Heal Your Church WebSite


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

5 Things that heal your church website

Last Friday I posed the question “what actually heals a church website?” Now it’s Tuesday and I’d like to talk about this in light of the many excellent comments received.5 remedies to heal your church website

But first a BIG THANKS to all who participated in this dialog – this was both good and healthy and it is much appreciated.

1. If it’s broke, please fix it

“The medicine that heals depends on the illness — if you’ve got a spinning gold cross, removing it becomes job #1″ – Mickey

It’s such a simple point, yet a very salient one. There are some very obvious maladies that afflict our church websites. When we see them, we should fix them.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I prescribe my post entitled:

Even if you do know what I’m talking about, it’s a fun read … don’t worry, we’ll be here when you get back.

2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

“I fixed up my church’s website with WordPress and a user-friendly, inviting design. Within months they’d wrecked the colors, changed pictures of people to pictures of furniture, and otherwise mucked it up.” – Jeremy

Okay, I’m not trying to be a wise-guy here, but I’ve seen this happen all to often. Usually this occurs when an individual has an agenda that it outside the scope of what the church website is trying to accomplish. Two that come to mind are:

  1. On the job training or skills advertising
  2. An ego that can’t share nice things

Often, I find it’s a combination of the both. My post “Mr. Zeldman meet Mike Boyink, one of ‘The New Samaritans’” comes to mind.

3. Content is King

“Even if it has to be black Times New Roman on a stark white background, I’d say job one is relevant content. When, where, what, who, and how, and for good measure, don’t forget why.” – lemon

I’m thinking ‘lemon’ pretty much summed it all up rather nicely with his/her enumeration of the basics that help us avoid the “Seven deadly sins of web writing.”

4. Identify your target audience

There are really (at least) two distinct audiences for a church website:

  1. People not part of your normal congregation, seeking information about your church …
  2. People in the congregation who want to know what’s on this week …

Since the introduction of this  blog back on May 17, 2002 I’ve been preaching the importance of identifying the purpose and personality of your church website – and then aiming all content, controls and/or contrivances at seekers and members alike.

Put another way, “A church website that fails to convey the purpose and personality of the congregation and staff will also fail to bring new members into the door.” – Empty Parking Lot Tabernacle

5. Identify your process & work-flow

“Unfortunately I think its a people problem, the site is just a symptom. People need to see it as a communication medium and commit to its use. I’m surprised at how poorly email is used by churches, let alone websites.” – David J

Unfortunately, I think the master of the B2Blog has offered a diagnosis that is as incisive as it it accurate. David accurately points out that unless we understand the work-flow that defines how we:

  • identify things that need fixed;
  • identify things that work;
  • identify what makes compelling content; and
  • identify the target audience of your church’s purpose and personality …

… then a church website is likely never to get healed no matter what content management system it employs, …

… no matter how much Flash animation the site does or does not have, …

… no matter how many social networks the church-geek API’s into the site.

In short, unless church doesn’t have well defined processes for how to effectively get the right information out to your target audiences, then you’re efforts are like the person Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 as aimlessly batting at the air.

At least that’s my take. What about you?

4 Comments

  1. I need help. I am a minimally prepared “webmaster” for our church. The website is desperately in need of a complete do-over. I have expert advice that WordPress is the way to approach this process, however, WordPress and “blog” are always mentioned in the same phrase. Does that mean that the website is basically a blog, not a “full-service” web page? I’m also confused by the first steps in the “5 minute download”. Can I download wordpress and experiment with site construction before I upload to my host?
    Thanks for listening, I know these are very simplistic questions.
    Karen in RI

  2. Hi Karen. As well as holding blog posts, WordPress can also have “static” pages. This makes it especially good for a church website, as you can use the “static” pages for things that don’t change very often (e.g. “Our church is on 123 Main Street. Click here for Google Maps”) and blog entries for things that are time sensitive (e.g. “The minister’s wife needs volunteers for the potluck supper next Tuesday.”)

    You *can* develop a WordPress blog on your own PC, and then upload it. But to do that, you’d need to install not just WordPress locally but also a local web server and MySQL, so that you are replicating the environment your web host has. Personally, I’d rather construct the site “live” on your webhost. And just stick it behind a password-protected entry page if you don’t want people to see what you’re up to until it’s finished.

    Hope this helps. <=x

  3. I am very glad to see you are back posting.

    A sad and common experience I have had is to create a CMS Church website (like with Joomla) upon the Pastor’s request, just to see nobody maintaing the site, even for simple things like events.

  4. I agree that content is vital. I have seen far too many church and ministry web sites containing very little Christian or Biblical content. If more churches and ministries got back to the command of Christ to spread His Gospel to the nations, I believe their web sites would reflect this in their content.