De-mystifying website design - Part 3: adding whistles and bells

De-mystifying website design - Part 3: adding whistles and bells

So by now you have developed your new church website which has all the information that your visitors and members need. Great! Job done! Except that it won’t be long before someone will ask you to improve it further – perhaps by adding recent sermons or some photos. In this final article in the series we will show you how. If you are reading this article before building your website then what follows may seem too advanced but once you have worked on your site for a while all this will be easy.

Many of the template website companies limit what you can do on their free packages – typically not allowing you to load audio recordings, videos and picture galleries so what do you do if you want to include these but don’t want to upgrade?

The easiest and cheapest option is to use one of the many different websites for sharing images, audio or video and then link these to your site.

Photos: If you have a good selection of photos that show off the church then you can put these on your site as a series of photos on a page but you will soon fill up several pages and the images will probably be quite small. It is better to use a photo sharing site such as Flickr. This is a separate website where you create an account for the church and then lots of photos can be loaded up and arranged into albums for different church events.
Then simply add a single image that typifies a particular event onto your church website and link it to that Flickr album. Repeat for other events and albums.

Audio: If you have a church PA system for the preacher it should be easy enough to record the sermon using a ‘dictaphone’ or voice recorder – choose one that saves the files in MP3 format for greatest compatibility. Then use one of the audio sharing sites such as SoundCloud which are popular with musicians which has a free option that allows up to three hour of recordings – plenty for the most recent few sermons (depending on how long your pastor preaches for!). Once the file is uploaded to SoundCloud create a link from your site direct to that sermon.

Video: Eventually you may wish to have a video introduction to your church and this can be included in your website using YouTube or Vimeo in a similar way to audio files. To make this look good you can include a screen shot from the video as a picture on your site which will then link to your video.

Go pro! : In all these case clicking on the link on your site will take the visitor to Flickr, SoundCloud etc However it is possible to ‘embed’ these so all the files run on your site. When building the your site one of the options is to insert an ‘Embed’ block. Once inserted on your site go to Flickr/SoundCloud/Vimeo etc and select ‘share’ for the file you want and then ‘Get Embed code’. This is then simply copied and pasted into the embed box you have just created on your website. You will need to play around with the sizing but then there it is – all need with a website looking like it was built by a pro!

This series of three articles have followed my own experiences of building my own church’s website over the past eighteen months and also managing Rural Ministries’ own site – all with no previous experience. If I can do it….

Nick Jones