More Church Website Design Tips

Details, Details, Details

Photography

Use high quality photos only. Action shots - people doing things - are usually better than posed shots. Try to capture happy faces too. Happy faces project a warm and welcoming atmosphere. In addition, show a broad cross-section of the groups of people who make up your congregation. You may even want to consider including a photo gallery.

Finally, a smiling face(s) on the homepage can add a friendly and inviting feel to the website.

Email Structure

Are concerned about possibly receiving a large amount of spam/junk email? If so, here are three techniques you can use to reduce the amount of spam you receive.

  • Avoid Easy-to-Guess Email Addresses. Spamware can guess simple email addresses once they have your domain name. (The domain name is the part after the @ symbol). Avoid easy-to-guess email addresses such as info@YourChurch.org. Instead, use something like office777@YourChurch.org.
  • Disguise Your Email Address. Suppose your email address is something like youthMin@YourChurch.org. You can disguise this as youthMin[remove_this_part]@YourChurch.org. Spambots will probably not know what to do with this address.
  • Encode Your Email Address. An old trick for preventing email harvesting is to simply encode the address with the html character entity @ instead of using the @ symbol. Most spam robots are smart enough not to fall for that old trick, but every little bit helps.

There is no foolproof method of preventing spam, but you might still want to consider using some combination of the above techniques.

Dynamic Bible References

Let your website visitors view Bible references by simply letting their mouse hover over the reference. For example, hover over the reference John 3:16. You will see the verse displayed in a stylized tooltip box. In this example, I've used "BLB ScriptTagger" to display the verse. Another popular choice for displaying Bible references is "RefTagger" (with or without "Bibleref markup").

Choosing a Domain Name

Your domain name is simply your website address. A domain name might look something like www.YourChurch.org. When choosing a domain name for your church, it's best to do the following.

  • Keep it short
  • Keep it memorable

You have a choice of TLDs; that's the part after the dot. For churches, the .org extension has been the common choice. However, if you prefer an innovative extension that clearly defines you as a church, then use the new .church extension. At the time of this writing (June 7, 2013), the .church extension is not yet available. However, it will become available sometime in 2013.

Promoting Your New Church Website

You are now the proud humble owner of an amazing church website! A site so amazing that the angels in heaven sing its praises! Well done, well done. Well not just yet. You still have one more matter to take care of. You must advertise and promote your new site. A few people may stumble across your site by accident. However, most will never find it unless you let them know it's there.

Many Internet users search online for "spiritual" information and for churches to visit. Here are a few simple things you can do to help them find you.

  • Submit your website's address to the major search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Submit your website's address to specialized church/ministry search engines and directories such as We Spread The Word, USA Churches, Fish the Net, and Christian Website.
  • If your denomination has a website, be sure to list your website address there.
  • Include your website address on everything you print:
    • Church bulletins: Every member and visitor will take one home.
    • Church stationery: This includes printed letterheads and email footers.
    • Business cards: They are small and easy to hand out.
  • Make periodic church announcements urging your congregation to visit the site.
  • If members of your church use social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, or if they have personal websites, encourage them to link to your church site. This improves link popularity and page rank with Google.
  • If your church has a roadside sign, include your website address there too. Be sure the address is large enough to be readable by people who drive by your church.