Many RO Communication clients are ministry and church websites. We know that because churches, ministries and other not-for-profits are often on a strict budget there are also reasons why an investment in a business or church website makes a lot of sense if it's done well. Whether you own a business, run a church or ministry or almost any other kind of organization, the first place prospective members or customers often turn to search for you and check you out is on the web.
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Of course, as with any other business or organization, just getting started on your ministry or church website is often the most difficult part. Thus, we've put together a few tips to hopefully get you started on the process. Think of these tips as a checklist of things you might not have considered until later. Use this list to make the most of your church website development process.
- Consider how your website will fit with your other branding efforts. If you haven't really thought about putting together a professional brand this is the time to do it. There are many talented graphic artists and logo designers out there who will be able to offer you a few choices of color palate, logo design, font possibilities as well as offering suggestions about brochure, banner, and other layouts that will best describe your efforts in graphics. Don't skimp on this part. It is the foundation of your church's online and peripheral identity. Great design doesn't have to be expensive, but believe us, bad design will cost you much in the short and long run. Do it right from the beginning.
- Now that you've chosen fonts, colors and imagery that you feel will appeal to the members, volunteers and sponsors that you want your organization to appeal to begin putting together a wish list of all the functions that you want your website to accomplish.
- Consider how you want to make updates to your website. A stagnant website will turn off and discourage repeat visitors and search engines as well. If you are going to be making the updates yourself be sure to discuss implementing a CMS or content management system or a blog feature that you will be able to access without having to rely on your web designer to make updates. You shouldn't have to go through him or her every time you want to add an event or a new update.
- Consider how your church website will tie in with your social networking identities. Consider your church's website as a piece of your overall online identity net. The idea is to meet your potential members wherever they are most frequently hanging out. If someone is able to click a "like" button on your website when they enjoy a post they will be doing the promotion of your organization for you. Talk to your web team about how to make it easy for them.
- Bring in the resources! The web makes it relatively easy to allow your people to connect with your and channel the funds, volunteers and other resources that you need to do your best work. Don't make this an after thought. A great church website does more than inspire people; it allows them to take the next step and commit to your inspiring cause. Be sure to plan for creatively connecting to paypal, your credit card processor, a member and volunteer database, and more. Remember, if someone wants to be an active part of what you do and you don't give them the opportunity they will likely go somewhere else. Don't forget to make every fundraiser have an internet presence as well.
- Try various forms of media. Your church website should feel alive! Don't limit yourself to the written word. You've no doubt considered including images of your services, events and volunteer activities, but how about adding movies. These days they're as easy as a few clicks to produce and upload. Be sure to add some movement to your site. Let them see how alive your church is. Podcasts are also a great way to reach out. People love to download inspiring messages to listen to while they drive, work or work out. Speak to them. And if you have great worship music don't keep it a secret. These days it's easy to download and even sell worship music on the internet.
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