With its Smithsonian-red stone walls surrounded by beautiful and expansive gardens, Luther Place Memorial Church is a pretty iconic destination at Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C.
In 2023, this congregation celebrates its 150th anniversary which prompted Justin Fitch, Director of Communications & Liturgy, to reach out to Evoke about a logo and website redesign. Their previous logo was created by a former staff member and was lacking the necessary versions Justin needed.
Next, the Evoke team tackled the website redesign and migration to a church-specific platform called FaithConnector. FaithConnector has an easy-to-use backend so even a website novice could create new pages and update ministry events without fear of "breaking" anything.
Although the church building is well recognized in the area, the redesigned website showcases the people of Luther Place and the work God is doing through the congregation.
We centered the holy work of the congregation rather than the facilities in hopes of inspiring new visitors to learn more, get connected to a ministry, or participate in worship.
Check out the new website and visual identity first hand!
For the month of June, we looked at a random sampling of ten church websites that Evoke manages (from across the U.S.) to identify the percentage of users who were on a mobile/tablet device while browsing these websites.
Can you guess the average percentage of users who were browsing on a mobile device?
57% of the users visiting these church websites were on a mobile or tablet device. That’s almost two-thirds of your website visitors!
If your website is not automatically optimized for mobile users, you have missed the opportunity to make a good first impression with most visitors!
So how do you optimize your site for mobile users?
Here are a few ways to ensure your site looks great on mobile devices and increase overall engagement with mobile users.
1. use a Responsive Website Platform
Be sure your website platform is “responsive”, meaning no matter the screen size the user is on, your website content layout will automatically adjust for the specific screen size.
Gone are the days when you need a separate mobile website. Website coding technology now has the built-in capability to adjust the layout of content in response to the specific size of the screen being viewed.
Some website platforms and templates do this better than others. The best way to test your website for this feature is to browse your website on a computer/laptop, grab the side of the browser window and condense the size to whatever size you choose.
Does the content “responsively” reorganize based on how large or small the browser window is? If not, you need a responsive website platform. Evoke can help you with that!
2. Decrease the Number of Pages
20 years ago, all of your website content needed to be “above the fold” because people would not scroll below what they could first see on the screen due to slow loading times.
However, user behavior has changed (thanks to the invention of smartphones and social media). There is no longer an apprehension to scroll down web pages which means you no longer need as many pages on your site.
If your menu looks like the example below, you are overwhelming users with too many options and making it hard for them to find the information they need in one place.
Condense multiple pages of content into one page and ultimately, simplify your menu to a handful of pages (shoot for 10–15 pages depending on your organization).
Your most important information should still be “above the fold” and designed to inspire users to keep scrolling but you are no longer limited to this small area—Yahoo…can you feel the freedom!?!
Here is an example of a condensed menu:
3. Interlinking of pages
Because of all the scrolling as mentioned above, mobile users rarely click on the website menu to browse a site.
The menu disappears the second we scroll down and appears as three lines in the top corner, called a “Hamburger menu”.
Therefore, it is crucial for your website pages to be interlinking, meaning one page of your site includes links to another page on your site so that users on a smartphone do not have to use the menu at all in order to browse around your website.
Like breadcrumbs leading Hansel and Gretel through the forest, interlinking helps mobile users explore deeper into your website, keeps them on your site longer, and also boosts your search engine rankings.
It’s a win-win!
Here is an example of interlinking on a church’s worship page:
4. Skimming is King!
5. Important Links as Buttons
Notice in the example above, there is also a button to “Email Gary”. Although you can hyperlink text on your website (or in emails), we recommend that important links are also made into buttons.
Why? They are easier to click, especially for mobile users.
Buttons also draw more attention to the action you wish for the user to take, therefore, increasing overall engagement on your website. More engagement = more RSVPs, volunteers, or donations.
Spend some time looking over your website and implementing these strategies so you can be sure you make a great first impression no matter which device visitors use to find your organization!
And if you need help redesigning your site on a responsive platform, reach out to the Evoke team.