3 Keys to Websites That Work (Part 2)
The Church is God’s chosen instrument to bring hope and healing to a broken world. To be the most effective instrument, we must be able to communicate clearly and effectively in an increasingly digital world. What’s more, future growth in our churches depends on our digital communication strategies.
Fundamentals of Websites That Work
Today, we’ll focus on Key #2 – Design. If you missed the earlier post on Purpose, you can read it here.
- Purpose. Everything starts with purpose. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
- Design. Websites need to function with as little friction as possible, with a compelling design that reflects who we are as a church.
- Future. We need a website that can grow and evolve. The last thing we want is to create something that becomes irrelevant or ineffective every time technology evolves or a staff person or volunteer moves on.
Why Does This Matter?
If you’re in the real estate market to buy a house, you’re likely to hear the term “curb appeal.” Curb appeal is how nice a house looks from “the curb.” It’s the impression a house makes when someone sees it from the outside for the first time. The inside of the house might be newly renovated with the latest and greatest design and furnishings, but if the curb appeal is bad, many people will never set foot inside.
Our church websites create the equivalent of curb appeal for our churches. We are competing for attention in a very crowded and noisy digital world. Websites that create friction or confusion will not earn the attention of our intended audience. And, without their attention, we lose our opportunity to share our message and invite them to join our community. It is the design of our websites that helps cut through the digital clutter and noise to earn the attention of our intended audience.
Upping Your Curb Appeal
No matter your budget, staffing, or website tools of choice, the following principles will help make any website design more compelling.
- Function First. Friction is the enemy! The most beautifully designed website in the world will not work if it doesn’t function well for your audience. Friction is anything that creates drag or slows a visitor down on your website. If a visitor has to think too much when navigating your site, they are going to leave. If you use insider language they don’t understand, they’re gone. If you fill your pages with too much text, not enough images, and make the clickable links difficult to find, you lose your audience. Everything about your website design must start with function.
- If You Confuse, You Lose. All of our churches are sharing the story of God’s love and purpose for our world. But, how is your church living into that story? Each community and context are unique and the way each church serves its community is also unique. Do you offer worship services in Spanish? Does the LGBTQ+ community in your area know they are welcome at your church? Do you have online worship options for people in senior living facilities? People are busy. Very busy. If you are going to earn their attention, let alone their time, talent, and investment, then you have to avoid confusion at all costs. People will not join your church if they don’t know who you are, what you are about, and why that is relevant for their lives. Your website design must eliminate confusion so your audience hears your message loud and clear.
- Consistency Creates Clarity. One of the hallmarks of effective brands is their consistency. The colors, typography, and messaging are always aligned with the branding. Again, your church’s website is the digital front door, creating curb appeal for the “brand” of your church. Consistency is key. Consistency creates clarity. Clarity builds confidence. Confidence leads to action.
A compelling website, designed with these principles in mind, also conveys professionalism. If you are going to stand out, amongst the digital clutter and noise, to earn the attention of your intended audience, your website design needs to consistently and clearly communicate that your church is a competent organization with a compelling story your community is invited to join.
Matt Williams is responsible for Resurrection's web presence and is part of the Marketing & Engagement Team. Prior to Resurrection, Matt was a baseball coach and entrepreneur. He founded and operated multiple successful businesses in the youth baseball industry. He and his wife, Kristin, are the proud parents of Brayden, Ella and Connor.