I love working with churches. I love designing websites.
So working on a church website redesign is essentially my version of heaven (if heaven also includes a lot of hair standing on end and stress eating gummy bears during crunch time).
St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church in Cary, NC is basically my dream church. They have almost 5,000 registered families, 60+ ministries, and a super active congregation. I've had the pleasure of working with them on a number of projects over the past year+, but by far this website redesign has been my favorite.
This is a church doing some big things - it's their 25th anniversary at their current location, they're undergoing a number of renovation projects, amplifying their faith formation and evangelization outreach, and oh yeah, casually building an entire Habitat for Humanity home as a parish just because.
They have Google street view through their church campus because that's how huge it is, if that tells you anything.
The problem was, their current website just couldn't keep up with that level of activity. The system it was utilizing made making updates a pain, it was not media friendly, and didn't have the same impact that you'd get upon actually being there in person.
For the past several months, I've been working hard to create a site that not only functions well for parishioners but even more importantly orients community members and prospective parishioners about this incredible place.
Here's a few before shots:
And finally, after (you can view the site live at stmichaelcary.org)
Because I'm a nerd and these things give me joy, I want to share a few specific things we did to highlight important aspects of their church community:
Focusing on prospective parishioners:
The home page, I'm New, FAQs, and RCIA pages all really honed in on answering common questions from those who are not already members of the church. Prior to the switch, the website was being utilized as another communication channel to current parishioners - now it is a powerful tool used to convince those who are not already parishioners to learn more and hopefully visit. The language focuses on where someone might be in their journey and attempts showcase the parish in an inviting and welcoming way.
We didn't forget about current parishioners of course - the audience sections (I'm New and I'm a Parishioner) offer clear pathways for quick links as well as the "I Need To" section for easy to access, often utilize resources.
When it comes to something like baptisms and other sacraments, there's typically a LOT of information to communicate, which tends to take the form of one really long boring page. Something I love about this site is the integration of accordion and tabbed menus within pages. This allowed us to pack a lot of really important information in a small, visually pleasing space.
And of course, buttons changing colors, photos enlarging when you scroll by, and small elements like that are tiny details that pack a big punch in overall design.
Video/media on home page:
You can imagine my excitement when I found out the church had access to not one but two separate drone videos of their campus. I had to find a way to integrate that incredible media as well as other amazing video clips and stunning imagery they had on file. Since the church is right across the street from a busy park, the hope is that seeing what lies beyond the tress will invite community members to step on campus and see what they're all about.
This is quite possibly my favorite aspect of this entire site. If you go to stmichaelcary.org/ministries, you'll find the nerdy delight of my heart: a directory of ministries and groups that the parish offers with a separate search bar and filtering abilities for types of groups. I've been wanting to implement something like this on a site for a long time and finally found the perfect opportunity. A standard ministry list was not going to cut it for this church - check out all of those amazing groups! It's like an online ministry fair without all the awkward small talk.
I simply adored working on this site and truly poured my heart and soul into it. I pray that it brings new people to this amazing parish and most importantly closer to Christ.
Could your church's website use a refresh? I'm now booking website designs for the fall and winter. Let's talk!