This year marks a big year for our Church, lots of things are happening but for my department and specifically myself, my largest project to date is on the horizon, a complete overhaul of our main site http://savannahchristain.com
Let that sink in… Complete overhaul.
The site structure will likely change. The appearance will certainly change, The layout will change. Yet there is so much to keep, we have a massive events calendar, a popular prayer wall, custom built career application section. as well as dozens of detailed forms, some of which that connect with third party services.
Since there is so much to figure out, and it seems a bit overwhelming i decided to figure out how deep I really am so I began an inventory of what we currently have to avoid missing anything in the planning process.
First off find how many pages we currently have. This turned out to be MUCH more difficult than I anticipated and detailed the process in this post.
Long story short – 794 pages.
These are spread out over the following page types.
- Landing/Home pages
- Content Pages
- Event Pages
- Prayer Wall
- Job Applications
- Sermon/Media Pages
- Internal Tools – Request Forms
- Service Times
- Digital Bulletin
With this in mind, I am going to review each of these sections critically. Looking for positives and negatives in the process. Since each review will be lengthy, I will create a new post and update the links here as I complete them.
What’s Needed in the New Version?
Since we are just delving into the planning stages I have been asked to look at and work through what features are needed in the new design as well as thinking about what can be improved.
Our current site was adapted to work on mobile once we realized how much traffic on our site was mobile. Originally we created a standalone mobile application but this let to users not being able to access content that had not been included or adapted for the mobile version. Because of this we dropped the standalone app in favor of creating a mobile version of our site that mirrored the site content exactly.
This has worked well for us, but the mobile site is very heavy and the menu is much more complex than it needs to be.
Other than ensuring the content we want to display, this is the single most important feature of our new site. Looking at the image above you can see that mobile and tablet traffic is over 60% of our total traffic.
Being a multi-campus church, we have many locations, 5 currently that all have information they want displayed specific to their campus. Finding the best way to approach this has been harder than it seems.
Media, most frequently video has been an effective tool for sharing the gospel. Beyond our weekly sermons and worship that we post we also would like a place to display additional original content that our church creates.
We are a church of small groups, we really push that and want to make sure the process is easy for those looking in joining and cultivating their groups.
Being a church we rely on volunteers, A simple, well thought out page and process to encourage volunteers and even train volunteers.
Ensure that important areas of our site like blogs/sermons, and other areas of frequent content updates are available via RSS feeds, as well as instructions on how to use RSS.
A search feature for the site. A site with this much content really needs a solid search feature, something lacking in our existing site.
Keeping every page on the website up to date is an enormous task. Fortunately there are tools out there to help with this, such as Better WorkFlow or Publish Plus. The idea is to not only allow others to update the site but to avoid errors and to assure that all the pages get reviewed within a certain amount of time to assure teh content is current and up to date.
The church deals with people. People are social. Social Media is kinda a requirement. Integrating social media in a way that compels people to share and encourages new connections will be a major facet of the site.