that makes the information easier to consume and retain.
- Show your church’s personality.
Including videos of real people from your church gives your church website design more personality, and keeps it from being a faceless entity in the eyes of your website visitors.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to add video to your church website.
Live streaming has quickly become a major instrument for churches to reach their members anywhere in real time. But with all the growing commotion of live streaming as a new major form of communication, here are some much needed tips on the easiest way to add live streaming to your site.
- Embed the player.
Make sure that the service you use allows you to embed the player on your site. Some services only let you link to the player on their site. Whenever you have the option, it’s better to embed the player and keep the user on your site.
- Interact with viewers.
Live streaming is popular, because of the added experience of interaction with others. It adds another dimension to interact through chat or even just to have a chat box where viewers can all comment and interact with each other. Tlk.io is a good free chat system that you can embed on your site and moderate.
- Premium vs. Free.
Free options are great for starting out and building your streaming audience, but lack a variety of features and apply extra restrictions on time and what they allow you to feature. Premium services open a world of possibilities with better tracking, higher quality, intuitive systems, and typically integrate with free options so you get the best of both worlds.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to live stream through your church website.
As time goes on, you’ll probably find yourself in a position where you’re ready to pull the plug on your current website and look for something fresh to give your online presence some new energy and better functionality. Let’s look at three major things to consider when rebooting your church website and migrating to a new service.
- Gather hosting and domain data.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to someone who is looking to revive their church’s website and doesn’t even know where their current site is hosted, who the domain is registered through, or how to find any of that. Make sure to get everything together and make some calls if you need to so you have everything lined up.
- Backup data.
Make sure to save any content or media from your old church website design that you want to keep and reuse. Once you have the new site, you may decide to update these later, but if you think there’s a chance you’ll use them again, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Email addresses.
If you have any email addresses that have your domain at the end, don’t forget to find out where those are setup through and take note of any changes you need to make with your domain and email servers when you make the move.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to migrate your church website to Sharefaith.
Calendars are a staple for church websites. But there are so many online calendars you can choose from and a few steps involved when it comes to actually getting the calendar on your site. Here’s why I recommend using Google Calendar.
- It’s free.
Let’s get the most obvious advantage out of the way. Google Calendar is a free service that ties in with your Google account, and has all the essential features most churches are looking for.
- Displays on your website.
Not all calendar services are equal and many don’t even allow you to embed the calendar on your own website. Hey, if it’s your church’s events, don’t you want that to be visible on your church’s own website? Makes sense to me.
- Easy to share.
Nowadays, just about everyone has a Google account for Gmail, Google Docs, you name it. It’s free and easy to set up, which means anyone can easily share your events online with others and even set a reminder for themselves about your church’s upcoming events.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to add a Google Calendar to your church website.
These days, the amount of cash and check transactions are rapidly decreasing while more and more people turn to using their card to pay for things. Whether it’s online shopping, giving, or even buying cookies for a fundraiser, more and more people are making the switch to plastic. For that reason, online giving is becoming an essential platform for every church, so allow me to share some tips with online giving.
- Make it easy to find.
Don’t make people have to hunt to find where they can give at. Make a navigation tab for it, keep the URL simple like “example.com/give” and put that information everywhere, not just your website, but on your bulletin, in your announcement slides, in your newsletter—the point is to make things easier for your church to give.
- Text giving.
Text giving is something that is surging in popularity as people can simply text an amount to a special phone number for your church and make a secure transaction in a couple seconds, making it even faster and easier than conventional online giving.
- Giving kiosks.
Online giving doesn’t have to be limited to people using their own devices, your church can also set up a tablet or computer in your entryway and provide signage or marking to make it easy to identify as a kiosk where people can come enter their card information or even sometimes swipe their card through a reader to give that way.
Watch the above video to learn the easiest way to add online giving to your church website.
You can do a free demo of Sharefaith church websites today and see why over 10,000 churches trust Sharefaith as their church website provider. Sharefaith is a leading provider in church solutions, including: church websites, over 78,000 worship media graphics and resources, church mobile apps, kids Bible lessons and activities for Sunday School, worship presentation software, online giving and donations, and live streaming. If you’d like to check out more church website design tips through Sharefaith Academy, you can see our other church web design article, here or check out our YouTube playlist, here.