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Church website trends for 2014

Posted on 29/12/13 in Websites

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.

Responsive Church Websites

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.

Find out more about Responsive Design.

BIG Images

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!

Have a look at Changepoint Alaska & Southland City for some church websites with beautiful big images.

One Page Church Websites

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.

Check out Hillsong, Kingdom City & Renewal CC for some great examples.

Lose the Carousel

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.

Focus on the User

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.

Real People, Real Stories

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.

What do you think?

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.

Comments

  1. Deborah said

    Great roundup of future trends for church websites. I can only hope that church websites start focusing on the user. I’m constantly surprised the two critical pieces of information new visitors need, location and service times, are rarely, if ever easily found. And for current members, change in service times for holiday events are usually well hidden in sub-pages.

    3/1/14 at 9:08 am

  2. Wayne said

    I’d agree on the large images and putting the user first. Putting the visitor needs ahead of what you want from a site is critical. You also should have defined what you plan to offer site visitors and what your main reason for having a site is.

    I find it interesting that the three sites that I visited from your article had carousels.

    16/1/14 at 1:56 pm

  3. jordan said

    Hi wayne – you’re correct – a number of those sites do have carousels 🙂 Its still a common requirement from clients – although I’m hoping it will happen less and less.

    17/1/14 at 10:34 am

  4. Hey, great article.

    I recently created a website for my local church, you can view it here… http://gracegeneration.co.uk

    Any feedback or thoughts would be appreciated!

    11/3/14 at 10:08 pm

  5. Nate said

    Hey Jordan. Great write up. Well into 2014, your predictions are holding up.

    At the risk of sounding spammy, I was happy to see our revamped site at http://calvarymemorial.com embodies all your points except one-page.

    18/4/14 at 12:26 am

  6. I am curious if you would let me know what you think of our church website, http://engagechurch.ca
    We think it is quite different from normal, and am curious your critique

    17/5/14 at 1:16 am

  7. Robyn said

    We need your suggestions. Our website is old and antiquated…developed 4 years ago. It needs a major overhaul. Something totally new. What would be your recommendation to start over from scratch. A web designer, church website template ??? Our church building burned down on Dec. 7th last year so we would like to incorporate “Come grow with us” as well. I’ve contacted a few church website companies online but never hear back. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Blessings, Robyn

    15/7/14 at 8:06 am

  8. As I look around at the church websites, I think you’re right in what you have named as trends in church sites.

    I like the look of the big graphics and love reading the stories – it gives a real look inside the church.

    It is important that any trends, however, do not take away from some of the core information. Let your visitors know quickly where your church is located, service times, and have a clear, simple navigation so they can find what they need.

    4/12/14 at 3:50 am

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