Websites are fantastic resources that can give people huge amounts of information about a church community – its activities, people, history, worship style, service times and even the gospel message itself. It’s something they can read at any time of the day or night. And it’s an unthreatening way of reaching people, as they are likely to be reading it while sitting in their own home. Yet how often are church websites either non-existent, out-of-date, or simply badly designed – leaving the frustrated web surfer unable to access the information they want.
As with every other element of your church’s communication, you need to ask who a website is aimed at – your congregation, tourists, or non-churchgoers who live locally? The answers to those questions should dictate its content, and its design.
For instance, notice how Hart Plain Church’s website doesn’t just give out information that the church thinks people need to know. The designer has thought about the kind of questions that unchurched people might have and listed them as menu buttons on the left-hand side of each page. The modern design also suggests a lively, up-to-date church.
For other examples, it’s best to actually look at the websites themselves and explore:
The website of Portsmouth’s Anglican diocese was also designed with the non-churchgoers in mind. Questions about Jesus, stories of people’s faith, help on where to find the nearest church and how the church can help with significant life events are on the home page. There’s similar thinking at work on the Church of England’s website, See also the use of colour on the re:jesus website – it helps the user to know exactly where they are.
These days, it’s also vital for your website to be responsive – which means to automatically re-size to look good on mobile phones and tablets. Look at the website for St Mary’s Church, Alverstoke, in Gosport, on your various devices to see how it changes shape. If your church’s website doesn’t look good on a mobile, you will end up disenfranchising many for whom it is their only or preferred way of looking online.
For help in creating a church website with a ready-made design, why not try Church Edit?