Let’s set the record straight: your church website design should be a beautiful representation of your church family. But––above all else––the design of your website is a problem-solving tool. Visual design and aesthetics are important, but they’re only one step in a detailed design process.
“Design” is so much more than pixels, fonts, pictures, and colors. It’s an overarching process where we strategically look at your church’s unique goals, critical paths, and problems. We then use all of the tools and knowledge at our disposal to make sure your website design is truly able to rise to the ministry challenges you face.And here’s where the value of a custom church website design comes in: A custom design is built just for you. It builds this process around your goals, paths, and––most importantly––your problems. No matter what’s trending or being used by other churches, your finished product needs to be distinctive to your online ministry needs.
Custom Design Versus An e360 Theme
If you start your church website design with a theme, you must find creative ways to make your content fit within a predefined design. This causes some give and take between what you want and what your theme options are.
Think of this like buying a house: What features are non-negotiable for you? What could you live without? What’s the most important idea, or what’s only “just kinda nice?” Once you know your list of “must-haves,” you can search a theme that satisfies those needs. You can add functionality by tailoring a theme to meet your needs, but remember that tailoring is an added expense, and you’ll want to be sure your website can still effectively meet your church’s unique needs.
As you prioritize the features and functionality your church needs, you may discover that you don’t want to work within the bounds of a theme. If you need a more robust church website, you’ll find immense value in custom design work because the sky’s the limit. Your entire site will be built around your needs and goals––to solve your problems.
Work From the Ground-Up
Custom design and development means that you will begin your strategy with a blank slate. Once you have your ministry goals (and your strategic solutions) set in place, you can sprinkle in your *hopes and dreams!*
Say that you already know your church family responds well to visual imagery and videos, and your goal is to get your congregation more involved with your online ministry. A great way to build impact in that situation is to make the church website focus on videos about your congregation. Build your website to focus on the worship and work of your congregation and what their lives look like.
In this example, if you choose a theme, you may not be able to find a way to adequately add emphasis to photos or add the ability to feature your great videos. But if you’re in the custom design process, your whole site will start with that premise––that visuals are the focus of your website. It’s your goal to make your site a visual hotspot that features your church family in snapshots and real videos.
This is the kind of built-from-the-ground-up mentality that will provide so much value in a custom church website design. You have no existing parameters or framework to fit within, and your new site will be a completely unique creation.
Dig Into the Details
Being “unique” is a good segue into the other half of the value in a custom design: no other church will have a website like yours. “Going custom” means getting into all of the particulars that make your church special and individual. We want to draw out those elements and build a site that suits YOUR goals and solves YOUR challenges.
For instance, maybe your church family is especially active in mission work––both domestically and abroad. What makes you different from other churches is your strength and generosity and mission work, or in volunteering and service programs. This is the type of functionality you can put at the core of your whole website strategy if you use a custom design. You shouldn’t have to squeeze your highly individualized mission work, or service opportunities into the generic framework that themes have. We love our themes, but the custom design process allows us to dig deeper into your church’s personality to ensure it shines through in the finished product.