Building and maintaining a website isn’t easy, especially when many churches are underfunded and understaffed. Yet a website is the first contact many new people will have with a church and it’s a place regulars go to find information. A communicator’s goal is to remove barriers from people getting the information they need. Below are some common website mistake you can tackle to make your church site better.
Images are too small. Pictures and illustrations drive website content. Images are growing. Text is shrinking. A small thumbnail size image is not what web users expect. Think of pictures or illustrations as a storytelling tool and use them as a way for people to see who your church really is.
Cluttered design. Resist the urge to pack too much onto one page. Leave breathing room. Create clear navigation of where people can go to find more information if they desire. Chunked grouping of information makes it easier for people to scan and consume.
Information overload. Just like design can get bogged down with too much clutter, so can your actual writing. You don’t have to include every single detail about your church or project. A key part of a communicator’s job is editing. Simplify your message. Remove unneeded explanations. Make basic information easy to find. Find the right balance of providing just enough detail without going overboard.
Outdated. A website can look old in style or be loaded with out of date content. Both are bad in showing who you really are and how committed you are to reaching people. Website design is never a once and done proposition. Regular updating is needed.
In terms of look, spend time exploring what other churches and organizations are doing online to learn trends. Avoid drastic fads because they’re likely to be come dated more quickly and result in larger scale redesigns.
When it comes to content, some areas of your site will be more evergreen than others. Identify areas that need regular content updating and set a schedule for making changes.
Not mobile friendly. More than 60% of Americans and 70% of Canadians own Smartphones. More and more, they’re becoming the primary way people access the web regardless of screen size. How does your site look and function for mobile users? Consider responsive design the next time you update your site. The technology makes your website mobile ready for any screen size. (You can read more about responsive sites here.)