Tag Archive - website

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5 Ingredients to Cooking Up a Great Church Website

I am not a web designer and I’ve never played one on TV. I don’t write code, I’m not a graphic artist and I’m not in marketing or sales. But I have visited literally hundreds of church websites.

One of the things we do at the Unstuck Group when a church goes through a Health Assessment with us is we take some time to research their website before we ever actually get onsite with that church. You can learn a lot about a church by spending some time clicking around on their website.

There’s a lot of work that goes into building a great church website. Just like churches, their websites come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. But there is a list of required ingredients that I’d encourage every church to start with.

Design it for the Guest

The best church websites are designed for the person who has never been to your church. Is it intuitive and easy for people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and churchy language to navigate? Unless you want to build a church for church people don’t design a website designed for church people. Stay away from “churchy” language and “cool ministry” names that people outside of the church have no clue what they mean or what they are. Can guests navigate the site easily without having to scroll or click too many times from the main landing page?

Give People what They’re Looking For

When guests check out your website they’re looking for a few things. In no particular order guests to your website are looking for where and when you gather. Do you have a google maps link on your site that makes it easy for guests to get there? Guests are also looking for what the experience will be like when they arrive. Videos and pictures can help with this, so can a brief description of the experience so people know what they’re getting themselves into. Guests also typically look for what the kids’ ministry is like if they have kids. They check out the staff page to see if there are “people like them” on staff (would they fit in). They may also check out your story…especially if it’s presented in a compelling manner…why do you exist, how did you get where you are, what are you like, what you’re trying to get done right now and why people should jump in and be a part of it.

Look and Feel

There are going to be a lot of opinions about the look and feel of your church website. It’s like a sermon or the volume of the worship music at your church…it’s on display for everyone to see…some people will think “it’s too loud” and some people will think “it’s not loud enough.” Wherever you land make sure the look and feel represents the true identity and personality of your church. You can do this through videos, images, stories, even the language you use. All of it should represent your culture well so people know what they’re getting. There’s nothing worse than checking out a church website that sets your expectations in a particular direction only to have those expectations undermined once you actually get there. Likewise, don’t hide a great church behind a poor website.

Measure what Works

This may a bit of a no brainer, but I’ve discovered that few churches actually track their clicks, page views, and metrics on their website. If something is not working on your site, don’t be afraid to change it or take it down off of your site.

Nuts and Bolts

These may go without saying but make sure your site is mobile friendly. More people access websites through mobile devices than desktop devices these days. Also make sure your site is secure so search engines like Google don’t burry it.


Posted in Leadership

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November’s Top 5 Posts on Helping Churches Make Vision Real

Thank you! You made these the most popular posts on “Helping Churches Make Vision Real,” during the month of November!

#1 5 Reasons we Started from Scratch with our Website

At Sun Valley we recently just completed a ground up redesign and launch of our website. Here are 5 reasons why we did, and you might want to as well.

#2 Measure What Matters

As churches are in the middle of evaluating 2012 and planning for 2013 there are a 4 critical principles about measurement that we need to keep in mind.

#3 Join me at Ignite 2013

Ignite 2013 is right around the corner and early bird pricing ends in just a month! Ignite is intentionally designed for Church Planters, Planting Teams and Pastors who want to explore planting daughter churches or launching multi-site congregations.

#4 Soul Care and the Leader

We’ve all heard the statistics. And what the statistics are telling us is that beneath the surface of appearances, a majority of pastors are hurting and discouraged. Do a quick Google search on “pastor burnout” and you’ll easily find the following statistics and more! But are we supposed to do about it?

#5 The Blame Game

Catch my interview with Rick Calcutt about his new book “The Blame Game.” It’s a great resource for developing a clear creative process at your church!


Posted in Leadership

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5 Reasons We Started from Scratch with our Website

At Sun Valley we recently just completed a ground up redesign and launch of our website. Here are 5 reasons why we did, and you might want to as well:

1. Ease of Navigation

We understand that for many people our website is their first interaction with our church. So we worked hard to simplify navigation, make it easy for people to find what they are looking for, and answer questions people were asking. It meant choosing to be clear over being cute and get rid of “insider language” and simply call stuff what it is. For example you may have a “Stephen’s Ministry” at your church (great ministry BTW). But if you’re an outsider and you’re looking for care you have no idea who Stephen is and what’s so special about his ministry.

2. Going 2.0

To be honest our last website was really nothing more than an online brochure, very 1.0. With the new website we wanted to create more of a 2.0 feel with the integration of social media (Facebook and Twitter), blogs, and media that can be easily interacted with. We want to invite conversation and interaction, not just give people information. Information doesn’t change people’s lives, relationships do.

3. Re-branding

We needed to rebuild our website not just do a facelift. It was important to us that our website more closely reflect the brand and culture of our church. We intentionally worked to keep it clean, clear, and simple. We also worked to orient the website around our pathway and help people take steps in their spiritual journey.

4. Timing

This year we recently made the change from 1 campus to three campuses. We needed a website that was consistent in brand but could be unique based on the uniqueness of each campus. With the shift to multiple campuses and the re-brand that took place in the middle of it all, it was the perfect time to tackle this project. Not to mention going live now allows us to get any bugs worked out before a wave of people we anticipate seeing this Christmas.

5. Simple Updates

A practical change we made was that we had a simple content management system built that ministries could use to update the content and keep their areas of the site current. Nothing is worse than going to a website and getting old, stale, out of date information. Instead of the old system of going through one person to make all the updates (who has time for that), the new system allows for ownership, faster decision making, and current content for users to interact with.


Posted in Creative Arts