2016 is officially upon us and as they do every year church website trends continue to evolve. For most churches the lifespan of a website is three to four years. This means that the websites we built in 2013 are coming up on the end or their lifespan.
A church’s website is the first impression for nearly everyone who visits your church. Your visitors will make assumptions and decisions about your ministry based on what they see there.
If people spend time looking at reviews online of restaurants and movies before they make a decision to spend their money, how much more important is their decision on where they attend church?
If your church hasn’t done a website refresh since 2013 here are three things to make sure your next website includes in order to maximize its lifespan.
One thing that hasn’t changed in a decade of web design for churches in the need to capture your audiences attention immediately when they arrive on the site. Over the years we have had many ways of trying to make this happen.
Several years ago churches tried the flash intro method. You remember these. They were usually backed by really dramatic music and lots of motion. The problem with these were that they greatly increased load times and brought no real value to what the visitor was looking for.
Then a few years ago we saw the rise of the information slider. This was the big box on the homepage that rotated information about upcoming church events or sermons series. They were a step in the right direction but in the end they primarily appealed to church members more than they appealed to those in the community.
Today churches are using video backgrounds on their sites in order to tell a story about who they are and invite visitors into the site. Homepages with video are 3 times more likely to engage your audience than those with only images and text.
For best results churches are using video montages that reinforce their vision and core values. For best results they will be silent and will take up the full screen in a 1080p resolution that is compressed to get the fastest load times possible.
Church Website Trends #2 – Longer Layouts
Over the past 7 years we have seen a dramatic increase in mobile web browsing. With that we have seen several mobile design styles become common place in web design.
For years the saying was “Keep it above the fold!” This was a saying adopted from newspaper design where it was best practice to keep your main story above the actual fold in the newspaper so that your readers would be forced to interact with it immediately. For years the way this translated in to web design was a desire to build a site that involved no scrolling.
As smartphones became more prevalent, we have become more tolerant of scrolling and swiping. While it is still best practice to make a good first impression without scrolling, we have realized that users would rather scroll down the way they do on Facebook or Twitter than loading entire new pages of content.
If you are not in the design world the term parallax is probably new to you, but chances are you have seen it and have been impressed by it before.
Parallax design is most often seen when a design element in the background moves at a different rate from a design element in the foreground. This gives the design a 3D effect that can make a powerful impression.
Parallax designs are great for telling stories and driving visitors to a call to action. They should however be used sparingly. When you call attention to everything you are calling attention to nothing.
These are the three biggest design trends we are seeing as we start out in 2016.
Did we miss any? What trends are you seeing that church websites should be adopting? Let us know in the comments below!