There are a few things to consider when refreshing your parish website including knowing what your audience needs, wants, and expects, and making sure the look is consistent with your parish communications. After that, all you need to update your parish website is a brighter, more modern design and a little reorganization.
When Christine, the webmaster at St. Bernard Parish in Wauwatosa, WI, asked LPi for help this is exactly what we did to refresh her church website.
Choose a new look
If you are using a website service with templates, choose a template that has the colors you use in your church communications or offers the choice to use those colors. In this case, we chose a template that would show off the beautiful brand identity already created.
Add a headline
The headline on your website is the first thing a visitor will read. We recommend the headline stay between 5 and 7 words. For St. Bernard Parish, we selected the tagline they already use with their logo and on their church communications.
Simplify the home page
Working closely with St. Bernard’s parishioners, Christine had specific content she had identified that was needed and wanted on the home page. The next step was to simplify how it was presented by placing the most important information first and reorganizing the related content together. This is important not only for readability on a full desktop, but also for a mobile-friendly environment because the content will display vertically from left to right.
Reorganize the menu
A menu should have no more than seven items visible when the page loads. One way to think of these menu items is as categories. So, all other Web pages must be moved under these categories. For St. Bernard, we adjusted the menu options to be one word that communicates simple categories for easy assessment, readability, and organization of all the content within the website.
Adjust the layout on other pages
When you change a template, it is important to review all existing pages to make sure they are displaying correctly in the new template. Through the assessment of the St. Bernard website, we identified several pages where we could combine the content into one page. Then we established guidelines for which header style to use on every page. Lastly, we rearranged pages to match the menu bar and included images and videos.