Monk Development, Inc.
14488 Old Stage Road
Lenoir City, TN 37772
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We see a lot of church websites. Some of them are good, some aren't bad, and other are just downright tragic. If you were to sit back and look at your own church website, how would you rank it?
From here, there's good news and bad news. First, the bad news: it's almost alway worse than you think. Take your honest assessment and knock it down a few notches. Sorry, Charlie.
But don't fret! There's hope, good news even, for your church website.
They say the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. The good news is that problematic church websites usually fall into one of four categories. We've boiled them down for you. Here they are:
This is when the website lacks even the most basic up-to-date information. Content is not updated or even monitored. "Stale" isn't the right word. This type of website is downright moldy. (And no one likes mold, right?)
The biggest indication of a Ghost Town Website is the church staff page. Take a peek at yours. Do you see anyone who no longer works for the church? If so, you, my friend, have a ghost town on your hands.
Some church websites have "design challenges." Actually, let's just call it like it is: they're eyesores. Painful to look at. Ugly. Shudder-inducing, in some cases. It's as if trained monkeys pounding on keyboards could create something more visually stunning.
Ugly church websites have design elements that are incongruous with the rest of the church branding (if branding exists at all). There are no discernible brand standards to speak of–stretched out logos, inconsistent fonts, and color schemes that resemble a box of crayons (i.e., anything goes!).
Maybe the problem isn't information or design. Maybe the problem your church website is facing is information architecture. Simply put, can people easily navigate your site and find what they need?
If not, you've got a bottleneck on your hands. Users are on their own to find what they need. They have to pave their own way. The church website, in this instance, is actually a hindrance more than a help. There's no intuitive system in place, just one giant tangled mess of information.
One of the only times I'll actually sit down to watch American Idol is during the audition weeks. It's an endless singing stream of sorrow, skill, and silliness.
I'm always surprised at how many people audition who truly have no idea how bad they are. No one cared enough about them to say, "Sweetie, you really ought to reconsider singing professionally," or, "Dude, this just isn't your thing." So they go on national television and get embarrassed by a judge. Kind of like this guy.
Similarly, we commit the same crime when no one has the common courtesy to say, "our website has some serious challenges. How do we fix it?"
Out of all the foibles we've mentioned so far, I think this one might be the most painful. Your living, breathing organizational representation trots out onto the world's stage, only to get pummeled critics and congregation members alike. Why? Because no one on staff thinks the website is "that bad."
A church website works well when it informs, connects people to community, increases engagement of people in community, and reflects who you are as a congregation. When these things happen (at least, in part) the website serves its purpose.
If you've read this list and want to find solutions to these common problems, we'll be looking at each one in-depth in the weeks ahead here on the blog. Check back every Tuesday for a new solution! (While you're at it, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.)