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    Best Practices! - Entries tagged "Church Design"

    Home - Blog - Best Practices! - Entries tagged "Church Design"
    MonMondayAprApril15th2013 Cheaper Alternatives to Adobe Products for Churches and Ministries
    byDavid Pohlmeier Tagged Church Design 3 comments Add comment
    Part of maintaining a successful ministry or church website is publishing professional photos and graphics. The industry standard for image editing and graphic design is the Adobe Creative Suite. Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premier, etc, they truly are great pieces of software. They also come with a pretty steep price tag. Photoshop alone costs $699.00.

    Gouda Loves The MacBook Pro.

    Are there viable alternatives? The author of this blog post suggests there are. The article only features Mac software (Sorry PC users). Below is the Adobe product and the comparable Mac App you could use as a replacement. I'm only going to list the three products that will benefit a content creator for a website. Check out the article for more.
    • Photoshop will run $699. Instead, use Pixelmator for just $14.99
    • Illustrator will set you back $599. Try Indeeo's Draw for $24.99
    • Dreamweaver costs $399. RapidWeaver has similar name and costs just $79.99
    I have used Pixelmator. I've even recommended it in the past. I cannot speak for the other two pieces of software. I'd suggest researching and downloading free trials if they exist. As a professional graphic designer, there probably won't ever be a replacement for Adobe products. For someone who's tasked with keeping their church or ministry website up to date and looking good, the software above just might be the ticket.

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    MonMondayFebFebruary4th2013 Lightstock - Christ Centered, Royalty-Free Photos
    byDavid Pohlmeier Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    Churches and ministries using our CMS ask all the time about where they can find quality images for their website. Recently, I was introduced to lightstock.com Lightstock has some amazing photography to purchase, it's affordable, and it's Christ Centered.

    I asked if they would write a little about their company so we could share it with you.

    "Launched in late November 2012, Lightstock is a faith-focused, safe-searching, carefully-curated stock photography website geared exclusively for the Christian community. Its images are perfect for any number of church or ministry uses, whether it's bulletins, church websites, sermon slides, worship backgrounds, or video illustrations.

    Founders, Jon & Josh Bailey explain what compelled them to create Lightstock. “We had this big dream in our hearts that Lightstock could fundamentally change the way Christian designers, chief-creatives and church staff members go about their creative endeavors for Christ’s kingdom. For nearly a year we’ve been on an unrelenting journey to forge a strong link - connecting an army of faith-based photographers to the Christian community at large - an audience, hungry for meaningful visual resources.”

    Lightstock fills a gaping hole with faith-focused content that can’t be found anywhere else. Professional photos portraying Christian themes are no longer a distant wish, but a concrete reality. You’ll love viewing thousands of professional, Christ-centered images portraying Bible-based themes."

    Check out Lightstock.com today.

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    MonMondayJunJune25th2012 Why Responsive Church Websites? Google and Bing Prefer Them
    byBryan Young Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    Riddle:
    I am one of the most important visitors to your church website. I visit your website regularly, and I read every word each time. You must create all content with me in mind, even though I'll never interact with you. In fact, I'm not even a person. Who am I?

    Answer:
    Search engine robot crawlers.

    Getting search engine crawlers to like your content is key to any website that wants to be found in search results. So it's important to know that the two biggest search engines, Google and Bing, have recently spoken in favor of responsive web design over mobile-version websites. Here are the three biggest reasons why you should agree with them.


    1. Responsive Websites Get Better Search Rankings


    When you redirect mobile users to a different website (with a different URL), you do the same to search engine crawlers. They then index your mobile website as separate from your desktop site, splitting up your search engine currency: optimized content and web traffic credentials. Mobile websites also rarely have any inbound links--a big influence on search engines.

    A responsive website only uses one URL, does not split up visitors or inbound links, and is more likely to get ranked higher in search results.

    Look at the chart below. Website A uses two URLs, one for desktop visitors and one for mobile. Website B utilizes responsive web design. You can see how search engines would split up Website A's visitors and links into two separate, less appealing websites. Website B doesn't face those issues.

    Website A

    Website B
     Desktop Website
      (website.com)
      6,000 pageviews
      3,000 unique visitors
      700 inbound links
      search rank: 5
     Mobile Website
      (m.website.com)
      2,000 pageviews
      1,000 unique visitors
      0 inbound links
      search rank: 10

    Responsive Website
    (website.com)
    8,000 pageviews
    4,000 unique visitors
    700 inbound links
    search rank: 2


    2. Responsive Websites Use Less Bandwidth


    If you have two websites (one for desktop, one for mobile), you double the amount of web crawler traffic to your web servers. These crawlers consume bandwidth, which means your human visitors could experience sluggish performance and increased load times. While robots may not mind a few seconds of waiting, we all know real people certainly do and will likely respond by leaving your website.


    3. Responsive Websites Take Less Work


    When you decide to use a separate website for mobile visitors, you are volunteering to double your workload. Mobile websites have to be maintained just like desktop sites. Do you have time to build (initially) and develop content (continually) for two websites?


    The Good News


    Many of iMinistries' free church website templates are built to be responsive to any device. Check out our new free templates or start a free trial today to see how we can solve your church website dilemmas.

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    MonMondayMayMay14th2012 Above the Fold - Should I Worry About It?

    As a web designer there are a few "suggestions" that clients throw at me all the time.

    • Can you make my logo bigger?
    • Can we have only pictures and no text?
    • Can we have a flash website?
    • Can you be sure to keep everything "above the fold?"

    In this post, I'd like to address the concept of above the fold.

    The term comes from back in the days of printed newspapers. The best photographs and most attention grabbing headlines were placed above the newspaper fold to entice buyers to purchase that particular issue. There was literally no way to see what was on the bottom half unless you made the purchase, costing you money.

    For years now, the term above the fold has been used to represent the information that is placed above 600px on a website. According to the people who use this term, users aren't willing to scroll on a webpage. The fact of the matter is that this does not cost the website visitor anything other than a quick flick of the finger on the scroll wheel. It's free, unlike a newspaper. There is no reason someone won't look below the fold unless you have a poorly designed website.

    Take a second and read this quick post called "Life Below 600px" by Paddy Donnelley. I subscribe to the concept of the build up. Simply put, provide information and graphics that a website user will want to see. Then entice them to scroll down and want to see more by even more great graphics and written content. Maybe the best example you can find out there on the internet is the website for Charity Water. I want to scroll on just about every page on this website. The data is presented so well. There is breathing room around everything and pages have important information 3000px down. I saw it though.

    We analyze the statistics and how our iMinistries website is interacted with on a regular basis. We've also noticed on all of our pages, users are willing to scroll. With the above the fold concept you'd think that most of the clicks to our "Free Trial" or "Pricing" button would happen only at the top of this page. Clearly, we are getting many clicks all the way at the bottom. We believe this is because we've presented the information on this page in a simple, clean  visual way and have provided content that our website visitors want to see.



    On a Church Website, what do you think should be above the fold?

    • Important calls to action
    • Good graphics or pictures
    • The main website navigation
    • Some well written, SEO friendly text
    Spend some time on good copy and good graphics and persuade users to scroll and they will. A successful church website needs both of those to encourage interaction.

    If you'd like to read up on what some industry and research experts have to say, I'd encourage you to check out these articles.
    1. Blasting the Myth of the Fold
    2. The Myth of the Fold: Evidence from User Testing
    3. Utilizing the Cut-off Look to Encourage Users to Scroll

    And finally, check out this article written in 1997! It even suggests that users are willing to scroll.



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    TueTuesdayMayMay8th2012 Olivet Responsive Skin (re)Release Lately, we've been working on creating our new free website skins using responsive layouts. We released Jericho a few weeks ago and will soon be releasing Galillee. Today, we are announcing the (re)release of Olivet as a responsive skin.

    Responsive church designs are websites that scale to fit any screen size. It looks good on computer screens, phones as well as tablets. Each even has it's own layout.

    If you are wanting to change over to the responsive version of Olivet follow these steps:
    1. Log In to your website.
    2. Expand Site Control.
    3. Click Site Preferences.
    4. Click Design.
    5. Change your skin to Responsive Olivet Skin.
    6. Follow our support files to finalize the setup.
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    MonMondayMayMay7th2012 Free Stock Photos and Banners for Church Websites [RESOURCE]
    byBryan Young Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    We understand that church website administrators are usually understaffed and overworked. We've been there. That's why we're always on the lookout for tools and resources to make your job -- maintaining a great-looking, useful church website -- easier and more enjoyable.


    Recently, I ran into the website, CreationSwap. This great resources offers churches free and stock graphics and photos for download and use on websites, bulletins, brochures, and other promotional materials. They also offer Christian artists a place to network, discuss, critique, and freely share or sell their art.

    If you lack the design expertise, or access to a graphic designer, check out CreationSwap for website banners and photos. Below are some of our favorite free images.

    Photos

       
       

    Banners

       
       

    Do you have favorite images from CreativeSwap? Have you used their photos or banners in the past? Share your experiences in the comments.

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    MonMondayMarMarch26th2012 Free Responsive Church Website Design - Jericho

    iMinistries is pleased to announce that we are now providing responsive website designs for churches and ministries.



    We are excited to announce that we have implemented our latest free design for all of our customers! The design is called Jericho and we think it's really awesome. Why? Great question! One word...responsive.

    Definition of a Responsive Website

    A web site crafted to use media queries with fluid proportion-based grids, to adapt the layout to the viewing environment. As a result, users across a broad range of devices and browsers will have access to a single source of content, laid out so as to be easy to read and navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling.

    What Does That Mean?

    It boils down to this. When you look at the Jericho website it will dynamically change the layout based on the type of device you are using. Give it a try. Open the website on a tablet or on a mobile phone. It's the same content, just formatted differently to fit that specific screen size. With this method there is no need for a separate mobile version of a website tailored to specific devices. This will display correctly on all devices.



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    MonMondayDecDecember19th2011 New Church Plant Websites iMinistries continues to be blessed by our relationship with Harvest Bible Chapel. Not only do we get to work with the church and its six main campuses, we also have the privilege to work with their church plants all over the world. Each year a new group of pastors partner with us to create their new church websites. This year literally had church plants from the east coast to the west coast. We set up seven websites in just two months!



    Harvest Greenville Southwww.harvestgreenvillesouth.org
    Harvest Los Angeles Southwww.harvestlosangeles.org
    Harvest Nashville Centralwww.harvestnashvillecentral.org
    Harvest Cambridge Ohiowww.harvestbiblechapelcambridge.org
    Harvest Clear Lakewww.harvestclearlake.org
    Harvest Fort Waynewww.harvestfortwayne.org
    Harvest Traverse Citywww.harvesttraversecity.org



    Because of our unique and ongoing relationship with Harvest Bible Chapel, we're able to move quickly on each website. We understand the culture of Harvest and are able to work with them efficiently with a great deal of mutual trust and support. If you're a large church or church planting organization and would like to talk with us about partnering with iMinistries, . We'd love to learn about your ministry and see if there is any way that we can further the Gospel by working/partnering with you.



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    MonMondayDecDecember5th2011 7 Great Church Logos Used in Church Website Branding
    byBryan Young Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    One purpose of your church website is to promote your church brand--its values, mission, and story. Your church logo is the primary conveyor of your brand, on your website (it should be the first thing visitors see), your letterhead, bulletin, and other materials. If your logo doesn't reflect who you are, it may be time to make a change.

    Here are 7 examples of churches who use a logo, featured prominently on their church website, that mirrors their brand.

    Christ Church
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Their brand

    "Christ Church is more than just a building. It's a group of people coming together to leave a personal and eternal 'fingerprint' on the world around us."
    - Christ Church website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    Fingerprints combine to create a cross, representing the different, unique people that combine to create the church.


    Catalyst Church
    Middletown, CT

    Their brand

    "Catalyst Church ... [is] passionate about creating environments where people can connect with God."
    - Catalyst Church website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    The fiery red color evokes energy and passion. The button with arrows inspires action and connection.


    City Church
    Billings, MT

    Their brand

    "The local church is the instrument God is using to extend His Kingdom on the earth today!"
    - City Church website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    The earthy colors of the city skyline reflect the mountainous landscape of Montana. The white text on a black background represents the "light in the darkness" role the church plays in the world.


    New City Church
    Phoenix, AZ

    Their brand

    "Cities are the center of culture. Often, they are the intersection of art, politics, and business. New City exists to engage culture where it’s created, weaving the story of God into the story of Phoenix."
    - New City Church website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    The mosaic circle design imitates a city street grid and the intersection of lines refers back to the intersection of ideas mentioned in the mission statement. If you look closely, you'll see a few crosses mingled in. 


    Park Community Church
    Chicago, IL

    Their brand

    "Our vision: to be a biblical community where the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms lives, renews the city and impacts the world."
    - Park Community website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    A bright cross resides inside the shining lights of the Chicago skyline, much like this church strives to be a beacon of hope in the heart of the city.


    Redemption Church
    Gilbert, AZ

    Their brand

    “Redemption Church is born out of the conviction that the church unified can impact the world dramatically for the gospel. ... The vision of Redemption Church is to saturate the State of Arizona with Gospel-centered, Reformed, Missional churches through campuses and church plants.”
    - Redemption Church website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    Redemption's singular "R" stands within a circle, conveying the idea of unity of conviction and vision the church maintains while meeting at many locations throughout Arizona. The circle itself recalls the sun, a prominent symbol of Arizona.


    the well
    Ludlow, KY

    Their brand

    "We weren't meant to do this alone. The strength of the church lies within its community. ... We want to be a part of a vibrant, growing community."
    - the well website

    How the logo promotes the brand

    A well is a central meeting place and source of life and refreshment within biblical communities. This church strives to be that place spiritually for the people of Ludlow, Kentucky. The combination of well and cross imagery in the church's logo is clear and moving.

    How does your church logo promote your brand?

    Is it time to re-evaluate your church logo? Does it tell your website visitors who you are? Use the examples above to inspire you.

    Learn More About Church Website Branding

    Using Your Church Website to Promote Your Brand - iMinistries Blog
    2 Questions to Answer When Branding Your Church Website - iMinistries Blog
    Jeff Schwartzentraub: Your Church Website Promotes Your Brand [Video] - iMinistries Blog
    Top 77 Church Logos of 2011 - ChurchRelevance.com

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    MonMondayOctOctober10th2011 2 Questions to Answer When Branding Your Church Website
    byBryan Young Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    starbucks interiorNext time you pick up a latte at your local Starbucks, make mental notes at all the ways in which they promote their brand. I'm not talking about just their green mermaid logo, but what their company stands for--quality products, responsible business practices, fast service, that "coffee shop" feel, and inclusiveness. You might have noticed this ...
    • The thick aroma of brewing coffee
    • Posters of their coffee bean growers, from small farms around the world
    • The whooshing of steamed milk with relaxing jazz music playing in the background
    • Rich wood and oversized, plush furniture
    • Its own language, spoken by drink orderers and creators

    Like this Starbucks store, branding on your church website is more than just slapping your logo on the home page and picking a color scheme. Here are two questions to answer to help promote your church brand on your website.

    1. What is your story? [Strategy]

    Your website users want to know if you value what they do. So tell them what you value.
    What is your ...
    • Beliefs
    • History
    • Mission/Vision
    • Impact on people
    • Impact in your community

    2. How is that story best told? [Tactics]

    Now you need to determine how to tell your story to your website visitors. Base your storytelling techniques on the people who visit your ministry and your website. Are they ...
    • Readers (traditional written stories)
    • Media-consumers (inspirational videos of changed lives)
    • Social butterflies (blog and social media interaction)
    • Audiophiles (podcast interviews or sermons)
    • Attention deficient (one off graphics and banners)
    • Data-hungry (web pages with lists, charts, and pure information)

    Learn more about branding

    The New World Order of Branding - And What It Means To You - Katya's Non-Profit Marketing
    Using Your Church Website to Promote Your Brand - iMinistries Blog
    Jeff Schwartzentraub: Your Church Website Promotes Your Brand [Video] - iMinistries Blog
    Find Your Church's Brand Identity - Church Solutions
    Discovering Your Brand - Church Relevance 

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    MonMondayAugAugust1st2011 Jeff Schwartzentraub: Your Church Website Promotes Your Brand [Video]
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    Having strong a brand can be as important for churches and ministries as they are for small businesses and global conglomerates. Strong branding means your name, logo, and imagery remind your seekers and ministry members what you stand for--whether its for world missions, reaching urban youth, or preaching the truth of God's Word. 

    Your church website can be a key component in establishing and promoting those brand values. Jeff Schwartzentraub of Harvest Bible Chapel Denver recently expressed how the brand of his ministry, OneHeartbeat, was impacted by utilizing iMinistries' Church Website CMS. He was so impressed, he even had us design a brand new logo along with business cards, letterhead and remittance envelopes. It was an awesome branding project to be apart of, and so was working with Jeff and Aaron Carnahan.



    Video Transcript

    "Hey I'm Jeff Schwartzentraub, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Denver and President and founder of OneHeartbeat.

    I wanted to let you know that working with iMinistries has been a tremendous blessing to us. In moving to Denver, Colorado we knew virtually nobody and our web presence has been incredible for us not only just to tell people about who we are, but to post messages and just working with iMinistries has been tremendous. Working with Travis and David have been so helpful to us to quickly securing a very positive, clear and clean site. It lets people know who we are and what we are about.

    So for Harvest Denver and OneHeartbeat, the logo, the crispness and what we are able to do has been tremendous and it has been a huge blessing to people finding our ministries, being able to engage with us, and it has been a tremendous blessing to work with iMinistries.
    "


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    MonMondayJanJanuary3rd2011 The Importance of Your Logo
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    Creating a great logo is amazingly difficult. Creating a great logo that someone wants to talk about is entirely different.

    When I found the article, 50 Fantastically Clever Logos, I was blown away. To me, every logo found in this blog post is beautiful, clever, and communicates something. What do I mean by communicating something? These logos tell me:
    • They pay attention to great design. Their product/service probably does too.
    • They are intelligent and value intelligence. When you investigate each logo, there are two (or more) meanings to be taken away.
    • Their product/service is polished. Anyone that pays this kind of detail to their logo should also be doing the same with their product.
    • I am going to pay them whatever they demand. In my mind, before even knowing what they offer, I have already decided that their product/service is clearly a cut above!
    Now, maybe they don't do or provide quality stuff. The only way I am going to find out is by conducting my own research. But, already, I feel that they have won a big battle--they have got me to check them out without spending one more dime of their advertising budget.

    I realize that church and ministries do not have the budget that businesses do. But it still begs the question, "What are you communicating with your logo?"

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    MonMondaySepSeptember20th2010 19 Twitter Icons

    Since we have been talking about Twitter, we thought that this article from One Extra Pixel might be helpful. In it, they provide 55 Twitter Buttons & Icon Sets. We paired it down to a more manageable 19 sets.


    404creative
    404creative

    Graphic Leftovers Buttons
    Graphic Leftovers Buttons

    Graphic Leftovers Grunge Badge
    Graphic Leftovers Grunge Badge

    Janko At Warp Speed
    Jankoat Warp Speed

    Kurumizawa
    Kurumizawa

    Marchari
    Marchari

    Matthamm
    Matthamm

    Pasqualedsilva
    Pasqualedsilva

    Pixey
    Pixey

    Poeticpixel
    Poeticpixel

    Productive Dream Vector Twitter
    Productive Dream Vector Twitter

    Productive Dreams Twitter Bird
    Productive Dreams Twitter Bird

    Smashing Freebies
    Smashing Freebies

    Splashnology
    Splashnology

    Stock Graphic Designs
    Stock Graphic Designs

    Web Design
    Web Design

    weFunction
    weFunction

    weFunction 2
    weFunction

    Wurstgott
    Wurstgott

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    MonMondayJulJuly5th2010 Is Your Homepage Attractive? Part 5: Ads
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    5. Ads

    In the past few blogs, we explored how to improve the look of your homepage by writing compelling content, adding thumbnails and highlights, and by creating a custom scrolling header. In this blog, we'll explain how ads can be the finishing touch on the first page your visitors see.

    The goal of your homepage is to "convert" your vistor--to convince them to stay on your site longer, see what your ministry has to offer, and hopefully visit your ministry in person or contact you for more information. One way to do this is to show them what's happening with you. You can do this on a large scale with scrolling headers, but you can also do this by creating and uploading ads.

    Just like a business would use advertisements in newspapers, billboards, or television, you can advertise your upcoming events, latest news, podcasts, or blogs in the same way. The goal is the same--to get your audience to buy what you're selling. In this case, you are selling your ministry and your ministry website's offerings.

    On your iMinistries website, you have a designated place where ads will display, depending on your skin. Most ads show above highlights in the right column. And with iMinistries Rotator feature, you can easily add scrolling ads to maximize the use of this space.

    Step 1:
    Create your ads to "sell" the content of your choice.
    Step 2: Make a Rotator, add slides, upload your images, and link them to your content.
    Step 3: In your site's Content Administration, use the Widget feature to add your Rotator as a ad.



    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    MORE RESOURCES FOR ADS

    What is An Ad? How Do I Create an Ad? - iMinistries Knowledgebase
    What is Rotator Admin? How Do I Create a Rotator? - iMinistries Knowledgebase Video
    MonMondayJunJune21st2010 Is Your Homepage Attractive? Part 4: Custom Header
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    4. Header

    Your ministry website's header is your place to grab your visitor's attention. Since its placement is most prominent on your homepage, your header can be used for several things:
    • To advertise your upcoming ministry events
    • To link to your About pages (Our Beliefs, Service Times, etc.)
    • To let visitors know about your site's blogs and podcasts
    Using iMinistries' Rotator feature, you can create a scrolling header for your homepage that can do all these things.

    Step 1:
    Create your banner images to advertise the content of your choice.
    Step 2: Make a Rotator, add slides, upload your images, and link them to your content.
    Step 3: In your site's Content Administration, use the Widget feature to add your Rotator as a header.



    Now your site visitors can see what your ministry is all about, and what's currently going on, from the second they get there. And in the Web world, every second counts.

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    MORE INFO ABOUT HEADERS AND THE ROTATOR FEATURE

    Adding a Header – iMinistries Support Video
    What is a Rotator? How do I Create a Rotator? – iMinistries Support Document
    Rotator Feature – iMinistries Feature Description
    Rotator Transition Styles – iMinistries Feature Description
    MonMondayJunJune7th2010 Is Your Homepage Attractive? Part 3: Adding Highlights
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    3. Highlights

    Are you using Highlights effectively? Do you even know what a Highlight is? Every page should have at least one Highlight on it. Why?
    • Because they provide additional points of interest
    • Because they provide additional imagery to break up the text
    • Because they make your website appear more dynamic, even if you don't have someone maintaining your website, by using the "Random Highlight" option
    • Because they make your website look more filled with content
    • Because they provide additional cross links, which makes you look better to search engines
    • Because they provide additional navigational links, which help your users find more information


    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    OTHER RESOURCES ON HIGHLIGHTS

    What Are Highlights? – iMinistries Support
    Adding Highlights? – iMinistries Support Video
    Why Highlights? – Wisdom & Insight for Your Website
    MonMondayMayMay24th2010 Is Your Homepage Attractive? Part 2: Adding Thumbnails
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    2. Thumbnails

    If you are not adding thumbnails to the content that you post on your church website, you are missing a step that is a total game changer for how your website looks. I don't want to say that this is the most common thing people miss, but it is a big one. Check out the difference between our previous blog entry and the one below. They have the exact same pieces of information in them but this one has thumbnails.



    Thumbnails make your content "pop" off the page. The images break up the chunks of text so your homepage is more pleasing to the eye. They also give a visual representation to your content that your users can more easily identify with. Pictures speak a thousand words, remember?

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    OTHER RESOURCES ON THUMBNAILS

    How to add a thumbnail – iMinistries Support Video
    Free thumbnails – iMinistries Resources
    MonMondayMayMay10th2010 Is Your Homepage Attractive? Part 1: Content
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    As we've said before, having a great website is more than just fancy images and flashy bells and whistles. The same goes for having an attractive homepage. So how can you make your church website's homepage more attractive to its visitors? Follow us step-by-step through this five part series.

    1. Content

    Being visually appealing can make or break your website, but the real killer is your written content and how often it changes. While graphics can either pull people in or turn them away from your church website, how can anyone ever find you if Google, Bing, or Yahoo never visit you because there is no information for them to consume? And how will you keep people coming back if there is no information for them to consume?

    You need written content on your website's homepage that is dynamic, always up-to-date, and is constantly-changing. Adding the News, Events, or even Blog Widgets to your homepage will make a dramatic difference in how your website looks, both to visitors and search engines.


    In the example above, you can see that there are two news items, two events, and a latest blog entry from this website. This is an excellent start, especially because the content shows on the home page by a dynamic feed, or what we call the News, Events, and Blog Widget. Any time that there is a new item added to the News, Events, or Blogs Administration panel, they will update the home page.

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    ThuThursdayFebFebruary25th2010 Christian Tabernacle Church
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    Christian Tabernacle Church in Roselle, Illinois wanted a custom, unique look to their church website––a look-and-feel that reflected the personality of their congregation. Baron3, the designer of other custom skins, put together a sharp look using violets and pinks and incorporating their logo.

    A church of around 200 attendees with no Flash expert on staff, they wanted an easy way to manage the rotating ads on their home page. This initiated the development of the Rotator Feature. So all that use this feature in the future have CTC to thank.




    Free Trial

    See how easy it is to build your church website!
    Start your 15-day free trial account,

    MonMondayAugAugust24th2009 Using Your Church Website to Promote Your Brand
    byBryan Young Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment

    Bad News, Good News

    Bad news: The amount of time spent by visitors on your church website can be measured in a few short minutes. And because of the modern Web-surfer's short attention span, it has become critical for ministries to focus more on building and maintaining a brand to keep visitors on and returning to your website.

    Good news: iMinistries' Skin feature makes developing and maintaining a brand on your website a few easy clicks away.

    To a ministry or church, branding can seem overwhelming or even unnecessary. But think of it in these terms: developing and maintaining a brand can help you determine your mission and is a strategy to communicate what you are and what you stand for.

    Your website is often your bridge to prospective attendees, volunteers, or donors and is your best way to broadcast your vision and how you go about achieving it.

    You want people to know what you're all about from the moment they see your homepage and to remember your site long after they’ve left. To accomplish this, you have to first establish a brand identity.

    Establishing Brand Identity on Your Website

    1. Logo and Colors
    Think of your ministry’s focus. Think of the words, phrases, visuals, and colors to help convey this theme. Create or use your existing logo as a symbol for your ministry's mission.

    Keep these colors and themes in mind when selecting an iMinistries skin (our free skins can be found here) or when developing a custom skin for your site.



    New Life Covenant Ministries wanted to invoke the theme of growing in Christ. To do this, they used earth tones and greenery images throughout their site.

    2. Logo Use: Size and Position
    Now that you have a logo to represent your ministry, it should be the first thing users see when they visit your homepage. Display the logo large and prominent, usually in the top left corner of your homepage and continue that pattern on each page of your site.

    With iMinistries' Skin feature, the majority of the work is already done for you. You can add your own header, and inside of it you can place your logo so that it appears on each page.



    Harvest Bible Chapel created a Header with their logo and including a photo of their campus pastors on their respective campus websites.

    3. Consistency

    Use your logo, colors, and visuals to envelop your site with your mission. Use the same fonts, graphics, relative positions, and proportions for each web page on your site. A uniform navigation scheme coupled with a good color scheme can also help reinforce your brand image.
    Pick a style and go with it. Be consistent in your content voice and style.

    The use of Headers, Ads, and Thumbnails can help to achieve stylistic consistency. All of these features are included when you choose iMinistries for your website needs.



    OneVerse, an association of artists committed to Bible translation, displayed their logo in Headers, bright greens and blues and decorative graphics in their page bodies, and colorful Thumbnail photos of their artists across each of their website's pages. By using a custom or free iMinistries skin, achieving uniformity and consistency is easy.

    Sources for this Article/Other Resources Regarding Branding:

    The Significance of Establishing a Prominent Brand Identity for Your Website: OneExtraPixel
    Find Your Church's Brand Identity: Church Solutions
    Discovering Your Brand: Church Relevance
    MonMondayAugAugust17th2009 Harvest Bible Chapel - Founding Church
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 2 comments Add comment
    You might already know that using a content management system to keep your website up to date has its advantages. But what do you do when you want to redesign your church's website?

    Does it require a "Herculean" effort by many staff members? Are you forced to set up a brand new website or can a new design be applied to your existing content? There are a growing number of churches that have multiple locations now, so what if you need to expand your one website into multiple websites that are campus specific?

    While we provide services to many small churches and organizations, we can also handle that "Herculean" effort.
    Almost three years to the day, the founding Harvest Bible Chapel has successfully relaunched their website(s). This time, with a different flare though. Their previous website housed all of its ministries on each of their four campuses. We helped them transition to six campus-specific websites that their staff can manage.


    Their main site, http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org, provides all-campus information and resources. It also acts as a springboard to the campus websites. This helped to solve their growing menu crowding and site clutter.

    While there were many hours invested in the design, created by Baron3 Visual Communications, the actual process of going from one website to six took twelve hours and three staff members Friday night and Saturday morning. It was well worth it!

    Check out the new campus sites by visiting the main site and clicking the campus links, or click on the links below.

    http://www.harvestrollingmeadows.org
    http://www.harvestelgin.org
    http://www.harvestniles.org
    http://www.harvestcrystallake.org
    http://www.harvestwickerpark.org
    FriFridayJunJune12th2009 Acucare Total Health
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    We are pleased to announce the new website for Acucare Total Health. This website serves as a gateway to the Elgin community for clients can request an appointment, learn about what treatments Dr. Renee R. McMurry, D.C. and her staff offer, take a mini virtual tour of their office before their visit as well as learn about Acucare's community involvement



    We are excited to have them aboard our system and many thanks go out to Nate Baron of Baron 3.  Here is an excerpt from his website about the launching of their website.

    After some ups and downs as a medical practice, including the loss of a prominent mentoring doctor, a devastating fire and all the complications that come with a business going up in flames, AcuCare has chosen to rebirth their natural healthcare practice. The difference between the old offices and the new one is dramatic. It's also a well-deserved move, if you ask us.

    Honored to be part of the relaunch, Baron3 was selected to rebrand the practice, and to help with everything from stationery to the website. The process has begun, as evidenced by the portfolio items already in the various portfolio sections. We're in the middle of photo shoots, website design and general branding practices. Please check back later for more exciting items that we are creating for AcuCare Total Health.
    FriFridayJanJanuary9th2009 Harvest Bible Chapel - York Region
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    In January, we unveiled a new look and feel for Harvest Bible Chapel York Region. They had previously been using one of our free skins for over a year and made the decision to go "all in" in the fourth quarter of 2008. We were excited for the opportunity to serve them in this way for it is one of our first websites which has an increased content space, as you can see from the screen shot below.

    "iMinistries provided us with a valuable resource at very reasonable cost. The timeliness of their turnaround and the creativity of their design allowed us to clearly communicate the gospel and effectively provide our church with relevant content. We continue to use iMinistries, and would recommend them to any church or organization looking to develop their online presence on a budget."

    Ruth Naismith
    Administrative Assistant


    WedWednesdayOctOctober29th2008 One Verse - Artists Program
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 2 comments Add comment
    The Artist Association program is a community of artists that have a passion for God’s Word and want to use the ministry God has entrusted to them to bring the Good News to the poor, oppressed, and those kept in darkness, without the light of hope found in Christ Jesus. Artist Associates encourage others to sponsor the translation of God’s Word for a specific people group–ultimately celebrating with them in hearing from God in their own heart language! The Artist Association is a partnership between The Seed Company’s OneVerse Program and the artist. Through their efforts, time and passion for music, they are an invaluable partner in connecting those that have God’s Word to those that don’t.

    The website we created for them is vibrant, colorful, and "artistic" while still maintaining a clean look with tons of informative content.




    "Our experience with iMinistries couldn’t have been better! iMinistries excels in their customer support. From thorough research in our ministry to make sure they were meeting our needs, the ease of the custom design and attention to detail, the online help tutorials on how to navigate the many benefits of their tools, and the easy maintenance. They are always coming up with new features to serve our needs. The personal attention to our needs was outstanding. I’ve never had such friendly, fast, and competent service before. They were a blessing to us!"

    Jill Monaco
    Manager of Artist Relations and Events

    SatSaturdaySepSeptember6th2008 Come to Harvest
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    We created this website for a series featured at Harvest Bible Chapel. This site contained a welcome video by senior pastor, James MacDonald, an open invitation graphic, and linked to the main Harvest Bible Chapel website. This site is a great example of how video can be embedded on a homepage (or within your website) to dramatically represent your ministry.




    FriFridaySepSeptember5th2008 Harvest Bible Chapel - London
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    Harvest Bible Chapel of London, Ontario is one of my favorites! Both the staff and the site are top notch. I hope to make it to their church and Harvest Oakville at some point if I ever make it to Canada. This site is another great example of how we can make your ministry's web presence fresh and eye-catching.


    "We switched to iMinistries in 2006 and we have never looked back. The quality and ease of use of the content management system is amazing, as our site is highly presentable, but requires little time from me to make it that way as all the pieces are already in place. We had our whole site customized in 2008 and I could not be happier with the way it turned out, and the level of customer service we received on the project was outstanding."

    Jon Sodemon
    Director of Administration
    Harvest Bible Chapel London, Ontario
    SunSundayAprApril20th2008 Spring Cleaning for Your Website
    byDave McCall Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    One of the premier web usability books on the market today is abruptly titled, Don't Make Me Think. The premise of the book is based on the title. No surprise.

    The author asserts that web users not only don't want to think, but that they won't. Your site's visitors will lose patience if they are made to work too hard.

    With that said, we'd like to make a suggestion. Maybe it is time for a website "spring cleaning." There are certainly ways you can simplify your church website. Here are some suggested places to look for improvement:

    Navigation

    Can your menus be simpler? Are you using breadcrumbs and do they make sense to the user? Are items titled what people would expect, can they find items in the search? For most sites, each level of your menu should offer 4-7 options, does yours?

    Combining/Splitting

    Are there pages on your site that could be combined for simplicity? Are there items which would make sense as two items?

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    Highlights

    Are you routinely using all five highlights? Depending on your site's size, this may or may not be appropriate. Bigger sites should probably use highlights as much as possible to help users get to information more easily. For smaller sites, don't allow highlights to clutter your site too much. Two or three highlights may be enough.

    Purging

    Are there items on your site that are out of date or just need to be refreshed? Is all your content relevant? Is your staff directory up-to-date? Are you using expiration dates?

    As with any communication, try to put yourself in a visitor's shoes. Can they find what they want? Are they finding what they want with help from your site or in spite of it?
    SunSundayFebFebruary24th2008 Solid Rock Youth Ranch
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    This website for Solid Rock Youth Ranch looks a little bit different than some of the other church websites we've done, but the outcome is original, clean, and, as always, easy-to-use.



    WedWednesdayOctOctober10th2007 Harvest Bible Chapel - Naperville, IL
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    Harvest Bible Chapel Naperville is another example of how a church can implement its personality, logo, color scheme, and vision into its website. Although it is a Harvest church plant, its website is as unique and representative of itself as its people.



    TueTuesdayAugAugust7th2007 Federated Church
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment
    "I am extremely pleased with our iMinistries experience. Our customized skin allows us to present a distinctive yet professional image, and the website itself is easily kept current and interesting by our non-technical staff. The iMinistries product is a godsend for a church with limited resources to devote to their web presence."

    Melinda Smith
    Membership and Web Administrator
    The Federated Church



    SatSaturdayAprApril14th2007 Harvest Bible Chapel - Oakville, Ontario
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Church Design 0 comments Add comment