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Redesigning your homepage? 5 Things to tell your designer

The place to start with any web design or redesign is the homepage. Once you nail this down, the rest of the site flows naturally from this original look and feel.

Though everyone loathes “design by committee,” the reality is this is hard to avoid in the church world. Instead of going to through the trouble of developing an entire site, settle on the homepage first, and the committee will be easier to manage as the rest of the site is being built out.

Here are five areas of direction I give designers when jumping into a new or re-designed homepage design.

1. Overall

Use this section to lay out the big picture. Some things to include are:

  • Color scheme
  • Fonts – You can get crazy with this now
  • Simple vs. complex design – Do you want a lot or a little on the homepage?
  • Anything to consider on the homepage that will be a big deal on the subpages? Sticky nav, times and locations dropdown, etc.
  • What devices do you want to cater to? Should this be designed for responsive html? Mobile, iPads, desktops, etc.
  • Do you have a description about your church you want to display? “We’re a fun church in Seattle!”

2. Top Nav

How many navigation items do you want across the top or on the side? What do you want them to say?

3. Things to Include

You want to give your designer a lot of creative freedom with the design, but there are also some non-negotiables you want to be included. What are they?

  • Banner rotation- The holy grail of church websites these days. Do you want this a specific orientation – 16:9 or 4:3? How many slides?
  • Most recent sermon?
  • Do you want to display news and event teasers?
  • Social icons?
  • Search functionality?
  • What are your must haves for content in the footer?
  • Big and friendly online giving button?

4. Site Inspiration

Look around at other church websites and non-church sites. What do you like? Share these links with your designer, and let them know what you like about each – colors, fonts, values language, layout, navigation structure. etc.

Some good site to check out…

5. Wireframe

Do you have a rough layout in your head? Take a picture of the sketch on your whiteboard, or draw it in Word or other programs like Photoshop or Fireworks.

In most cases designers will thank you for a document with all of this information. Check out these comments I received from a designer on a recent project.

“Hi, Cleve. I looked over your documents. Nice job, seriously. I’m looking forward to this. I think it’s going to be a fun, smooth project based on the work you guys have already done and your taste in websites from the ‘Site Inspiration’ section.”

What is your process?

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  1. Aaron Alexander (Reply) on February 22nd, 2012

    Great tips, Cleve! Thanks!

  2. Erica Garcia (Reply) on March 22nd, 2012

    We are refreshing our site – just had a meeting with our designer yesterday. This post is helpful. Thanks Cleve!

  3. Keaton Taylor (Reply) on December 26th, 2012

    First off, thanks for educating the ministry masses on matters of design.

    secondly, I wrote a lengthy response to this article and ended up hosting it on my personal blog, due to length. Feel free to check it out and comment.

    http://keatontaylor.tumblr.com/post/38892809839

  4. Cleve Persinger (Reply) on December 26th, 2012

    Keaton,

    Thanks for taking time out to compose a counterpoint post. Great content and thoughts, Sir.

    Admittedly, this was written more for a communications staff and less senior pastor- sorry to not be clear on that.

    However, as a designer, I’m OK when pastors/ministry leaders provide a document of needs and wants, even if it’s over the top and contains lots of red flags. It gives us a place to start and also gets all of the misconceptions out on the table at the start of the project instead of conflicts in the 11th hour.

    Appreciate you, Keaton. Hope you can join us in Alaska for Creative Missions 2013.


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