7 Steps to Improve Your Website Today [Create 2012 Notes]Posted June 06th 2012 @ 8:19 am by Jerod
1) Make it easy to use
- Less is more. Website interfaces can become cluttered quickly (Google vs. Yahoo).
- Know your user. Usually new users and returning church members.
- Answer the questions that your visitors are asking.
- Know your goals.
- Once you know users and goals everything else comes together easier.
- If something looks pretty but doesn’t work it’s ineffective.
- Test your site. Find people in your target groups and have them test the site to see if they get tripped-up using it.
- Limit the options. Keep navigation items to 7. Limit sidebar items. Too much choice causes confusion for a user.
- Be familiar. Your navigation has to make sense. Use clear wording in menus.
2) Keep the content updates and be consistent in those updates.
- Brochure style websites don’t cut it any longer.
- Regularly updated content will give people a reason to return.
- Users will realize they can’t depend on your website if it’s stale. If they come back a second time and things haven’t changed they won’t come back again.
- Your secretary is not a web developer. Find a content management system people, like a non tech person, can use.
- Ideas for updated content: featured events, allow commenting, community announcements, ask discussion questions, use a blog for teaching, post stories/testimonies and ministry updates.
- Don’t let a volunteer build their own thing that another person can’t use.
3) Make sure the message is clear.
- Design/look will say a lot about who you are trying to reach. It starts to tell your story before any written content.
- Voice/content. What kind of language are you using? Casual? Traditional? What events are you posting? What people are you using in images?
- If you try to reach everyone, you may reach no one.
4) Connect Your Community
- Sites that allow people to contribute will allow people to stay on your site longer.
- Examples for interaction: comments, prayer requests, private group areas, discussion boards or social media integration.
5) Use the right features.
- More features do not equal a good website.
Questions to ask before adding a feature:
- Are people asking for it?
- Can you do it well?
- Can you afford it?
- Are YOU willing to use it? You need someone to take ownership.
- Does it help you achieve your goals?
6) Assign ownership
- Put someone in charge.
- Or have several user accounts for people in different ministry areas so they can update their own areas of the website.
7) Value your website
- Be willing to review the website to make sure it’s still working.
- Budget every year for ongoing maintenance.
Web hierarchy of needs
- Have a website
- Church info: phone, address, service times, staff, ministries
- Upcoming events, community news, audio sermons
- Facebook/Twitter, online giving, video sermons
- Members area
Bonus: Things you can do now
- Make your message clear.
- Use photos of people in your church
- Make contact info and service times easy to find
- Add links to Facebook and Twitter
- Simplify your text.