Delano Catholic Community is a church located in the small town of Delano, Minnesota.They have been a long standing community pillar for the families in Delano and surrounding areas. In 2013, they were in need of a new website that would bring them into the modern world online. They wanted to portray a welcoming community and be able to reach a younger audience.
Delano Catholic Community did not feel that it was using its website to portray an accurate picture of what it was all about. The church also felt that the website could be used more effectively as a communication tool, but were restricted in their current situation. Our job was to dive deeper into these challenges to discover an adequate solution for this church website.
After meeting with the members of the church in charge of revamping the website, we determined what was needed for a solution that would better portray the image of Delano Catholic Community and could be used as an effective communication tool. We laid out the groundworks for a custom website design and blog.
A custom website design would help to portray the church as a reputable and welcoming community. A fresh design would help to attract a younger audience to keep the parish growing. Young families are doing ALL of their research online these days, Delano Catholic understood the importance of being able to reach this audience.
A new website design would be a great start to attract young families. However, looks are not enough. In order to keep these young families around, Delano Catholic wanted a way to use the website to communicate better with this audience.
A blog would be a great way to push relevant and engaging contnet to the community and church members. The church planned to use the news blog primarily as a means to publishing weekly online bulletins.
The first step to online success is a great website design, so that's where we began this journey with Delano Catholic Community.
As we started on the design process, we looked at the layout of the home page and what was important to have on it. As we laid out the page, we found ways to build in attractive design elements that accentuated the church's unique brand colors. We also made sure to include all of the important content areas on the homepage, and provide easy to navigate links to important information for current and prospective parishoners.
Delano Catholic Community is home to a handful of organizations, which include two churches, a day care center, and a private elementary school. (Note: we also designed the school website for St. Peter's School.) We wanted to provide easy access to more information about these different branches under the Delano Catholic umbrella. So, we included a main highlights area towards the bottom of the home page that provides a nice thumbnail image of the orgnaization and a brief description of each. Users can then click a learn more button to go to the organization's landing page.
Aside from their four main organizations, the Delano Catholic Community organization had four main content goals for this new website. These four areas pertained to both current members of the parish and prospective members. The focus on content pertaining to the latter of these two audiences. These content areas included means to join the Delano Catholic Community, ways to get involved with the organization, information about the surrounding community, and the latest news or bulletins.
It was important to include multiple ways to highlight these main content areas on the homepage to make them simple to navigate to for all types of users. we include them in the main navigation bar and in the hero image area. Each category has a corresponding image and brief description. Every person navigates a web page differently, so it is important to include multiple ways to navigate to important areas of the site.
There are several unique graphic design elements incorprated in this custom website design. One of our favorites that we would like to point out is the hynmal bookmark fold that comes over the top of the web page and rests behind the logo. That unique element juxtaposed with the header image of the cathedral ceiling painting gives the website an instant church-like look and feel. This area is the first thing that every user sees when accessing the website, so it was very important to make it enticing.
Once all of the design elements of the project were completed and approved by Delano Catholic Community, we began the implementation process. We implemented the website design into our content management system (CMS) of choice, the Site Management Console (SMC).The SMC allows our website developers to efficiently build apps and plug-ins.
Development wise, this church website was fairly simple to implement. The only piece of custom website development needed was the implementation of a WordPress blog. Delano Catholic uses the blog to post news updates and weekly bulletins. Bringing the bulletin online was a goal of the church, and a blog made this possible.
We also implemented a newsfeed on the homepage that auto-displays the three most recent blog posts. Users also have the option to subscirbe to news updates and the weekly bulletins by enteringing their email address in a signup form in the footer of the website. This way, they can receive updates straight to their email inbox.
Other than those two pieces, our team of developers implemented the web page designs into the content mangement system and setup the basic plug-ins and navigation of the website. Part of the navigation setup included implementing a mega navigation menu. This provides even easier navigation for users as they can get to the page they want to get to without clicking through any other pages. The basic plug-ins allow the church to easily update images and content on every page of the website.
Getting better results online is the number one goal of every website design project. A custom website design and blog implementation built on the SMC laid the ground work for Delano Catholic Community to get better results on the web.
The tools is their's to use as they wish, and so far they have done a great job of using it to its fullest potential. They have quality content throughout the site and have done a fantastic job of publishing an online bulletin each week.
This website should give them the tools to attract and maintain parish members, as well as reach out to a younger audience. The design is eye catching and the content is informative and engaging. Parishoners can now use the website as a go to for more information about their church and its variety of services.