Website Design Principles

Website Design Principles

Posted on 13. Oct, 2011 by in Website

1. Design the website making people who have never been to your church your main priority.
People who have been to your church are much more willing to click around your site to look for the information they want then people who have never been to your church. So make the stuff potential visitors want to know the easiest to find.

2. Information visitors want to find when on your site:

  • When and where you meet: This should be the easiest thing on your site to find. Do not hide this information on an “About” page or somewhere else. Both a 10 year old and an 80 year old should be able to find this information within 10 seconds of being on your site. It should be impossible to visit your website and not know when and where you meet. If you don’t have this information listed on the home page, the direct link to it should be clearly labeled and only one click away.
  • Staff: Being that you are a new church, people will be curious to know a little about the person who is starting this venture. Offering a little more than your name is expected. Help them get to know you so they will feel more comfortable coming to your church. Include pictures, family information, why you like living in this town, what you enjoy, where you went to school, etc.
  • What to expect when I get there: what to wear, childcare, music style, etc.
  • Sermons: Before you launch, you can post some sermons you’ve preached in the past or at preview services. Once you’ve had your first service you can take them off.
  • Something to give them a sense of what it would be like to visit your church. When people are looking for a church, there’s nothing worse then showing up at a church and realizing 5 minutes into the service that this isn’t the place for them. Because of this, when they visit your website, they are wanting to get a read on whether or not this is the kind of church they want to visit. Think about what you can do to communicate the look and feel of your church on the website.
  • Current sermon series. If I come to your church this weekend, what will you be talking about? Whether you are doing a topical series or book study, make sure you present it in such a way that would compel someone to want to hear more about it.

2. Above the Fold vs. Below the Fold.
This is a concept carried over from the newspaper business. When a newspaper is displayed for sale it is folded in half. The most important information is placed above the fold. On a website there is what someone sees when the site first loads up, and then there is often more content available when someone scrolls down. Make sure the most important information that you want potential visitors to see is above the fold. For instance, don’t make the only place to find your church’s meeting time and location in the footer where it won’t be seen unless someone scrolls down. There is a good chance they might never scroll down to see it.

3. Stock Photos vs. Actual Pictures
While using stock photos may seem unauthentic, it is normally a better choice than using pictures taken by someone in your church. If you have someone who can take professional quality pictures, then by all means use them. If not, find pictures that don’t have people in them or look for realistic looking stock photography that reflects what your church actually looks like. For a small groups page, a picture of an empty couch is better than a cheesy photo of five multi-ethnic people looking like they’re having the best time ever reading the Bible. Here’s the order of what to use from best to worst:
1. Professional pictures taken of people and events at your church
2. Graphic design or stock photos that don’t include people
3. Authentic looking stock photography
4. Really good amateur photography
5. Cheesy stock photos and point and click pics.
6. Photocopy era clip art

4. Keep information current.
Make sure that whatever website company or program you use for your site is one that you can easily edit. There is nothing worse then having outdated content. Since your church will go through many changes in the pre-launch to post-launch phases, it is important that you don’t have old information buried on your site for people to find. An example of this is having a post that mentions that you are only meeting on the first Sunday of every month for preview services after you’ve launched and are having weekly services.

5. Promote upcoming events, but don’t use a calendar.
Potential visitors will not pull up your calendar and click on various dates throughout the month to see what’s going on each day. Instead find a way to either list up coming events or individually promote them with graphics or dedicated pages.

6. Don’t Use Flash
Many smart phones and tablets are not able to display sites that use animated graphics.  As of the writing of this post, all iphones, itouch, and ipads are not able to load a website designed with flash.  There’s always the option of creating a separate mobile website, but I’ve always hated these. The user experience is never the same and sometimes I’m not sure I’m on the right site when it doesn’t come up like it did on my computer.  Further, while flash animation may look cool, it’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for on a flash site and often the content you can load up is limited.  Many flash sites are built on templates that only allow you to add text and perhaps a picture to each page in order to conform to the flash template.  Other multimedia elements such as videos and podcasts usually require the use of annoying pop-up windows.  If you want animation on your site, there are plenty of other non-flash ways of doing it that are compatible across all devices.

7. Do not feature a picture of yourself on the home page.
You’re not selling real estate or insurance.

Related posts:

  1. WordPress Website Design
  2. Church Website Research
  3. SEO – Without It, Your Website Is Invisible
  4. Website vs. Blogging as a Church Planter
  5. Website: The New Yellow Pages




27. Mar, 2012

Great post. Just fyi it is an iPod Touch, not an itouch.

Posturi TV Online

30. Jan, 2014

TV ONLINE GRATUIT Urmareste Programe TV Online, Posturi TV Online Romania direct din fata calculatorului tau!

filme online

06. Mar, 2014

Filme Online

Chestionare Auto

01. Nov, 2014

Hi. Can i Share Website Design Principles to my Facebook page?

Leave a reply