Since the day eCatholic was born, three basic principles have guided all our decisions.

We’ve been blessed to provide more and more beautiful websites for the Church each year. This has nudged us toward a state of constant growth and continuous development.

eCatholic has evolved, but these three principles have not wavered. Make sure your site embraces these three “must-haves” for church websites.

Principle #1: Design – Focus on beauty

Our friend, Bishop Robert Barron from Word on Fire, gives a popular presentation: Ideas on how to effectively engage others in the New Evangelization.

He urges us to first “lead with the beautiful.” Bishop Barron argues that if we first show the beauty of our faith, we can captivate hearts. This is exactly why it’s crucial to have a beautiful website design.

church websites lead with beauty

Grade the design of your website with these questions:

  • What is a visitor’s first impression after landing on your homepage? Is your homepage design organized and professional? Overwhelming?
  • Is your design clean and simple? Do you have a good balance of text and images?
  • Does your design reflect the beauty, mission, and vibrancy of your parish, school or organization?

Principle #2: Usability – Create a seamless user experience

church websites usability

Sure, your website design looks great. But design is just one leg of the stool.

Imagine you’re shopping for a new car. You’re strolling through the dealership lot and come to a halt. There it is: a silver Porsche. It’s flawless. You take a step closer. The details are stunning. At last, you hop in. Turn the key…

Nothing. Dead.

It’s useless. And so is your website if it leads to a frustrating experience for your visitors. When it comes to usability, make sure your website:

  • Has simple and consistent navigation. (Build a sitemap that is clean and intuitive.)
  • Is compatible on multiple browsers and platforms. (Your website needs to work for everyone everywhere: Chrome, Safari, or Firefox…Mac, PC, or tablet.)
  • Uses a responsive design. (Mobile friendly = user friendly.)

In addition to the experience your visitors are having, don’t forget about yourself (the website administrator). Usability also relates to the quality of your interaction with the site.

If your website isn’t easy to update, it won’t get updated (see principle #3).

Principle #3: Content – Invest in great content

church websites content

Once you’ve got a beautiful Catholic website design that provides a smooth user experience, the final step is to add engaging content to your website.

Letting your website collect dust (by not adding relevant and meaningful content on a regular basis) reflects poorly on your organization.

In order to have great content, you need to have:

  1. A website that can be updated regularly, quickly, and easily.
  2. Individuals who understand what high quality, relevant, and meaningful content looks like (and who have the ability to produce unique content for you). This includes text and photos!
  3. External resources you can tap into to make your content more dynamic and current (e.g., RSS feeds from trusted news sources and integration with your social media accounts).
Design. Usability. Content.

These three principles are why our mission is to create beautiful websites that are easy to update. They’re must-haves.

As we evolve as a company, you can trust that these principles will continue to direct how eCatholic serves the Church.

Is your website struggling with any of the three principles? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

This post was originally published in 2011. We’ve updated the original version for timeliness and clarity.