As we continue to build websites and help our clients, we wanted to start featuring some of the great work that is being created by you and your churches! Share the Practice asked Jan De Wulf of 3rd Church Dallas on how they went about creating and presenting their website.
Did you have a website before you came to Share the Practice?
We had a single page site which had been there for a few years and was completely stagnant.
Are you a web designer or did you have much experience with creating a website before you began?
I am not a web designer and had no experience creating a website before we began.
How long did it take to get your site up and running?
9 months. We put together content and writing for over 35 pages, we are all volunteers who do this outside our regular jobs, so we took our time. It took us a while to develop our site map which shows every page we wanted and the HOME page and navigational bar. We had a certain vision and took the time working with Share the Practice to get it just the way we had envisioned it.
What was your favorite part about the process of creating the 3rd Church Dallas website?
Working with Share the Practice who really partnered with us matching our pace coming up with wonderful designs and the technical solutions to make the website take shape as we envisioned it. The website is a reflection of our church discovering how vibrant our church really is and how active our members really are.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in building the site?
The design of the HOME page and site map took a long time. The slow process of creating all the content page by page, which was real work and for which I am very grateful to our website committee members who labored to meet many a Saturday mornings to produce all of it.
You have some excellent photography on your site that fits each section appropriately. Did you use a professional or someone from the church?
We used both. We are blessed to have some good photographers who are members at our church and we also hired a professional photographer for a few shots which were key for the HOME page. Photos should be a key component of all your pages, they communicate like a thousand words.
Have you seen a rise in your church activity due to the website?
Yes, we had 8 new members recently and as much as all the different things we are doing at church played a role in that, I know that having a vibrant website reflecting our church wholeheartedly contributed to helping these new members see in one place how active our church is.
What has the response been so far to your website?
Tremendous, we have had over 4,000 visitors come to our site in the last 12 months.
You promote regular monthly events on your site. Can you share some more information about those — have they been successful and what are some specific outcomes that have resulted from this forward-looking activity?
This is one of the corner stones of our site, what I like to call the “MEDIA box” on our home page in which we promote upcoming church activities. Committees reach out to the website team to promote their event, we create a MEDIA graphic, which then goes into that MEDIA box on the home page and those graphics will rotate like a slide show from one activity to the next. Clicking on the MEDIA slides takes you to more details of that event. The events range from lectures, charitable events, bible study groups, mens monthly luncheon, 3rd Sunday lunch, concerts and on and on and on.
What has resulted from having this MEDIA box?
– Church members who regularly come to the site to check the calendar have to go through the home page and see in an easy visual way their church is an active one
– Our membership is on the rise as this MEDIA box shows to visitors we are an active church helping them take the step of becoming a member
– It has become very easy for members to start mentioning church events on their Facebook page and linking it directly to the MEDIA box
– Our members can now easily say, “You can check it out on our website it’s right on our home page”
Can you give any advice to churches considering a website that do not currently have their own website?
I highly recommend building one for your church. It is a tremendous gateway for your community to find you and know you are here and a tremendous resource for your membership which reinforces their experience with your church.
Thank you so much to Jan and 3rd Church Dallas for sharing their experience with us here at Share the Practice! Great to hear that your church is growing and your entire membership can now benefit from your hard work.
Please feel free to comment or tell us how your church is making a difference too!