Your church or ministry may be graced with a really good graphic artist willing to volunteer some time to help with your website. This is a great thing. But in terms of what will make your website really serve your ministry needs, design runs third behind content and usability.
Your website may be ready to win design awards, but if it doesn’t consistently deliver the content people want and make it easy for them to find it, your ministry won’t be getting the most from your web presence.
Content is (still) king
This time-honored adage is more true now than ever. In the early 2000’s, years ago, a friend launched GlobalMediaOutreach.com to evangelize people around the world who might never ever visit a church or who even knew any Christians. Today, GMO is the most successful evangelistic tool in history. Millions hear the gospel message every year and around 15% consistently indicate that, yes, they have made a decision for Christ.
Walt Wilson, GMO’s founder, says that extensive content testing was done to see which design would attract and hold the most people. In the end, the “ugly design” won, hands down. This is a pure and simple one-column presentation of the Gospel. No photos; no fancy design elements. This simple, straightforward approach always outperforms all competition. But then, you’ll agree, the content is very, very compelling!
Even at your church or ministry, simple is as simple does. This is not to say that you should tell your volunteer designer, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Far from it. Use good design to make the site more magnetic and “sticky,” but make sure to present the content your visitors need and want. Then apply the make-up.