One thing is for sure: they’re not looking in the Yellow Pages anymore. These days, if your community doesn’t have a well-designed website, almost no one outside of your circle will know you exist.
When people are looking for a church to attend on a quiet Sunday morning, fully 80% of them look at the church’s website first before deciding to go. 80%! And that’s for Christian gatherings. Remember, the Faith is young and still seems pretty exotic to most people, so I’m positive the percentage is even higher for us. For example, literally every seeker that visited my local Baha’i community in the last year looked at our website first before coming to a meeting or contacting us.
When people first visit any website, the first thing they notice is its appearance. For good or bad, visual impressions significantly impact people’s judgment before they even look at the content.
So what does a good local website for your community look like? Well, it has tons of pictures of smiling community members doing fun and meaningful things. What it doesn’t have are photos of Baha’i holy places (unless it’s the webpage for Wilmette’s local community), because those are not relevant to your audience. Don’t believe me? Have you seen a picture of Jerusalem or Rome on the local Baptist church website? Not likely.
Your website needs to reflect your community. Put another way, anyone in your local area who comes across your website needs to be able to see themselves in your community. It shouldn’t look foreign and weird — it should look inviting and relevant to their lives.
Obviously, there are universal Baha’i themes which run throughout any website we create and there are things that are unique to your community. We will work with you in crafting text, visual, and video content that is uplifting, inspirational, and consistent with your community.
Now that your webpage is clean and attractive, is it easy to navigate, understand, and access?
There have been a few different trends in coding through the years; some have not worn the passage of time very well. What your local Baha’i community needs is a site that’s coded with solid HTML and CSS, and once built, can be easily updated and managed by someone who doesn’t need a lot of technical skill. The website should also be responsive, which means that it changes sizes (or layout) to give users a similar experience whether they’re viewing it from their computer, phone, or tablet.
To accomplish all of these requirements, we customize the WordPress templates that best reflect your community.
Now your website is pretty, functional, and relevant to your wider community. But can people find it on Google (or Bing)? Yes. We will make sure that your site is easy to find on the major search engines, and we will also ask that it be included in your National Spiritual Assembly’s online directory (if they have one).
Every community is different, so we need to know a lot about you and the context of your city so that we can tell your story properly. For each project, we require a consultation either in person or via Skype before we begin.
Your local Baha’i community deserves the very best and together we can really do something special. Call or message me today and we can set up a meeting with your Assembly.
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