First impressions affect us more than we may be aware of or care to admit. Your website’s home page can be considered a first impression to anyone who is visiting your site for the first time. It serves as an opportunity to give people a glimpse to your unique identity and what matters to you. It also serves as a preview to your latest developments and activities. This is especially true for church websites as they seek to convey their distinctive values and unique programs.

There are a couple ways that can help make your home page attractive and yet still functional. It starts with choosing from the variety of Finalweb templates. Choose a template that best serves how you want people to navigate to the rest of your site. Some people will prefer a more photo-centric home page and use multiple pictures as links to other pages. On the other hand, some folks may prefer their home page to be more straight-to-the-point with most links simply spelled out in menus. Both ideas are perfectly fine. One thing to be careful of, though, when building your church website is to not place too many items on the home page. There can be a temptation to cram as much stuff as possible in plain sight on the front page and sometimes that may actually end up hurting the beauty AND functionality of your site.

When it comes to building a menu, rather than trying to place a couple dozen items in a single menu, utilize the sub-menu builder (if your template features it). If four or five pages are similar in category, then you can save space by putting four or five links in a sub-menu under a generic category (e.g. “About Us” or “Ministries”).

A very popular feature on many of our templates is the Topbar Image section. This refers to the banner images at the top of your home page. Depending on the template, you can use these photos for more than just a simple front page gallery. Some of our templates allow you to use them as links to other pages that you want to highlight. When choosing topbar images, it is best to use photos with sharp resolution but to also pay special attention to the ideal dimensions specified in the topbar image editor. Not all templates use the same size frame for these images. To see how to best manage photos for this feature, please see our blog entry titled “Topbar Image Demonstration.”

The same idea goes for the usage of images for the other boxes on your homepage that serve as links within your site. Use higher quality photos if you can find them, but just make sure you are using photos that you own and are not violating any copyright infringement. To help get you started, we have a large gallery of public domain photos that you can access from all your photo editor sections of your site manager.

Remember, it helps to look at your church website homepage as a “first impression” when setting it up. Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking at your site for the very first time and think about what will help them figure it out quickly and easily while still representing your unique identity.

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