Managing a Spiritualist Center

How to Make a Good Church Website
By:James Withers

Every good church deserves a good website. However, creating a good website can be a challenging process. Before attempting to build a website, church leaders must be attentive to issues of cost and quality. Leaders must decide whether to hire a website designer or allow volunteers to help build the site. Ultimately, the finished website should effectively advertise the church and its services.

Study successful church websites and permit your site to emulate certain qualities contained in them. An online directory such as Great Church Websites is helpful to use when searching to compare the strengths and weakness of different website designs. Instead of recording your impressions of the sites you visit in an offline notebook, consider taking screenshots of these sites and writing virtual notes on top of them. (Zotero offers these services for free.)

Decide whether to use free or paid services. Free website services may appeal to leaders of a small church who want to give prospective members a thumbnail sketch of their organization. Some free sites allow users to create professional pages but may charge for extra storage space or may provide slow service when the website receives increased traffic. Paid services, by contrast, offer a wide range of amenities. Before paying to use these services, have a clear idea of how to make effective use of them in order to save costs.

Permit volunteers to play a part. If you're building a site for a mega-church, you'll probably want to pay a pretty penny to outsource this work. However, if your church is mid-level or smaller, volunteers can play a valuable role in building your church's website. Using volunteers will save the congregation money and can help to unite members of the church behind a common cause. Just as with any project, permit members to brainstorm ideas and sketch concepts. When all parties agree on a plan, delegate responsibility to members. For example, some members may want to type copy, while others may be able to upload photographs for the site.

Make the website people-friendly. Information is useful, but an overabundance of information can make a website useless. Strive to appeal to your online audience by including photos of church members in addition to the timely information vital to a well-designed website. People love to see themselves and to send links to their friends and family. By allowing the website to be invitational rather than informative, you'll let your site be a part of your community.

Be flexible to the needs of your visitors. A common misconception regarding church websites is that once they're built, they won't need to be monitored. This is far from the truth. Rather, a good church website is more like a work in progress, allowing church leaders to gauge interests of visitors to the site. For example, if traffic increases when users are allowed to scroll through text vertically as opposed to horizontally, leaders can consequently decide to make other related changes to make the site even more appealing to visitors.