When was the last time you redesigned your church’s website? If you’re still sitting on the initial copy of your site designed more than three years ago, it’s time to talk about a website redesign.
A website redesign isn’t just about keeping up with design trends (although that’s certainly part of it), it’s about reaching your members and prospects the way they want to be reached, having your site show up in relevant searches, offering opportunities for engagement on platforms where they are comfortable and giving them a glimpse into your culture before they ever attend a service. It can play a big part in your church marketing efforts.
Most website redesign projects start with two questions:
- What do you love most about your current site?
- What would you like for your current site to do that it doesn’t do now?
Before you connect with a developer you can talk to people who use your site regularly or who field questions about the site regularly. Make a list of functions you’d like your site to have when it’s finished.
Also start a list of church websites you really like. Those sites will give your developer an idea of the design style and functionality you like.
Speaking of style, a developer should also ask a lot of questions about your church and its ministries. Look for someone interested in not just building a generic church website, but building a website that reflects the character and personality of your congregation. Every church has a personality whether it’s traditional, contemporary, child oriented, teen led or family centered. The style of your website will either attract or turn off prospects. Make sure to choose a developer interested in getting to know your church before they get your church’s money.
Now you’re ready to start the search for a developer that meets those needs. Websites for churches offer a glimpse into the life and personality of a church. A church with four campuses and a Sunday morning attendance of 1500 will differ greatly from a church with one campus and 250 in attendance on Sunday morning. Regardless of which class you fall into, look for a designer with experience working with organizations of your size.
Websites aren’t built in a day, so be prepared to go through many approvals before the final site is launched. Our basic website project timeline looks something like this:
Gather information from the client on the style and function of the site they would like to see.
- Send a first proof of the site design.
- Revise design proof until client is happy. (This approval process may hold up the timeline, but we want it to be right before we move on.)
- Develop the site with functionality built in. (This typically takes six weeks.)
- Add content. (One of the most tedious parts of the process.)
- Review and proof.
- Launch the site.
As our staff works through the process, we reach out to the client for approvals throughout the process. From the design of the site itself to the content and images for the site, we’re in contact with our clients almost every week.
If you have images you’d like to use, make sure to let your developer know that up front. It could save you a lot on stock images the developer has to license. However, make sure you have good quality images. Remember the discussion a few paragraphs up about ensuring your website reflects the personality of your church and attracts the people you want to attract? Nothing turns people away from a fantastic website faster than poor images. A few great images will always win over a ton of bad ones.
Expect your redesign to last for several months. Expect to make several approvals and changes throughout the process. Expect the final edits and proofing to feel tedious. But also expect the final outcome to represent your church to prospects and your members in a positive way.