As we come to the end of 2013 – I thought it would be worth taking a look at what we can expect from church websites in the coming year.
Churches that haven’t already figured it out will realise that many people are visiting their website on devices like phones, tablets, gaming consoles and more – as well as traditional computers. These people are served much better if they can see the site without having to zoom or scroll around a huge site on a small screen.
Any church websites launching (or relaunching) would be silly to not be responsive – meaning the site will alter it’s appearance to suit the size of the device it is being used on.
We’ll see more and more churches utilising HUGE fullscreen images that seem to bleed off the page. A technique used extensively in print design, increased download speeds have brought it to websites too.
Big images can be emotionally engaging, drawing the user into the page to find out more. It does mean, however, there is a much greater importance placed on the quality of those images. So start looking for great ones!
More and more churches will decide that a huge website with lots of pages is not for them. We’ll see plenty of websites where the majority of the content is contained inside a single page. Users will navigate by scrolling down the page through different sections.
My great hope for the coming year is that will stop relying on a carousel on the homepage of their website. I’ve written about carousels before – you know, the slideshow of content that lets every stakeholder have their own spot on the homepage for 4 seconds?
The fact of the matter is that these are horribly ineffective – slides beyond the first are rarely clicked on, and the movement often acts as more of a distraction than anything else.
I hope we’ll start to see more clever solutions like the one used by Hillsong – A single large image with a small portion in the corner to scroll through important news/information.
In 2014 we will see more and more churches change the way they organise their site. Rather than organising the website around internal structure or ministries, the will start to organise the content around what their users and visitors need.
We will see landing pages targeted at first time visitors, returning visitors and existing members – all with different content suited exactly to the type of user. Churches like Northwood & Lifewater are already doing this.
Church websites in 2014 will be much more transparent and realistic about the people and processes within the church. We’ll see less stock photography, generic design and sugar coated presentation.
There will more photos of actual church members, and behind the scenes instagrams and photos of services and ministries. More churches will tell real life stories of their staff and members – rather than trying to have an overly polished, faultless appearance.
So what trends do YOU think we will see in church websites in 2013? If you’re looking for a new Church Website -We’d love to talk to you about ChurchSites – a new product for cost-effective but beautiful Church websites.
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