Great websites do more than provide great information in a clean and easy to use package. They interact with the user to enhance their overall experience when viewing the site. The term “interact” doesn’t necessarily mean twenty different popups for your user to dismiss. Rather, it describes a website that allows the user to provide feedback or save information and to make them feel as if their voice is being heard.
Here at Worship Times we realize that trying to figure out when and where to place different interactive features on your site can seem daunting. Let us share some tips for adding interactive components to your site, and we can even create a plan tailored to your needs and wants for your own website!
Ways to Add Interactivity to Your Existing Website
By no means do you need a shiny, new website to add interactive components to your existing website. With some areas on your website, you might want the user to be able to provide information. In other areas you might want the user to simply take information from your website and save it (a calendar event comes to mind) or maybe you just want a universal symbol that the user can recognize. There are a number of ways to add different forms of interaction for a user.
- Forms: Forms are an incredibly easy (and effective) way to add interactivity for the end user. Every ministry should have a contact us form and page on their website. This gives the user a way to make their voice heard whenever it is most convenient to them. Forms have so much more potential! A donation form could be used to accept donations for your ministry online. A prayer request form could be displayed on your website, so when hardship strikes those in need of a little extra help and support can have your ministry and its members at its fingertips. A form could be used to accept news from your members to be shared with your ministry, or to allow members to post their own events on your ministry’s calendar, and the list goes on and on. Even better, with every form you can send instant email alerts to any (or all) members of your team to keep everyone in the loop.
- Events System and/or Calendar: A great events system is incredibly important! A visitor to your site should never have to make more than two clicks to find the time and location of your next worship service. Why stop with your worship services? Having a calendar that displays all of your ministry’s event information in a clean and neat display to allow visitors to save your events to their own calendar is even more important. You can even pair a form with your events system to allow your members to submit their own events to your calendar. With Worship Times we have an industry standard events system to display all of your events on your website and take care of everything you could ever want.
- Media: Another effective way to get visitors to interact with your ministry is to add various forms of media to your website. Many sites have pictures and slideshows, but what about audio and video recordings of your sermons, and PDF versions of your newsletters and bulletins? Here at Worship Times we have custom tools that you won’t find anywhere else to allow you to add all of your sermons and ministry’s publications in one place! What better way to get visitors to interact with your ministry than by making your sermon available to them to be able to listen to it during their daily commute or down time after work?
- Social Media: Social media is bigger than ever! Adding social links and icons can actually increase interactions on both your website and social media accounts. Chances are you probably already have your social media accounts linked on your site! Awesome! Make sure you are using social media logos so anyone can quickly spot and recognize what you are sharing. Putting those logos in your website’s footer is another great choice as your footer is displayed on every single page of your website. No matter what page a visitor lands on, your social media accounts are there. Going into your social media accounts and including a link to your website is another great step to take for those that land on your social media accounts before your website.
Things to Keep In Mind
As you start adding various interactive pieces to your site, here are a couple things to keep in mind.
- Go Easy: Don’t go overboard, please. We have all landed on a site that suddenly displays twelve popups, starts playing a video, and asks us for our email address. What have you done? Clicked as fast as you can on that little close button to make it all stop as quickly as possible. You don’t want visitors doing that with your ministry’s website. Give visitors a chance to get to know your ministry, but when they have a question make that contact us form a single click away. When they are looking for that sermon to listen to, make sure it is displayed on the sermon page, not on every page but the sermon page. Even better, get input from your staff when deciding where and how much of something to use.
- Keep it Clean: At the heart of every website is its content. Without content, a website is nothing. After content comes design. Your website’s content should be easy to find, read, and well organized. After all of that comes additional functionality that does anything extra. Contact forms, sermons, event listings, pop ups, etc. should never take away from your site’s content or design. If something is distracting to you, chances are very good that a visitor will think the same thing. If an interactive piece of your website has good intentions, but it is just too distracting and is pulling focus away from your content, that has to change. Here at Worship Times we have in-house solutions that are both functional and pretty! We can even help you create a custom solution to keep the favorite interactive pieces of your website while making them a supporting role to your website’s content instead of the main role.
Here at Worship Times we understand that making your new or existing website interactive can be daunting. Whether it be trying to add the correct icon sizes for your social media links, creating displays for your sermons, setting up all of the email notifications for your team members when a form is submitted, or just adding that pesky event.
We can take care of all of the abstract, time-consuming, yet important tasks of maintaining your ministry’s website. That way you can spend your precious time doing what you’re best at: running your ministry. Let our dedicated team with tens of years of experience treat you like family!
No task it too big or too small! Let’s get started today.