Want a better website and don’t know where to start? All too often, people assume that a better website means a complete overhaul or the need to spend thousands of dollars on a brand new website. In some cases that may be true, but a couple tweaks can make the difference between bland and beautiful. After all, a great website does many things well, but the most important thing it does is easily communicate information.
In the case of a website for a shul or school, you want to clearly provide information to students, congregants, potential members, and other people looking at it. There are hundreds of things you could be doing.
But, we want to take you beyond just spell-checking your site for errors. With that in mind, here is a checklist of eight important elements that your website can put into action right now:
1) Address, Phone, and Email: These elements should be displayed in both the header and footer, as both are obvious locations where your congregants will look for this information. If for some reason you don’t want to follow the above, we suggest that you put your phone number on your homepage. Seems obvious, right? But, many don’t. It’s often buried on a contact page or not on the site at all. Visitors may head to your website just to find your phone number, so make it prominent on your homepage.
2) Staff directory: A full list of your staff and their contact information (phone extensions and email addresses).
3) Condense your menu: Do you have twelve items under one heading on your navigation bar? If so, you might want to look at tidying up. A cleaner navigation makes things easier to find. When things are easier to find, it creates a better experience for your site’s visitors so that they can find what they are looking for in the first place.
4) Google maps: It’s easy to embed a Google map on your website. Google has a free map widget you can add to your site. It shows prospective visitors that you are warm and welcoming and that you care about the whole experience. Click here to add this feature to your site in under sixty seconds!
5) Match the website to the branding of your organization: Did you update your logo or change your colors? Make sure that your physical experience matches your online experience.
6) Do you have distracting music? Remove it. Why? Visitors don’t see it as cute. It is annoying and distracting for many visitors.
7) Community Resources: Want to establish yourself as a community that people can move to and raise their family? Add and highlight any and all resources that your community offers such a a mikva, kosher pizza shop and more!
8) Testimonials: Put your students and congregants to work! These people are a huge asset to you because they can provide real testimonials – as to how great your rabbi is, or how inspiring it feels to daven in your shul! Reach out to those that are loyal to your cause and ask for a testimonial.