Websites typically have a 5-6 year lifespan depending on several factors which include, but are not limited by, industry, design trends, technology trends, and product changes. There are many reasons a business or organization may need to update their website and/or web presence strategy and a few of the above could cause that lifespan to be shorter or longer.
As weird as 2020 has been, technology and design continued to move forward. Websites still needed to be created and updated, and businesses, in many industries, needed to continue to improve their online presence.
For this post, the One Eighty team discussed and chose the best church websites in the North Florida area with regard to branding, design, user experience, and scrollability (how easily the design of the site brings the eye down the page to encourage scrolling to the end). We hope you enjoy our analysis of good design and execution!
Some of our favorite church websites in the greater North Florida area had great branding. Great branding to us means the logo is memorable, the site design and theming lends itself well to the logo and theme colors, and there is consistency throughout the website. Branding helps individual organizations stand out, so we really enjoyed sites that had memorable features, consistent theming, and logos that are outside the box or stood out to us.
Here are a few great themed and branded websites:
- Awaken City Church — Perhaps one of the team’s favorite sites is the Awaken City Church. This website offers a vibrant central orange color along with the complimentary black, gray, and white used. The orange in particular is well placed throughout. The site includes a memorable logo, the logo and theming compliments well with the textures used throughout the webpages. The design elements are not overwhelming and they also strategically use transitions to draw the eye down the page. As well, the call-to-action buttons are well-placed and stand out. A well-done execution.
- First United Methodist Church of Stark — The First United Methodist Church of Stark website has a wonderful use of vibrant colors (purples, blues, greens, and some contrasting warmer colors too). The video and app-like blocks offer scrollability as well. Overall, the theming felt consistent, and stood out with a youthful vibe with the vibrant colors and nice use of space.
- Awaken Church (Jax) — The Awaken Church Jacksonville site, not to be confused with the Awaken City Church above, uses its logo well. The logo itself is memorable with the unique cross into a loop. Furthermore, the website brands itself well with the logo and color theming used throughout the website. The theme being consistent with the logo, makes the whole site pleasing to the eye and keeps it on brand.
- Trinity Baptist Church — is another example of good branding throughout a website. The theme colors compliment each other and are used strategically to highlight where the creator wanted the users eyes to go. The video header does a great job of giving an overview of the church experience for a visitor. All of these things combine to create a great overall site experience.
- Fruit Cove Baptist Church —We are going to have to toot our own horn a little. The Fruit Cove Baptist Church is a One Eighty project, but we loved the final product so much we couldn’t leave it out just because we created it. This website has a strong color palette, a fun logo, and complimentary theming. This all works together to create an engaging site. The use of small amounts of color to accentuate the most important areas and pulls the eye down the page to learn more about the church. The video header displays a great preview clip that gives visitors a feel for the church before visiting. We enjoyed making and sharing this site with the world and it exceeded even our own expectations. We hope you agree.
Design and User Experience (UX)
Another element of a great site is a clean design that creates a great user experience (UX). Clean design and UX go hand in hand in the modern world of websites. Users want to be able to quickly find what they’re looking for and scannability is high on the list of user demands. As we talked about in a previous post, you have but milli-seconds to catch a visitors’ eye, and most visitors don’t have much patience to read a whole. There is a delicate balance between showing the right information, design,and scannability. In this section, we highlight some very nicely done, yet simpler designs that we are sure will be replicated in the next year as design aims to be less cluttered and more easy to scan.
Here are some simplistically wonderful sites we found:
- Anastasia Church — The Anastasia Church website does a wonderful job of getting to the point quickly by putting the most up-to-date info immediately at the top, users will find this site easy to navigate and eye-catching. This site also mirrors the above sentiments on design and UX but adds extra fun elements that give the site depth, such as the video in the headers and separators as you scroll. Additionally, the church campus locations in the circular image buttons really stood out to us.
- Destiny Church — The Jacksonville Destiny Church website has a popular church design with a large master header, the menu is noticeable but does not overtake the header, and several blocks of images and text are split up by scrolling images. The average site visitor doesn’t want to have to scroll for more than a couple of seconds, long-form sites aren’t doing mobile site visitors any favors. This site really hits that home without losing necessary content.
- The Emmanuel Baptist Church — This church website offers a more traditional layout and it is both simplistic and informative. A nice balance between traditionally adding balancing text and imagery and the simplicity of keeping the scroll length short. We think the images and blocks help create a pleasing design that tells their story well.
2020 also brought in a wave of more “app-like” sites and we think will be an important design trend going forward, so we wanted to highlight them here specifically.
- The Springs Church — This church website is a great example of this app-like concept on a web browser site. It’s got easy-to-scan sections, the clickability and number of pages people are going to are likely to be higher than average. This website is a very nice strategic example of capturing attention and leading the audience to the information they want as quickly and pleasantly as possible. The visual depth of the sections is a nice bonus too, very pleasing to the eye.
- Calvary Assembly of God — This website is another example of a simplistic layout but even further down the idea of a mobile/web app style website with the two-column layout for social, messages, and updates. It’s a nice visual website.
- Orange Park Christian Church — This website is a nice example of both color, branding, and scrollability wrapped up in a simple design. There is a fun logo, consistent theming, and it’s easy to find what you need at a glance. It has the potential of a great site.
The last category we looked at was scrollability. There are more technical definitions for this word but we’re going to use it to describe how well the website entices you to keep scrolling to the end. We mentioned it above with First United Methodist Church of Stark, and Orange Park Christian Church but we had a few more sites we thought did a good job of specifically drawing the user’s eyes down the page. The point is for visitors to explore the entire site and we think these websites accomplished that task well.
Scrollability and Fun, Eye-catching Elements:
- Access Church — This church website really could go under several of the categories and might be a top contender for one of our favorites of the year. The use of the brand colors with contrasting accent colors compliments the site. By strategically placing the vibrant colors behind the most important elements, that site highlights the most important information first, we think this is great. Furthermore, the black and white photo-content section is particularly nice and helps to balance the entire site and pops out in an eye-catching way. We are noticing some orange trends, have you noticed? We like how fun church sites are getting with their color theming!
- First Baptist Church Jax Beach — Up front on this one too, it’s us again, this is another One Eighty website. We loved working on this project and this site has some fun animation. The scrollability meter goes up on this one with the movement you continue to see as you scroll down, whether it’s the scrolling images or the animated image elements or roll-over images, there’s plenty of time to immediately catch and keep the user’s attention. And image usage is nice to tell a compelling story quickly! We also liked the messaging and the fun “Jesus” call to action, nice touch, if we do say so.
- ExchangeChurch.net — This site has a great use of movement. The movement is eye-catching and keeps the eyes scrolling down. Between the video initially moving downward in the master header and the scrolling image section backgrounds, overall it’s very engaging. This site is also one of ours designs.
Other Elements to Note
As you can start to see, there are a lot of elements that go into creating a great website. Branding, Design, UX, Scrollability, Animation, Color Palette Theming, Logos, and more. But there are some other elements like video, white space, fonts, and messaging that we haven’t touched on, so we thought we’d save some honorable mentions.
Honorable mentions include:
- Best video—https://jaxchurch.com/ The story-telling of the main header video is excellent and noteworthy for sure. The execution is so good that one would hardly notice the the short scroll to the end of the site. Very nicely done.
- Use of whitespace—https://www.ssbc.org/ This site gives off a clean look with the expert use of whitespace. The image elements not being standard blocks adds to the great use of whitespace as well as the depth of the content blocks with the shading.
- New-age and Fun—http://theville.church/home With bright colors, and a trendy black background, and spray paint graffiti font elements, the message is clear, this site is signaling youth.
- Nice use of fonts—https://www.njbc.org/ Typically too many differing fonts is a bad idea in copy but this site shows character and emphasis with the different font style, all are interesting and visually appealing.
- Messaging—https://www.providencebible.church/ The messaging in the header is really a nice touch, feels sincere the way it’s worded and is becoming more popular. Very nice eye-catching header video as well.
Our Favorite in 2020
Did we have a favorite? Yes and no! We really did enjoy visiting all the websites, but we did end up going back to one for many of the categories of what makes a good site. This Church’s web really stood out in all the categories and we started to mention it above too. Our favorite was Access Church, their site checked off a lot of boxes. If we HAVE to pick a favorite it would have to be Access Church!
We enjoyed looking at all the great websites in the North Florida area. We’re sorry if we didn’t add a site you love to the list, but feel free to let us know and if it hits one of our favorite points we may just amend the list to add it. Please note, this is not an all encompassing list as we only scoured the internet for a few hundred sites, so if we missed one, it may need our SEO help! If that’s you, let us know, maybe we can help you rank higher (we’ve recently helped a client jump 16 spaces with organic search)! We’re always happy to chat.
If you have questions about your church’s website, SEO, or social media, reach out to us and schedule a free 20 minute consultation. We’re happy to give free advice and help where we can.