Congratulations to Faith Bible Church in Libby, Montana. Not only have they been selected to receive a free, professional review of their website but as the winners of the Extreme Makeover OCC Edition, we are actually going to implement the recommendations for them.
Barb Stuck requested the review and wrote, “I know very little about this whole arena and need every bit of constructive input that I can get. I feel that we need to present our church with a more current approach. Our website definitely does not have a current look.”
A little more about the site:
- The site was created using OurChurch.com’s NE1 Web Builder
- Target audience: those who are searching to know more about God or looking for a church home as well as info for our own people
- Budget: only for the cost of our hosting.
- Goals: I would like to update the look of the site (pictures, layout) to make it more current. Also either complete the pages that are “under construction” or delete them rather than just let them keep hanging.
Appearance & Layout
My first reaction to seeing the homepage is that I really dislike this template and I’m embarrassed that we even make it available.
The sites really needs a new template and could really benefit from a custom header that features and compliments their logo.
Navigation & Usability
There are too many items in the main menu. Pages should be organized into a handful of sub-menus.
It would also be helpful if there was an “About” or “New to FBC” section of the site specifically designed for visitors and a prominent graphic on the homepage that links to it.
Purpose & Goals
The church’s mission statement is hidden on the beliefs page. It should be either on the homepage or on a mission statement page in the About/New section.
The content really needs a lot of work. Let’s start with the homepage.
- There ought to be some kind of a welcome message from the pastor or at least the church’s mission statement.
- I would also suggest replacing the picture with a larger picture with people prominent.
Other general notes about the content
- Complete or get rid of pages that are currently blank.
- Include at least one picture on each page, either a real picture of people in the church or a stock photo.
- The “Website under construction” on the homepage needs to go. Either use the news module to show upcoming activities or remove it.
- Remove the Bible search from below the navigation menu.
- Google makes it easy to embed a map into the map page.
Finding the Website
I don’t know how many churches are in Libby, Montana but I’m guessing competition in the Google search results for phrases like “Churches in Libby, MT” isn’t too strong. Fortunately Faith Bible Church is #2 in the Google local results and #5 in the Google general results for that phrases.
That could actually be improved, though, by adding Libby, MT to the title tag, keyword & description tags, and the content of the homepage.
The church might also consider asking its members to post reviews in the Google, Yahoo, and Bing local results which would help their search rankings.
Interactivity & social media
As far as I can tell, the church has no blog, newsletter, Facebook page, or Twitter account. If they do, it’s not referenced anywhere on the site. Those might be things to consider, but it depends on whether the people in the congregation and the community are already reading blogs and using FB or Twitter.
Overall, the site could use quite a bit of work both on the design and the content. My top recommendations are:
- Select a different template
- Design a custom header which includes and compliments the church logo
- Reorganize the pages into sub-menus so there are fewer items in the main menu.
- Add a welcome message and a better picture to the homepage.
- Complete the content for all pages of the site including at least one image on each page.
Some additional things that could really help:
- Create a “New to FBC” section designed for visitors
- Create a cool “New to FBC” graphic and place it prominently on the homepage so it’s the first thing a new visitor sees.
- Start a weekly eNewsletter
- Consider whether a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account could help build community online.
What do you think? Agree or disagree with any of the recommendations? Do you have any other suggestions for Faith Bible Church?
Stay tuned… we’ll be giving this site its Extreme Makover and in 2 weeks we’ll show you all the changes.
If you’d like a free, professional review of your website, just click. Remember to be eligible to have your site reviewed next week, you must comment on one of this week’s blog posts.
EDIT (2/24/10): The Extreme Makeover is complete. See the before and after screenshots in this post.