Church web design can be a tricky thing. Everyone on your staff will have a different opinion on what you need and there are a whole host of vendors out there who offer church specific solutions. What gets overlooked though is that church websites aren’t shaped by the design, they are shaped by audience they are intended for.
Lately, I have begun exploring the possibility of redesigning our church website. This of course has led our web team to ask a lot of questions. However, the question that seems to rise to the top is, who is our church website designed for? After doing some research I find the most church websites fall into two different camps.
This is the type of website that caters to those who are either seeking a church or seeking faith itself. This is reflective in the menu and content. The menu focuses on basic visitor information such as time, directions, location, staff and a brief “about us” paragraph. If there are visuals on the front page, they are used to communicate the church’s mission.
This type of approach seems to be used by a lot young churches as they are starting out. The challenge for these churches is sustaining this type of design as your church body grows more diverse and you begin add more church programming.
This type of website usually tends to be more event driven and can often use internal language on the site as well. The menu is usually geared towards information for current members/attenders or visitors already familiar with the church. There is still information for visitors, however it is usually a smaller subset of information on the page.
I see this happen a lot with established church’s who are still building their digital presence. The website for those church’s is really just an digital version of the Sunday bulletin. Of course, this means that these churches could be missing out on potential visitors.
Is There a Middle Ground?
I think there is room for a middle ground. However, that middle ground is best achieved by bringing in designers and experts to help speak into your design. Let these experts have an honest discussion about your content, strategy and your goals. Also let them speak into your processes to make sure that “feature creep” (adding more features slowly over time, until your site becomes overloaded) doesn’t occur.
Is it time for you and church to take an inventory of its website’s purpose and goals?
Question, who is your intended audience for your church website?
Was that a factor when it was designed?