This is week #2 of applying what we learned while building a better website to church websites. Last week, we established that a website tells a story. This week, we start looking at the elements of a good story and how they apply to a website. First, the hero.
Most movies start with a first scene that builds the character or back story of the hero. This is the person we are supposed to be interested in. We are entering their experience for the next hour or two. What happens in these first moments are vital. Are we going to be interested in this person? Do they relate to me somehow? Is this movie really worth the time I'm about to invest?
When we built our first websites, I was thinking that we needed to give people the information they needed or wanted about us. Stuff like:
- Here is what we do.
- Here are our features.
- Here are the benefits.
- Here are some screenshots.
- Here is the price.
- Here is who we are.
All of these are actually really important but they focus on us and implicitly make us the hero of the story of our website. We didn't even realize what we were doing. It was just what was natural. We were giving people what they wanted when they came to the website. Which is good and brought us a lot of customers. But our goal this time around was going from good to better.
We started our new website with a 4 hour strategy session with the Lure team. They helped us realize that the heroes or our website weren't suppose to be great software, humble co-founders (ha), or an incredible team. Our heroes are the executive pastors and administrators who build and maintain a church's ministry infrastructure. That's whom we needed to identify with.
We decided to feature on the main page a video interaction with our heroes. If you haven't seen it, check out their video. Hopefully, you'll identify with one or the other. And you'll see them throughout the main page. The idea is that the person coming to the website quickly identifies with Greg or Jess. Their story is your story.
Here's what I see on many church websites.
- The pastor preaching.
- The worship leader or band leading.
- A nice building.
- Cool children's facilities.
- People serving.
- People on mission.
Inadvertantly, I would suggest these make the staff and the facilities the hero of the website. It's great to see these things, but what if someone came to your website and the first thing they saw was.
- A young family obviously not connecting even at home?
- Parents throwing up their hands frustrated about disciplining their teenagers?
- A couple clearly having an argument?
- An individual struggling with who they are?
- An older couple obviously living in isolation?
- Workers living the rat race?
You will be far more creative than I am here. But, I'm pretty sure that if you started with this subtle thought about making people isolated and far from God the hero of your website, it will be more interesting and do a better job for you.
Next up, we'll talk about the bad guy.