Do you think the words “trendy” and “cutting-edge” are a little intimidating? Maybe you’re afraid to stick your neck out in unfamiliar territory by using web design trends that aren’t quite mainstream yet. Or maybe you’re comfortable with your current online ministry.
Either way, you can be innovative and more effective without needing to fear the unknown. As your ministry partner, it’s our goal to provide you with support and inspiration about church website trends you can actually get excited about. It’s time to attract and engage your audience in new ways. Are you looking for someone to stand up and say, “Yes, it’s okay to try something new!”? Today, we’re doing just that.
The following are 7 church website design trends we’re excited about. Our team of design experts likes talking about “the next big thing,” and this is your peek at what we’ll be talking about in 2016:
7 Innovative Church Website Design Trends to Follow in 2016
We’re seeing more and more examples of simple animations triggered by the way viewers navigate the site. When the viewers do something––like scroll down a page or hover over an image––your animation makes another image slide in or out, or makes text appear over the image. Animations are an engaging way to add a little pop and emphasize the details of your church website pages. This works especially well if you’ve chosen a clean, simple design. We love how Worship Center has used them on its homepage!
2. Image-Heavy Resource Page Designs
Posting your recent sermons online is a great resource for your members who couldn’t make it to the weekend service, want to reflect on the message more deeply a second time, or share the message with a friend who would benefit. What we’re seeing for 2016 is a “level up” for sermon sharing. Churches are getting better and better at presenting content that makes it easy for a new visitor to find you in an organic search. One way to do this is by tying your sermons into all the other features of your website! This will involve churches using more images and videos to capture viewer attention. See how Revolution Church has laid out its Sermons page as an example.
3. Coherence of Brand
We’ve talked about how important it is for your online giving tool to have the same unified, recognizable design as your church website; it builds trust between you and your members and assures them they’re making safe contributions. But in 2016, we’ll be talking about this even more broadly. Your website (and your whole church) is a package. Missions, branding, content, sermons, online giving, ministries, etc., all need to have one coherent design! Your church marketing should involve making everything complete and connected, from your social media to your events calendar and everything in between.
1. A Dedicated “Next Steps” Page
We’ve been researching and talking about the importance of “next steps” website pages throughout 2015, and we’re really excited to see how you all execute that part of your online ministry in the coming year. We’ve been seeing a lot of “New Here,” “I’m New,” and “What’s Next” pages; what we’re really excited about is how we see churches starting to dedicate content to other “stages” of church attendance. We’re seeing better and better ways for you to capture your new visitors, engage regular attendees, motivate those already engaged, and deepen the connection with your mature members. All the people who are a part of your church community land somewhere in these steps. On a Next Steps page, you can speak to each group in different ways and help them identify the paths they should travel to more fully join the worship and work at your church. See how Faithbridge does so on their beautiful website.
2. “Smart” Content
You don’t speak to people you’re meeting for the first time the same way you talk to people you’ve known for years. With new people, you introduce yourself, and ask them how they are. With the latter, you recognize the key parts of their life and remember what makes your relationship special. This is the exact same concept that “smart” content follows in website design! When using the right tools, you can display different messages for your viewers depending on how many times they’ve visited your site, how much information you know about them, what campus they prefer, etc. Recreate Church does a great job with this: watch for the difference between your first visit to their homepage, and then hit “refresh” and pretend you’re visiting for the second time.
3. Social Media Feeds
This website feature had its day a few years ago, but it seems to be making a comeback in 2016! And it’s easier than ever to do a good job with this. Grace Covenant Church even has its Twitter and Instagram feeds built into the homepage as a major part of its design––how cool is that? This can be a great way to share the spirit and tone of your church “at-a-glance.” Our only warning: if you’re considering displaying a social media feed on your website, it’s really important that you feature only channels that you actually update often. As trends come and go, engaging and helpful content is here to stay.
4. Missions Pages
We’re getting more and more requests from y’all about highlighting how you serve with missions-specific pages. Of course, you’ll keep talking about your missions in your ministry pages, blog, or on your events calendar. But, 2016 might be the year you dedicate a whole section of your website to your local and international missions. Fellowship Bible Church and WoodsEdge Community Church both have great, in-depth missions pages, complete with videos to illustrate the importance and power of their service both inside and outside the church.