MarvinD's picture

Would you go to a website to read 'Our Church History' or would you go to find out what is happening today and tomorrow? Do you really care what happened last month? Perhaps a newcomer might read the 'What We Believe' page just to be sure he isn't joining a cult, but he will read it once and only once. Do you want to have to search ten different pages to find new stuff, or would you rather all the 'news' be on the front page?

The front page of a website should be very similar to a daily newspaper with continually changing content. All other page content should be constructed to support the front page. For example: If a newcomer sees 'LOGOS tonight at 5:30' on the front page, he should be able to immediately click this as a link to the supporting page which will give more detail and have an automatic link to what is 'LOGOS' and a calendar of all church events.

Hear are some examples of supporting pages to make a dynamite website:
  • Pastor's Blog
  • Calendar with schedule of services and all events
  • 'Wednesday Night' menu and curriculum
  • News from the weekly bulletin - such as 'Toby is back from China...'
  • Pertinent monthly newsletter items - such as 'We will need egg shells for the Nursery Crunch'.
  • Last week's service video - with a subliner of Janey's baby gets baptized.
  • Youth events
  • Young couple events
  • ...

Who types in all this content?

All the content gets typed somewhere even before a church has a website. So, the question becomes one of content workflow efficiency. With today's content management systems, a user can type in content just once and it automatically appears in the calendar, the bulletin, and wherever else it is needed.

For example, inserts to your paper bulletin can be automatically assembled from many different areas within the website, then be easily printed from a web browser. So, if you have your activity heads enter their own information into the website, all the secretary needs to do is to click on the bookmark then click print.

Targeting the audience with menus and taxonomies

So we have a front page filled with a cacophony of current events and everybody is going there to see what is new. Now we need to show what events we offer in an organized manner. This is done by menus and taxonomies which organize the content supporting the front page. These should blatantly target specific audiences. Items like 'Fun for Kids', 'Adventures for Young Couples', or 'Senior Groups' get straight to the point.

The audience needs to be broken into categories and ranked so you will know what needs prominence. Once you have done this little chore, you may want to add content to better fit these audiences. In fact, you may want to add content to your physical church.

Here is a beginning:
  1. Young couples with kids
    • Is there a calendar of events that will entice them?
    • Will they find this calender within 10 seconds of entering the site?
    • Are programs for them and their kids well defined with pictures and possibly video?
  2. Teens and young adults
    • Can they find other members of their age online?
    • Is there downloadable music with possibly videos of a service they would find fun?
    • Are youth programs well defined with pictures and possibly video?
  3. The elderly
    • Can they watch the service online?
    • Is there a conservative section where they can feel at home?
    • ...