6 things we did building a multi expression website

behind-the-scenesWe’ve just finished a project to re-launch a website to support One Church as we move into multiple expressions.

Our goals with the re-launch were:

  • To build a site that supported multiple expressions of One Church, while also supporting the One Church ‘group’
  • To ensure that we recognised the different needs of visitors to the site with easy access to the right info

Here are some of the things we did as part of the project:

  1. Review of the previous site – this drew out some of the things we were really keen to keep, but also highlighted some areas that weren’t working as well as we wanted them to – this helped with producing a features list for our web designers to work to on the new site
  2. Worked out what groups of people are likely to visit the site, and what info they’ll need – once we had that info, it drove the structure of the landing page, as well as the page structure across the site. For us, we recognised these groups:
    • New people wanting to find out more about One Church – a warm welcome, vision and values etc. is most relevant, as well as service times and location for their local expression
    • People who are already part of One Church – mainly looking for latest news, events coming up etc. – for them, we created an expression home page with all that info pulled together
    • People in the local community or agencies looking for support from One Church’s community work
  3. How to organise the information for each expression – some multi-site churces have info for all locations as part of a single site; others have separate sites for each location. We went for all expressions contained within the same site, but with very distinct sections for each expression, for new people, and also for our international missions work (as that applies to all expressions).
  4. Look and feel – we wanted to create a fresh look and feel for the website, but we wanted to keep our logo – because of that, the logo provided the basis for the colour scheme, with designers coming up with a style for the site that fitted around the logo. Also, the same look and feel runs through the site, but each expression has its own set of images that run through that expression’s section.
  5. Department names – a pet hate of mine is church websites that have a ‘What we do’ section that’s just a list of cool sounding names that mean nothing to visitors. So, we intentionally structured our ‘What we do’ menu so it grouped our departments around what they do, and also showed the age groups – hopefully now, visitors should be able to easily see which departments are relevant to them. Click here then on ‘What we do’ to see how we did that.
  6. Promotions – we wanted to be able to more effectively promote events relevant to each expression, as well as group-wide events such as our annual ‘We Are One’ conference. This led us to having scrolling ‘advert’ graphics within each expression’s pages, as well as the graphic scroller on the home page. Also, these ads should disappear automatically once an event’s happened, reducing admin work.

Check out thisisonechurch.com and let me know what you think…

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