Is This Site Worth It?

39 replies
I have a huge vision for an online ministry. There is a lot I want to do with my website but right now I need honest feedback. Is my site worth people spending their time on? I know the information is worth it...I just don't know if the site is pleasing enough for people to stay long enough and take it all in.

So I would like to ask if you have any thoughts on what is good or bad about my site and what would hold your attention on it if it doesn't already?

Here is the site: An Online Church Ministry - Growing Christians - Reaching The Lost
#site #worth
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    I'm not really in your target audience, but if I were, it would unquestionably hold my attention and I'd be enthusiastic about it. Nothing flashy or off-putting at all.

    I think it's really srikingly well-designed and presented, and you've done a great job with that.
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  • Profile picture of the author youvana
    I would say bring your website into the 21st century, the design is very dated I feel like I've been whooshed back to 1995...give it some html5 and css3 coolness. and maybe try using Wordpress rather than a free html editor.
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    • Profile picture of the author Luke Dennison
      Originally Posted by youvana View Post

      I would say bring your website into the 21st century, the design is very dated I feel like I've been whooshed back to 1995...give it some html5 and css3 coolness. and maybe try using Wordpress rather than a free html editor.
      I think the design is perfect for religious websites. Think about target audience guys. Probaby older people, who dont care for bells and whistles.
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      • Profile picture of the author aunttee
        Originally Posted by Luke Dennison View Post

        I think the design is perfect for religious websites. Think about target audience guys. Probaby older people, who dont care for bells and whistles.
        Beg pardon. Religious people can be every age, the question is which age group is your target audience?
        To the OP: I am in your target audience. I also have 3 websites dedicated to Christianity, and I have authored, ghost authored, and co-authored Christian devotionals, articles, classes, and books. And I'm a Christian speaker.
        I do not believe you'll find the answers to your questions here. Instead, go look at some of the sites you really like, the ones you return to and ask yourself what they have - design wise I mean. Take notes on the top 10.
        Personally I have gone to clean Wordpress design with no bells and whistles and no ads. Feel free to pm me, I have a heart for ministry too and would love to help you succeed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    The design has some problems. It does look dated...

    1) The purple gradient background clashes with the blue color of the buttons (and the "gift" image).

    2) The text column margins are much too narrow.

    A quick fix, to solve BOTH 1 & 2 above, might be to simply make the background solid WHITE. (Change the footer background to solid white, too.)

    3) The body font is far too small. It's VERY hard to read on my 15" notebook.

    4) The "vision" statement, in the upper right, looks dull. I think you need a nicer font (perhaps a script font).

    5) Remove the vertical rule. It looks dated.

    If you fix those simple things, I think it will instantly look better (not great, but definitely better).

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author TheresaS
      Hello,
      I checked it out. Same feedback - I would do Wordpress as well, look for their free themes and just fill in your information - you might even be able to find a free church website in the free themes.Look all over the web for one you like then go on Fiverr and see if someone can do it for you for five bucks.

      As far as your topic - there are lots of websites out there doing really well on these topics - your main focus after getting a pretty good looking site is to get people to come to it.
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    • Profile picture of the author youvana
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      The design has some problems. It does look dated...

      1) The purple gradient background clashes with the blue color of the buttons (and the "gift" image).

      2) The text column margins are much too narrow.

      A quick fix, to solve BOTH 1 & 2 above, might be to simply make the background solid WHITE. (Change the footer background to solid white, too.)

      3) The body font is far too small. It's VERY hard to read on my 15" notebook.

      4) The "vision" statement, in the upper right, looks dull. I think you need a nicer font (perhaps a script font).

      5) Remove the vertical rule. It looks dated.

      If you fix those simple things, I think it will instantly look better (not great, but definitely better).

      John
      I think a few people here gave you some good points, especially John above. It doesn't look like you took much on board though, just decided to do your own thing anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    I'm sure the information on the site is well worth it for your target audience, but i do feel the site needs some redesign work.

    It kinda reminds me of the Plr templates that have been circulating the community a couple of years ago. So a modern redesign is what i would suggest.
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  • Profile picture of the author drewfioravanti
    While I agree the site's appearance is dated, appearance is secondary to content. If you have content that people want to read, it doesn't matter what the appearance is. Look at Craigslist. That website sucks. But they have content that people want.
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  • Profile picture of the author cyberzolo
    Definitley a very dated website. But other than that nothing would turn me off when visiting this website.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Ah, yes ... everyone thinks it's "dated". I knew I liked something about it. I'm instinctively biased: it looks a little like some of my niche sites, which I've made that way deliberately. Customers love the look, the clarity, the lack of gimmicks; marketers - usually not so much.
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      • Profile picture of the author jbearnolimits
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Ah, yes ... everyone thinks it's "dated". I knew I liked something about it. I'm instinctively biased: it looks a little like some of my niche sites, which I've made that way deliberately. Customers love the look, the clarity, the lack of gimmicks; marketers - usually not so much.
        I personally thought it could use some sprucing up myself. I haven't really kept up with the times myself though. I remember learning about how to make an effective website and advertisement years ago. I was taught that if you have great content that catches someone's attention and it is properly formatted then you could do without the fancy bells and whistles and still be fine.

        Of course that was years ago. I noticed Johnny12345 said the background color should be changed and the margins need to be adjusted. I think he may be right...I also agree on the size of the font.

        I am not sure about using a white background though. I can adjust the margin and font easy enough...but I have never been good with color. If anyone can give me an idea of type of color or background to use I would be thankful.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post

          I personally thought it could use some sprucing up myself. I haven't really kept up with the times myself though. I remember learning about how to make an effective website and advertisement years ago.
          Call me a skepchick, but I think the people who "determine" what's "effective" aren't people who've done any testing. They're people selling bells and whistles and gadgets and gizmos and nonsense. They just "announce" it. And everyone believes them, though a lot of it's completely untrue.

          People see Frank Kern using a squeeze page with a highly colored, pictorial background and they all think "That must work well because Frank Kern and other gurus are all using it and they must test everything, so I'll use it". In fact, every single person I know who has split-tested one of those against the same page with a plain white background has found that the plain white one converts significantly better. And there are several threads here in which people say they've done and found the same. But still, the "established wisdom" is that the colorful, gimmicky one "must be best" because "it's what all the gurus use". You copy "what the gurus do" at your own peril. I think old-fashioned, and plain and simple are very good news. For marketing and for your website, too.

          Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post

          I was taught that if you have great content that catches someone's attention and it is properly formatted then you could do without the fancy bells and whistles and still be fine.
          I think this is, if anything, an understatement: I think it's a mistake to use most of the bells and whistles. And I think split-testing, for the tiny minority of people who actually do it, actually tends to show that, too.

          Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post

          I noticed Johnny12345 said the background color should be changed and the margins need to be adjusted.
          I did wonder about the margins next to the print being too small, yes. It's a tiny point, and I don't think it will affect anyone's willingness to stay on the site, or interact with it, but it wouldn't hurt to widen the margins a little.

          I didn't think about the font-size. In these days of people using ever smaller devices, that may be a very good and valid point.

          This is a very useful site for checking how your pages appear in various different types of browsers: http://browsershots.org

          Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post

          If anyone can give me an idea of type of color or background to use I would be thankful.
          I think you've done just fine, with that.
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      • Profile picture of the author Taniwha
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Ah, yes ... everyone thinks it's "dated". I knew I liked something about it. I'm instinctively biased: it looks a little like some of my niche sites, which I've made that way deliberately. Customers love the look, the clarity, the lack of gimmicks; marketers - usually not so much.
        I actually tend to agree with this.

        My conversions shot through the roof when I opted for minimalist designs for my range of sites. Yes, modern sites with all the unneeded functionality may look nice, but you have to ask yourself: is it doing the intended job? am I getting opt-ins from a targeted audience? and most importantly, are the subscribers/readers converting into sales?

        Additional feedback to the OP? Well, I'm definitely not your target market, so I'll leave it at that.
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Ah, yes ... everyone thinks it's "dated". I knew I liked something about it. I'm instinctively biased: it looks a little like some of my niche sites, which I've made that way deliberately. Customers love the look, the clarity, the lack of gimmicks; marketers - usually not so much.

        In other words, because your poor tech and design skills limit you to building sites that are amateurish, you suggest that others build amateurish sites, too?

        I'm all for clean, simple design; I don't tend to like sites that are overly fancy or cluttered. But amateurish design and poor presentation affect the perceived value of whatever is being offered.

        (Looks count. That's why they tell people to dress nice for a job interview. A suit and tie makes for a more professional impression than cut-offs and flip-flops.)

        John
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

          In other words, because your poor tech and design skills limit you to building sites that are amateurish, you suggest that others build amateurish sites, too?
          No. Not in other words, and not in those words either, John.

          I didn't say that. Nor did I say anything like that.

          (For the record, I employ three full-time VA's one of whom previously worked as a professional website designer. I have almost unlimited website design skills at my business's disposal. Which is why I certainly wouldn't have said anything like that at all! )

          .
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  • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
    jbearnolimits,

    Based on your target audience....

    I would buy Steve Krug's book.....

    Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense...Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense...

    Go through the book and see if you can make improvements.....

    Then, work on your content......

    Last, look at making it "modern" looking.

    All The Best,

    Rich Beck BCIP, MCSD, MCIS

    "For nothing is impossible with God." - Luke 1:37
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  • Profile picture of the author D3t0x
    I agree with all their comments above, it looks dated. I recommend you switch to WordPress. Spruce up the design with a theme that fits both young and old (well, if that's your audience). Another thing... maybe you could narrow down your niche further. It's too general, or maybe you should add your mission and vision so even if it's general the mission-vision can help you and the audience focus. Have you tried visiting websites of other Christian churches? I suggest you look at Willow Creek Church and In Touch Ministries. Those are general Christian church or ministry websites too.

    One more thing... about your social sharing buttons. I think you should have that on the individual articles and sermons so anyone who visits and likes any of those can share what they like about it. Again, that could be solved with a WordPress plugin.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gengis
    The site looks dull and dated.. Go to some of the leaders in your niche's websites and see what they're doing and model them.. That's what works.
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  • Profile picture of the author oceanblue81
    I appreciate the simplicity of your website. Good job.
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Otstott
    As many others mentioned, your design is very outdated. You can create a website that's both simplistic and modern.
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  • Profile picture of the author youvana
    It's not all about the content, (although obviously that needs to be good) today we need to consider sites that dynamically re-size for tablets and mobile phones and if we neglect this growing market then we are being foolish. The site designs of yesteryear will not do you any favors and people really do need to move with the times. I'm all for minimalism but that can be easily achieved with html5 and CSS3 and in my opinion Wordpress is a prerequisite.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

    I didn't say that. Nor did I say anything like that.

    Yes, you sort of did.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Kareem Davids
      It sure looks kind of dated.

      But what I like about it, is that it fits your religious niche and I don't necessarily think that people interested in this are really expecting some fancy kind of site. It's all about great content.

      There's also no danger of information overload.

      Just my two cents..
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  • Profile picture of the author drewfioravanti
    There's a big difference between "fancy with bells and whisltes" and a nicely designed site that doesn't look dated.

    And, a well designed minimalist site, is very different than what we have here.

    The design elements are dated. 10 years or so.

    Does this mean anything in terms of revenue for this particular web property? Maybe, maybe not.

    But, the fact remains that it uses dated design elements. That cannot even be argued. The effectiveness, well...
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  • Profile picture of the author jbearnolimits
    Ok, I made some changes to my site and want your thoughts on it now. here is the link again. An Online Church Ministry - Growing Christians - Reaching The Lost
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  • Profile picture of the author drewfioravanti
    Now it's worse. You should never have changed it. You're obviously not a designer. Nor a programmer, from the looks of it.

    And here's a tip: Let your customers dictate what you do, not a bunch of people spewing rehashed crap on a forum. They're not your market. And, therefore, don't matter. Especially their opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by drewfioravanti View Post

      Now it's worse. You should never have changed it.
      I have to say that I agree with this.

      I liked it a lot, before, and thought it was very suitable for its purpose, and probably without putting people off. Now, when I look at it, I immediately see several things that I instinctively dislike: the black background; the flashy "autochange pictures" in the header; the slow loading-time; and so on. Sorry.
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  • Profile picture of the author EPoltrack77
    Make little changes yourself and see. Optimize it! Only you can really make the decision on what needs to be done based on you viewing your tracking and analytics. We can give you recommendations. Remember the phrase "build it and they will come" does not exist with online marketing. Your going to have to come up with a marketing strategy which will be one of the most important parts you can invest in both yourself and your business.


    You'll do it!

    Your site looks very warm and welcoming to me!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post

    I have a huge vision for an online ministry. There is a lot I want to do with my website but right now I need honest feedback. Is my site worth people spending their time on? I know the information is worth it...I just don't know if the site is pleasing enough for people to stay long enough and take it all in.

    So I would like to ask if you have any thoughts on what is good or bad about my site and what would hold your attention on it if it doesn't already?

    Here is the site: An Online Church Ministry - Growing Christians - Reaching The Lost

    You should never have changed your site. It looked far better, actually 100 times better the way you had it before.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by jbearnolimits View Post

    I need honest feedback.

    Jbearnolimits,

    This is not a criticism of your site . . . it's a personal observation that I'm making reflecting my own bias . . . in hopes that maybe you would consider a different point of view.

    Your site is dark. The background is dark. Your header is dark (stormy). Your first two slider images are dark and the third one of the bible is mostly black. Your forum is very dark.

    People who are coming to religion and the ministry for answers are looking for "light."

    God is light. Truth is light. People are seeking light and a change from their dark lives and problems.

    Dark is depressing. Your message is about finding the light.

    If it were my site, I would make it light, inviting, sunny, happy, hopeful, positive, cheery.

    Do you get what I'm saying? Again, just my opinion . . .

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Jbearnolimits,

      This is not a criticism of your site . . . it's a personal observation that I'm making reflecting my own bias . . . in hopes that maybe you would consider a different point of view.

      Your site is dark. The background is dark. Your header is dark (stormy). Your first two slider images are dark and the third one of the bible is mostly black. Your forum is very dark.

      People who are coming to religion and the ministry for answers are looking for "light."

      God is light. Truth is light. People are seeking light and a change from their dark lives and problems.

      Dark is depressing. Your message is about finding the light.

      If it were my site, I would make it light, inviting, sunny, happy, hopeful, positive, cheery.

      Do you get what I'm saying? Again, just my opinion . . .

      Steve
      I have to agree with this. Plus the huge header is slowing it down. Fix those two things and I think it is good to go. Simple is fine for a site of this type.
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    • Profile picture of the author jbearnolimits
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Jbearnolimits,

      This is not a criticism of your site . . . it's a personal observation that I'm making reflecting my own bias . . . in hopes that maybe you would consider a different point of view.

      Your site is dark. The background is dark. Your header is dark (stormy). Your first two slider images are dark and the third one of the bible is mostly black. Your forum is very dark.

      People who are coming to religion and the ministry for answers are looking for "light."

      God is light. Truth is light. People are seeking light and a change from their dark lives and problems.

      Dark is depressing. Your message is about finding the light.

      If it were my site, I would make it light, inviting, sunny, happy, hopeful, positive, cheery.

      Do you get what I'm saying? Again, just my opinion . . .

      Steve
      Thank you very much! I must agree with others here that I am not the best (by a long shot) at design. This is very helpful though. I think I will try to look at it like this and see what I can come up with.
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  • Profile picture of the author BizQ
    The design will work well for your target audience. It doesn't need to be slick and fancy. It needs to be simple and "trustworthy". If this was a tee shirt shop or something then my answer might be different. But the design will work well.

    As for some other aspects of your site, I will keep those comments to myself but you did lose that trustworthy factor on one of your pages. I am in your target audience by the way.
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    • Profile picture of the author jbearnolimits
      Originally Posted by BizQ View Post

      The design will work well for your target audience. It doesn't need to be slick and fancy. It needs to be simple and "trustworthy". If this was a tee shirt shop or something then my answer might be different. But the design will work well.

      As for some other aspects of your site, I will keep those comments to myself but you did lose that trustworthy factor on one of your pages. I am in your target audience by the way.
      I am curious as to the loss of trust. I am about to send you a PM and would like to speak with you about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jordan Stark
    You need to make it mobile and yes, it is a bit dated if you are looking to attract any demographic other than the 50+ crowd. You also need to make it mobile compatible and responsive. I recommend using wordpress and improving your skills or paying someone that knows what they are doing. Good effort but you are going to have to do more than pray for a site like that to convert. I suggest seeking professional web designers and hiring a marketing team.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    The design is very dated, as others have noted.

    Your tagline, "Reaching the lost through teaching the saved how to be the church" is a bit awkward. Read it out loud.

    Also...honor god through giving (to your site)? Not sure that's what I would lead with.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidTile
    Still looking dated as of today. I'd also say that your color palette is too dark -- especially for a religious web site. Go for bright colors, sunshine, trees blooming flowers, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author youvana
    It's easy to make assumptions,just because someone is older does not mean that they know diddly squat, and I don't think that anyone here was recommending bells and whistles just a clean minimalist design. Those people who want to get left behind with poor outdated designs that do not cater for emerging mobile platforms, just go ahead. You remember what happened to the dinosaurs don't you?
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