Friday, September 1

JAX Churches and Schools, Your Websites Need Help

I'm new to Jacksonville, but I can tell that it suffers from some of the same problems with website design that I've seen in the Midwest. Basically, you've got some really good and exorbitantly expensive websites for some churches and schools. Then you have the rest.

Here are some of the problems I've seen with the local JAX church and school websites:
  • Not mobile-friendly - Over half of local searches are on mobile devices. People aren't searching for your church or school using a 30-inch desktop screen at work in Pittsburgh. These people are in a car, waiting in line to pick up their kids from another school. Or they're driving around looking for a new church. 
  • Not https - Have you noticed that web browsers are telling you that your church or school website connection is not secure? Maybe you should get one that is. 
  • Not updated - Some schools and churches like to think that updating Facebook or sending out Tweets is what it takes to engage people. While that might help retain current members, it has nothing to do with people finding you. Those people will look for your official website. You can embed Facebook there if you like, but you need updated content on a real website. 
  • Hard to use - I get it, you don't write anything on your old website because it's a hassle. Then set up a free Blogger site like this one and start writing. Better yet, find a good freelance website designer from right here in Jacksonville @ Brave New Church or Luthernet
  • The website looks old - Sometimes, all you need is a new template on Wordpress or Joomla to freshen up a website. However, if you have an old Joomla 1.5 website or some other outdated script, not only is your template in trouble, you have to worry about getting hacked. 
  • Nothing for school parents or students - Some school websites do fine with news items, but teachers don't have the ability to do anything with their pages. Most school-designed websites are made to be simple and proprietary, so teachers can't add much relevant content or embed lessons very easily. There's a better way to do it. Check out this teacher page from Grace Lutheran. 
  • Lack of multimedia - Some of the local websites are just boring. Record a video and embed it in your website. Or embed Facebook. Or add some photos of your location or people. Or color a picture. If you use the default images in some mass-produced website template, it's not you. Give your site some personality. But don't add some 5mb photo to your home page. Those of us with mobile download limits don't like that.

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