Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

What church webmasters can learn from a bunch of dumb dairy cows

Chewing on your cud on how to re-work your crufty old church website?

man and dairy calf Well, moo-ving along back into website reviews, I think it’s time to pony up and milk a good example for all its worth. Today’s prime cut being the website brought to you by America’s Dairy Farmers®.

Yeah, okay so I went a bit over the top with the bovine humor – but my simple point today is about clean, simple marketing sites that present a clean, simple message.

In the case of the website DairyFarmingToday.com, it’s all about less being more. Less wordiness and more pictures that each speaking 1000 words of wholesomeness, not so much of the end products, but of the producers of said products.

I think the same could and should be practiced by many church websites out there, currently creating a cacophony of confusion through either through cheesy clich‚s and/or herds of unnecessary or unrelated information all packed into the home page.

Meaning, if a web site visitor can’t immediately figure out what your church is about in about 8 to 12 seconds online on a Friday night then it’s very unlikely they’re going to be in your pews on Sunday morning.

Which is why I recommend grazing on the various pages of DairyFarmingToday.com to see how clean and neat presentation, easy and obvious navigation, and effectively terse content and imagery all made for an effective marketing message for the people whom harvest your milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

In fact, I have only two beefs about the site (yes, pun intended):

  • the logo on the upper right-hand corner of the website should navigate the user back to the ‘home page,’ not the ‘about us’ page when clicked. That’s the pattern users have come to expect – don’t mess with that; and
  • the search engine needs fixed.

I’d be interested in your comments – moreover any websites modified based on today’s good example of effective design.

4 Comments

  1. I think your point is valid. Clean, simple design makes viewing the site easier. The only problem, from a developer position, is obtaining those pictures that are worth a thousand words.

    Getting picutres that don’t look like they were taken by a youth group member with their disposable “digital” camera can be next to impossable. And I have no problem with using stock images, but when you have a small congregation of just a couple hundres members, its not all that convincing when no one recognizes anyone in the picutes.

    Any idea?

  2. Any suggestions for a group or board where I can get troubleshooting help on my church website?

    I’m really rusty with web design, but our church’s site is the worst… and the folks online I’ve ask for help thus far aren’t too patient with someone so far behind the curve…

    I’ll post my specific question here just in case you have time to take a look:

    http://www.christchurchinfo.net

    The site displays nicely in Firefox/Mozilla and Safari, but the stained
    glass windows navigation portion is getting pushed down in IE, and the
    “news” box is appearing over top of it. I would much appreciate any
    pointers… I just don’t really understand all the IE layout hacks
    yet, as old hat as they may be…

    Of lesser worry is that the text in the left nav bar is cut off on
    hover, and that none of my background images as defined in the css are
    showing up…

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

  3. I agree 100% with your views on clean, crisp websites.

    Sometimes words have to take precedence but the text should be interesting enough to hold the viewers attention. But I have two questions for you and your vistors.

    1. What sites (Church based preferably) do you consider to be well desgined?

    2. How does one go about identifying what teh front page should contain so that a visitor can “immediately figure out what your church is about in about 8 to 12 seconds online on a Friday night” ?

  4. Dean I wanted to contact you and see if you might have time/be interested in doing work on a new church site for us.

    http://grace-fellowship.us

    I couldn’t find anyway to email you on the site so hopefully this works.

    Thanks

    Ken