Changes Needed in the Church: #2 Websites
There are so many things we do on a regular basis that we can’t even imaging life without. The internet is one of those things.
I remember in the mid ’90s when the advertising agency I worked for got “internet service”. It was through the phone lines (think slow!) and essentially we purchased a modem that allowed one of our computers to attach to this world wide web. I remember thinking “so, what can we do on it?”. E-mail was explained to us and then this foreign idea that people can advertise and give information on it. I was spell-bound.
The agency sent me away to learn how other agencies were developing “websites” using a programming language called HTML. WHAM! That’s where the internet lost me. It became something that “others” were going to have to do. My brother consistently taught me that “creatives” can’t operate in the programming world.
It wasn’t until much later, when I would work with programmers, that I realized I could design for the internet. But, like most designers of that era, we took our “print” mentality onto the web. We essentially used the internet to post a brochure online.
At the time, the best thing about the internet was the way we could break our pages into categories and then segment them for organizational purpose. Sound familiar?
By the late 90’s and early 2000’s, everyone realized that the internet was not going away, and they needed a website. It would save money and help in the distribution of knowledge. Churches jumped on the bandwagon about this time.
In 2004 or 2005, programmers who took all their secondary education training in online tools (ultimately the first generation of internet geeks), figured out the inherent difference between web and print.
- They could integrate video and movement with words.
- They could ask questions and get answers.
- They could “hear” from their audience, rather than just “speak” to them.
Web 2.0 was born.
But sadly, the Church is slow catching up. Many are barely holding on to Web 1.0. They still have brochures online rather than interactive, engaging websites. Pages are too dense with copy as the average surfer will only spend a few seconds on a page before moving on. They will also only click 3 times to find information before losing interest.
Church websites have to change! You’re working on a website that isn’t working and you know it!
How? Well, there are many tools available if you want to do it yourself. WordPress delivers a great foundation so you can update your content. But be careful! It’s not all about the tool, make sure you take the time to simplify your content. And be aware of eye-tracking technology that shows where people look on a web page.
No one comes to your website to see the mechanism — but rather, they come for your content. Think interactive; forms, polls, video, online giving, etc. Have fun with it — look what others are doing successfully.
We do projects like these every day and we’d like to help you. Especially if you’re a church. We’re content specialist — and we work with virtually any budget. We just want your church to look great and attract (and keep) an audience seeking a relationship with God! If we can help you, let me know!