Website design: it’s not about you, it’s about your audience

By Rev. Marty Levesque

When designing a web page, or curating content on your social media platforms there is one important rule to remember: it is not about you.

That may seem counter-intuitive since it is the story of your community that you are telling the world. Yet far too often we allow our preferences for design and content to influence our choices.

Here are four tips to help as you prepare to update or launch a new website for your church or to improve your social experience.

1) Remember to make your site mobile friendly. Mobile devices traffic overtook desktop device traffic in 2014. According to a study by, 80 percent of millennials own a smartphone compared to just 40 percent of people 55 and up. Chances are if you are going to reach the next generation, it will be on a handheld device.

It is best to design your site to optimize for the mobile experience over the desktop experience. Swipe or tap friendly navigation will go a long way in creating a good user experience.

2) As you design your site, think about your target audience and what they would want to know about your church and its ministries.

The impulse is to share the things we want to highlight that we enjoy the most. That would be an effective strategy if you were marketing to yourself and your demographic. If you are targeting millennials, then you need to highlight the ministries in your church that are of interest to millennials.

Spend some time online researching areas of interest to millennials, take a few surveys and don’t be afraid to ask for input.

3) Promote Sharing. Events pages are a great way to promote sharing across social media channels. Keep each event separate, clean, efficient and easy to get the relevant details. Every share across social boosts the chances of people finding their way back to your site, and then your front door.

4) Lastly, when writing for the web, whether social or your website, less is more. Edit 50% of the words from any post or page. Users tend to scan and not read. The last thing you want is someone bouncing off your site or leaving a TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) comment on your social media channels.

While many see millennials as fickle, they are no more fickle than any generation. We just need to learn to present ourselves in a manner that resonates. This is, after all, what Paul meant when he said:

“For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews, I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law, I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law, I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak, I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that I might by any means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9: 19-23).

Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo.
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