Creating a satisfying and fruitful user experience takes a lot of time and consistent, ongoing effort (read: improvements never stop). Here are seven simple web design tips to help you to improve performance and continue building a church website that people will enjoy using.
Make it Fast Loading
When was the last time you checked out your website’s design from your user’s point of view? You want your church website to be appealing and leave a good impression of your church with your visitors. You want people to enjoy using your website.
But a fast-loading, user-friendly website doesn’t just happen.
To start, people are impatient on Internet. They don’t like waiting for a website to load. So, it’s important to make adjustments that improve the load speed of your webpages in order to keep visitors from bouncing away from your website prematurely.
Web Design Tips & Tools for Boosting Website Speed:
10 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion
by Kathryn Aragon at The Daily Egg
How to Speed Up WordPress
by Marcus Taylor at Smashing Magazine
Navigation Should Be Easy
Visitors must be able to find their way around your website quickly and easily.
Navigation should be consistent across all pages of the website. The labels you use should make sense to the user.
If a webpage is too long, trim away unnecessary content.
If it’s still too long, you can reduce scrolling by using bookmarks or anchor links to help visitors quickly navigate the page.
Web Design Tips & Tools for Navigation:
Website Navigation: Tips, Examples and Best Practices
by Cody Ray Miller at The Daily Egg
Nonprofit Website Navigation: Tips and Best Practices
by Alex McLain at WiredImpact
Shrink Your Images
On the Internet, image size affects loading speeds. Large image files make webpages load slower. Most professional Web designers optimize images by compressing them.
Before uploading an image to the server and using it on your website, you should optimize it to produce the smallest possible file.
Web Design Tips & Tools for Image Compression:
18 Image Compressor to Speed Up Your Website
by Grace Smith at Mashable
A Guide to Optimal Image Compression in WordPress
by Mark Forrester at WooThemes
Include “The Basics”
Now, you might think this one could go without saying. But, the number of church websites missing service times and/or a map and directions is mind-boggling!
Sure, you might be thinking, “Our street address is there. People can just plug it into Google Maps themselves and get directions.” Yup, that’s true.
But, consider this: these days, your first opportunity to treat guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way (1 Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2) isn’t when people arrive in the parking lot on Sunday morning.
That opportunity occurs when they arrive on your website.
Checking service times, and downloading a map and directions, are two of the top reasons why people (especially new visitors) will go to your website. Be kind to them.
If your website contains nothing else, make sure these details are present and easily seen.
Web Design Tips & Tools for Adding the Basics:
New Research Reveals Why People Visit Church Websites
by Jeremy Weber at Christianity Today
Adding Google Maps to Your Website Just Got Easier
at Google Developers Blog
Check Spelling and Grammar
Here’s another tip that’s too often overlooked. Content filled with grammar and spelling errors is distracting. It diverts your reader’s attention from your message. It hurts your effectiveness and reflects poorly on your ministry.
Web Design Tips & Tools for Spelling & Grammar:
Best of The Best: 10 Online Grammar and Punctuation Checker Tools
Text Must Be Easy to Read
While we are still on the subject, the text on your website must be easy to read. The color of the text must be in high contrast with your website’s background color.
The font size should be large enough to make it readable. Also, be sure to make use of whitespace, and break long paragraphs into chunks using section headings.
Web Design Tips for Readable Text:
How To Write So That People Will Read
by Brent Gummow at Jimdo Blog
How to Use Visual Hierarchy to Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages
by Pamela Wilson at copyblogger
Make Sure All Links Work
Broken links can give visitors the impression that your website isn’t regularly updated or properly maintained.
Broken links are also one of the quickest ways to make frustrated users bounce from your website.
You should regularly check older pages for broken links. Link checkers can make easy work of this task.
Web Design Tips & Tools for Checking Links:
How to Find and Fix Broken WordPress Links
by Kevin Muldoon at Elegant Themes
A Final Word: Consistency
This quick list barely scratches the surface of website maintenance tasks, improvements, optimizations and updates you should be completing on an ongoing basis.
Applying these seven tips regularly and consistently will improve your website’s performance and help create an user-friendly website people will enjoy returning to again and again.