Now that the weather is warming up, parents and kids alike are counting down the days until summer. You can tell that they’re dreaming of pool days, long summer nights, and of course Vacation Bible School (VBS)! For many families, VBS is the highlight of their summer. Not only that, but it is one of the largest outreach opportunities your church has all year. Because of this, you need a great VBS website to help get the word out.
However, if you are one of those churches who hasn’t updated your website in months, or you simply have no idea what all needs to be included on a VBS website, don’t start panicking. Once you have a plan in place, creating the perfect VBS website for your church is totally doable. The best news is that we’ve worked to help make the planning (and executing) easy for you.
Remember, it’s never too early to start, so read on to learn how to create a great VBS website for your church!
1. Decide Which Option is Best For Your Church
Whether you realize it or not, there are technically two directions that you can take when getting ready to build a great Vacation Bible School website for your church. You could create a simple landing page, or you could create an actual VBS website. To help you decide, we will break down the pros and cons of both.
VBS Landing Page
Put simply, a landing page is just a single page that may live on your current church website. However, it could be the page that you direct people to on all of your promotional VBS material (ex. yourchurch.com/vbs).
- Often simpler to create, manage, and edit
- Hosts all of your VBS information on a single page
- Lives directly on your church website
- Typically designed for lead capture (i.e. registration for VBS in this case)
- Because all information is on one page, people may have to scroll excessively to find what they are looking for
- Can seem cluttered even it isn’t laid out in a visually appealing way
- Might be harder to find on your website if it’s not in a prominent position on your church’s homepage
An actual VBS website is going to be just that; a website. This means it will live on a separate URL than your church website (ex. yourchurchvbs.com) and can have as many separate pages as you’d like.
- Easier to keep organized with different pages (ex. Registration, FAQ’s, information, etc.)
- Branded uniformly across the site
- More professional
- More expensive since you have to purchase a separate domain name and possibly even pay for a separate website
- Harder to maintain and update
- Might be hard to find if people don’t know the URL
The good news is there isn’t a wrong choice. Examine the size of your church, your VBS, and your budget, and think through your needs. Once you make a decision, stick with it and keep moving forward!
2. Focus on Branding
The next step in creating a great VBS website is to really hone in on your VBS branding. Oftentimes, this branding will be reflective of the VBS theme. This is the one event a year that you can go a little crazy and stray away from your church’s branding. Focus on matching the theme to appeal to children and create excitement.
Establish a Theme
Before you can jump into branding your VBS website, you have to know what your VBS theme is. Some churches choose to create their own themes, and others choose to use curriculum from outside ministry organizations. Either way, once you have your theme decided your branding can reflect that.
For example, if your church decides to go with a jungle theme, use lots of greens and bright colors, find a font that maybe has vines wrapped around it, and find ways to incorporate jungle animals on your VBS website.
One more thing to remember when you are thinking about your theme is your target audience. VBS is created for children, so make sure that your theme is child appropriate and appealing.
Design VBS Graphics
Next, work to create graphics that match your theme and can be incorporated on your VBS website. If you have a graphic designer on your staff, perfect! If not, there are resources out there that can be helpful.
For example, Sharefaith has a ton of great VBS templates in a variety of formats for you to download. That way, even if you aren’t a designer, you can have graphics that are branded for your church’s VBS and are reflective of your theme.
3. Create Your Content
Once your branding is established, it’s time to dive into your content. This will be everything that you should include on your church’s VBS page. Remember, the more thorough you are, the better.
While this is not an all-inclusive list, it’s a good starting place to help you decide what to include on your VBS page.
- Important information including dates, times, and theme
- Pricing (and ways to pay)
- Schedule of events (bonus if people can add it to their calendar)
- Location (address and directions)
- Contact information of your children’s pastor and other important volunteers
- FAQ’s (see examples below)
- What should my child wear?
- What does my child need to bring?
- Where should I drop my child off?
- What if they need to be picked up early one day?
- What will my child learn about?
- Can I volunteer?
- Will they be in a class with their friends?
- Video/photos of past VBS experiences at your church
- Registration forms and waivers
- Links to other helpful pages on your church website (find out how to create a great kids page here)
Once you have your content written, you will also want to be strategic about the organization and page layout.
Ekklesia 360 actually has a layout designed just for special events. This e360 layout will make sure that all of your content is in a place that makes sense and is easily found.
4. Make Online Registration And Payment Simple
Next, make sure that you make online registration simple and efficient for both parents and your admin staff. Oftentimes several forms will be required for VBS registration. This may include a registration form, medical release form, and even a background check for volunteers. Make sure to include all of these on your VBS website.
When thinking through forms, the easiest way to incorporate this into your VBS website is by integrating it with your church management software. That way, when people fill out a form on your church website, it will automatically populate into your ChMS for easy organization and upkeep. Find out how to create the best VBS form here.
It’s important to make sure you collect all of the necessary information on forms including:
- Child’s name and age
- Parent contact information (phone number, email address, etc.)
- Emergency contact information
- Phone number, email address, and home address for follow-up
Offering online registration will simplify the first morning of VBS and make it as easy as possible on your team.
It’s also important to include payment information on your VBS website. If people can pay ahead of time, not only will they be more invested in bringing their child to VBS, but it will help you to have one less thing to focus on on the first morning of VBS.
The best way to offer online payment on your VBS website is by integrating your online giving system. This will help with bookkeeping, records and make everything as seamless as possible.
5. A Few Things To Remember
Finally, here are a few key things to remember when creating your VBS website. These are great tips for not only your VBS website but any website you may create.
- Make sure that your VBS website is mobile friendly. More people than ever use their phones to browse the web, so make sure that your site, your registration forms, and any graphics or videos you incorporate are all mobile friendly.
- Don’t ignore SEO. If VBS is truly an outreach for your church, you’ll want to make sure your website can easily be found on Google. Here are a few basics of SEO and e360 websites.
- No matter if you create a landing page or a separate website, make sure to link to your site on your church’s homepage and in all of your promotional material. Again, the goal is for people to find and engage with your VBS website.
A great VBS website can make the promotion and engagement of your Vacation Bible School easier from the beginning. The best part is that you don’t have to do it alone. Ekklesia 360 was created for the church and knows exactly what all you need when it comes to creating a VBS website. Get help, ask questions, and try an e360 website out here.