There are a sea of church websites online today. And many times, they start taking on much of the same look. While we work at making each one of the sites we create look unique, there are common features to churches that you have to include to make the website an effective one. So, how do you have a unique design that will stand out from the crowd of other church websites?
Have a Custom Website Designed
There are many templates available today to make it easy for churches to build their own website. However, that’s how you end up with a site similar to the church down the street. Have a custom website designed for your church so that it is unique and original.
Use real photos! In a pinch, stock photos are ok to use, but it’s so much better to use pictures of real people who attend your church. Find out who takes good pictures and is a regular attender of church services and events, and put them to work. There are many outdated websites out there, so having one that has fresh, current pictures that get updated often is a way to liven up your website.
When having a website designed, think about the feelings and atmosphere your want to portray, and choose colors that will help with this. Having an attractive color scheme will not only stand out in your visitors’ minds, it will also encourage them to spend more time on your site. I’ve been on sites where the colors are so bright or so contrasting, that I can’t wait to leave. Make sure you choose appropriate colors.
Colors portray different feelings. While red and orange can produce feelings of excitement, blues create a more calm and serene feeling. Think about who you are trying to reach and how you want them to feel when they visit your website (and church.)
One thing I want to mention here is to accurately represent your church. Don’t use a lot of reds or oranges on your site unless the atmosphere at your church is going to match up when someone visits. Again, color selection is important, so spend some time on it and ask for your designer’s advice if you feel unsure about what to choose.
While video is being used more on church websites today than it was, the majority are still not using it. Videos make your church come alive and give a real representation of what visitors will experience when they come to your church.
A welcome video by the pastor is a great way to introduce your leadership and church to site visitors.
Testimonial videos by some of the members of your congregation will let people know what they found at your church. They give the opportunity to those who haven’t visited your church to identify with someone right off the bat.
Some church websites have a video in the top slideshow area, featuring their worship band or giving a tour around the church. This is another way to give a more clear, real feel of your church.
A word of caution here: only use videos if they are well done and professional. Otherwise, they will not make a good impression. If you don’t have access to that kind of technology, don’t worry, just work on the other aspects of your site.
Make Sure Different “Works”
Having said all this, don’t be different just for the sake of being different. Your website is the first impression of your church, so again, be sure it represents it well. Trends come and go, so have a website that is attractive, easy to find the information people want, and kept current. Then you will have a successful and memorable site.