When designing your church website, there are many options. What should you include? Consider some or all of these components: • An eye-catching color scheme • Optimized images • Rotating Banners • Multimedia • User interaction • Newsletter registration • Content Management System • Site map • Social media icons • High quality content
The color scheme is a critical. Color is a mood enhancer, and can trigger a host of different emotions. Consider your congregation, their preferences, age, liberalism or conservatism, culture, popular local sports teams, etc. You may want to simply reflect the interior or exterior colors of your building, for a sense of identity. Before selecting a color scheme, take a look at various sites and see what you find pleasing.
Along with the color scheme, images are key to creating a visually pleasing website. Images not only break up the text, but they can help to illustrate it, as well as giving visitors a visual representation of your congregation. Choose images that are warm and inviting, evocative of a caring community and paint a favorable picture of your ministry. Make sure your photos are professional in quality and not taken from someone's cell phone camera.
Rotating banners are an effective way of displaying a greater number of images on your website without cluttering it up. They can also be used to advertise upcoming events, and effectively expand the usable space of your page. For maximum effectiveness, add other forms of multimedia to your site, such as digital podcasts of sermons, or short digital videos taken from recent services or church events.
User interaction can be accomplished through the use of online events calendars, prayer requests, donation modules, and registration forms for various church events, as well as to sign up to receive an electronic church newsletter via email.
A content management system allows different users to update different portions of the website, so that the minister can post a blog, for instance, without having to go through the webmaster.
A site map is your visitor's "you are here" sign, allowing them to navigate directly to the page they're looking for. Social media icons allow users to "like" your page on Facebook, Twitter or a variety of other social media sites, share content from your church's website, or even to go directly to your church's social media pages, if you have them.
Lastly, high quality content is crucial. This is the meat and potatoes of your site. Make sure all of your blogs, descriptions, captions and other content are spelled correctly, use easily understood language with proper grammar, and are interesting and informative. This is the most difficult part of all, and will likely require a large number of participants and one very good editor.
For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of "The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online." or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School.