The Church website always has great potential. However the potential that you choose to exploit needs some careful thought. At websites4Christians we can supply Christian websites that cover a large array of features, from photo galleries right through to the newsletter. The key however is to decide what might work for you and your church.
Some of the features you might want to think about are:
It can be quite daunting thinking where to start when starting to build a church website. Often people are put off because there are too many choices. My advice is generally always the same – “start small and build”. Although it’s tempting to try to do lots of things all at once it often proves counter productive. The church website needs initially to be focused on one or two things. Perhaps building up content and then building in some other features. Generally speaking you should try to reach at least 30 pages before trying too much else. 30 might sound an arbitrary figure but if you think about it it makes sense. Unless there is something to come and visit people won’t come to the website so you need a decent amount for them to read.
A good plan is to think initially in terms of the buttons across the top of the screen. You should aim for no more than seven. There should probably be a home, contact and about us menu items. These can then be accompanied by an array of other buttons. Don’t worry if you don’t have seven to start, go with three or four until you’ve worked out what else you want on the church website.
One you’ve decided on a few buttons start thinking about the content of the pages. The easiest is normally the contact button page. This is generally a photo or two of key people and email and telephone contact details. It also helps to embed a map of the church location and if it’s not obvious perhaps some written instructions. Remember to include the full postal address because lots of people need the postcode for their sat nav!
Next move onto the home page. This is the page where most people will start off their site visit so it’s worth spending time thinking about what you’re going to add to the page. To start with you need to be realistic about how often you’ll want the page updated. If you use websites4Christians then you can tell us dates for updates however if you’re getting someone in the church to update the church website you need to be honest about how often it’ll happen. My experience is that it’ll happen a lot at the start and then fall away. Armed with this knowledge you need to decide on whether the page will be current all the time (daily of weekly news) or more of a general introduction page that doesn’t date easily – there is no point in putting up Christmas material if it’s still going to be there at Easter or indeed the summer holidays!
Finally move to the about page. This can contain a lot of things. Often it contains something about the beliefs of the church. It is the place on the church website that sets out for new (or existing) members the beliefs of the church and how they manifest themselves in the day to day life.
Now you’ll have three pages ready to go. If you’re building the site yourself simply load them up. If you’re working with us then we’ll already have discussed the next steps.
Finally, please remember that even if you’re not getting us to build your church website I’m always happy to chat about what you’re doing and give you free advice on how to make things work. Just drop me a line, use the contact form or give me a call.