Health and Growth

3 Critical Features of a Church Website Platform

Use these three criteria to help you pick a church website platform that will grow with your church, rather than become outdated.

3 Critical Features of a Church Website Platform

Guest Author

The reason many churches might not have a well-designed website is that maybe at the time the budget wasn't there. They either had to take the cheapest contractor or they had to find a volunteer. And we love volunteers. They're the lifeblood of the church, but sometimes maybe that's not the best designer that was available to you. And so, often your site can end up lacking in some areas that maybe left you with a design that left a bit to be desired.

Or maybe it was beautifully designed, but we just see that how fast the web changes over time. And so, maybe now the design has just simply fallen out of date and maybe it's lacking in some areas. Or the site has just broken over time and different people getting in there with different, new content has left the design really broken. That's sometimes why your design might not be where you want it to be.

In order to solve this problem well, you need to be on a platform that allows your design to be dynamic, which means it allows you to set it up in such a way that you can add the content you want and things are still going to look really good. You're not set up in a rigid way because the reality is that the week after you launch your website, you're going to want to make some changes.

That's just the reality of running a church as there's always things happening. We want to be on a platform that allows us to make those changes and we want to use large, engaging images. That is such a key factor when people are on a site: Are the images engaging? It's not just about the design. It's not just about the colors you use. It's also about those images and how they portray your community.

Take the time to set up the right images and follow good design principles. Make sure there's enough white space. Make sure you're using beautiful typography in which header fonts and paragraph fonts are paired well. Not every church leader or volunteer is going to have the ability to provide that. To really understand how to implement these principles, to help the design breathe, it's important to grasp how subconscious those design principles can be. If there's white space, we feel calm when we're looking at a design. If it's cluttered and there's no space between the elements on your website, then it can instantly increase anxiety as people are on your site and they're not going to want to be there too much longer.

And finally, I think one key tip that I'd really want to stress is to move your church onto a platform that's going to allow your site to adjust its design over time because as the needs come and go, or as the church does a rebrand, having to build an entirely new website can become incredibly costly. It can take a lot of time. You want to get on a platform that will actually allow you to make those adjustments without having to rebuild the entire site from scratch.

This is actually one area of Sites that I love: we allow you to jump into an area we call site design, where you can actually adjust the header, adjust the footers, adjust the colors, adjust all the default image and set those things up beautifully, automatically, and with minimal effort. Let's say one day you decide to rethink, retool, and redesign your church website completely. With Sites, there's no additional cost and there are no additional developer fees. You actually can just jump right in our automated church building interface, without knowing anything about coding—it's a simple drag-and-drop interface—and completely pick from a new template or just go and tweak that design as much as you want so that it feels like it represents where your church is now and the design you're looking for today.

So, the key things churches should think about are: you want a website that's going to allow you to adjust content ongoing without completely breaking your design. Here's the deal: the week after you launch your website, you're going to want to change things and we still want that site to look great. So, be on a platform that allows your content to change and evolve and still look good.

Second, use really strong design principles, and I'm not talking about anything too technical—it just means leaving white space in order to let the content breathe. It's amazing how much of a subconscious difference that can make for a site that feels cluttered and uncomfortable versus one that lets you breathe and lets you just take your time through it and you're actually okay to hang out on for a little while.

And finally, the third point is that the needs of your church brand will evolve over time. So, you want to be on a platform that's actually going to allow you to jump in and change the design without having to scrap the whole website and build a whole new one or call a developer and have to pay them a whole bunch of money. So, those are three really key pieces there. And so what's really fun. Sites allows you to do all those things and easily jump into your settings and actually make all those changes.

Show Notes

Read the full blog of this episode here:

Today on Modern Church Leader, Sites team lead Matt Morrison explains thethree criteria to help you pick a church website platform that will grow with your church, rather than become outdated.

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3 Critical Features of a Church Website Platform