River Pointe Church
Today I review a church Web Site, River Pointe Church in Richmond, TX. This one is better than most. To generalize, most church web sites are very, very bad. Today’s church grossly undervalues, under-optimizes, and under-leverages the Web's capability to serve visitors and members.
I’m motivated to improve Church and non-profit web sites that do good in the world. So, to make this review special, I’ve invited a fresh perspective from fellow blogger Terry Storch, Chief Operations & Technology pastor at Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX, one of the largest churches in America.
- Primary purpose of the site should be to invite prospective members to visiting the church, see what it’s all about, to imagine themselves there. I’m guessing primary users are women looking to learn more about the pastor, children ministry, programs and events. They want to see the relationships that can be built. The Chirstmas Tea (bad image) and Meet and Greet are good…but you can do more. The man/husband is interested in location, hours, programs, topics, and children’s ministry…and wants to picture himself there. The Dikembe topic is good, but you can make it easier to find the things he's looking for and feel what it’s like to be at this church.
- The primary image on the next Sunday sermon is great. Good page designs have one prominent design element (in this case, the Dikembe Mutombo image), and a purpose to every page. However, this primary image has no link and no call to action. If I want to come “This Sunday” there should be a link to time and map, or maybe one link to a page that introduces the topic and the church to newcomers, with map and times. I could print this out and show it to my spouse, use it for directions in the car, etc. That should be the primary purpose of this page…to get people to the next Sunday service.
- The categories on the bottom are random (Christmas Tea, newsletter, giving, and meet and greet). Suggest you use the bottom area for events and programs that serve both visitors and members. Include images. Add more prominence to show events, people and programs. Show the children’s ministry, support groups, and highlight events coming up.
- Make the enewsletter a simple signup form on the home page.
- The placement of the quick links to service times and location are not visible, yet very important. Put them at the top or as a major element at the bottom.
- Make online giving a link on every page (maybe with Map, Times, and Events).
- Good job on clear and visible primary navigation at top left. While you have rollover sub-navigation, the user should be able to click on any of those navigation words and get to a page. Minor usability glitch.
- Too many different font styles.
1) Need more life, or people. -> I think it is important to have images and pictures for people to connect with the church. It does not need to be over done, but let me see what the people look like at this church. Am I going to fit in?
Example: www.gccwired.com, www.lakewood.cc