I love seeing what people around the world are doing who serve in churches. Here is one church communicator in England who’s work that I love with their website at Easter.

Tell us about yourself

Hey! I am Ben Elliott and I wear a few different hats… I’m the Creative Leader at The Well in Sheffield, England. It’s a Baptist church that’s been going for nearly 4 years now. I give a day a week to assist with the communications, ranging from the website to printed marketing, social media content and video production. I am also the founder of The Church Comms Collective. A community supporting each other church communicators’ do deliver the best comms possible from their church.

How many people are involved in your team and the website?

Our website team is myself, and I run designs and thoughts past the Church Leader and Student Ministry Leader.

What platform is your website built on?

Our website is built using Squarespace with Church Suite Admin systems connected for the calendar.

If it is a self hosted website, what do you host it on?

Squarespace host themselves, our domains being parked elsewhere for the ease of management should we need to switch platforms in the future.

What are the challenges of the platform?

It would be nice to be able to take features from different templates and apply more of a mix and match approach. But generally if you choose to go down the route of using Squarespace know that you’re saving a lot of money and creating something really beautiful and engaging for a fraction of what it would cost to do as a bespoke project. If it’s not that will be because you need to raise your content creation game! Beautiful images and choice of copy will make a huge impact.

Why did you choose that platform?

I’ve produced over 60 Squarespace websites in whilst running my own business (www.socialwetalk.com). It’s a no brainer. From a content management perspective it provides just enough versatility without it being overwhelming for those who find tech confusing and challenging and from a visitors perspective it enables us to adhere to our brand guidelines creating a fresh environment for everyone to access information.

What are the advantages of the platform now you are using it? What do you love about it.

Simply put I found WordPress too complex and it was important that other teams could add updates to the website if they wished. I first explored Wix 5 years ago, back then it felt really amateur and I quickly adapted to Squarespace. As such in some ways I’ve been a victim of a comfort zone, but I’ve never been disappointed with how Squarespace has performed. The limitations that are in place, are often in my opinion there for valid reasons!

If there is one thing you would change, what would it be?

It would be to host videos directly on Squarespace, rather than embedding using YouTube or Vimeo links. There are times when this functionality would enable a localised digital experience.

Any special features/highlights you want to tell us about?

When we first launched the site we custom coded the home page with an interesting picture and video overlay and split panels to highlight upcoming events. We’ve recently decided to use a new landing page which is much quicker to update as it doesn’t involve specific image file sizes and coding to update.

Share about the design process. How did you come to where you are now designwise?

The brand was developed when the church launched by a really talented guy (Ben Hodges). I’ve simply tried to bring that brand into digital fullness. Creating a website around a brand rather developing a website to form a brand is something I would strongly advise. Your website should be a digital reflection of who you are. It should be authentic and when someone attends for the first time there should be a real sense that this is ‘true’ to what you know of the church digitally.

If there was one tip you could give another person who is updating/creating a church website, what would it be?

The first rule of good communication is to understand your audience. Who are they? What’s important to them? At The Well our website was built to communicate to those who do not attend. Under our logo it reads ‘Serving Sheffield since 2015’ and that’s exactly what the website is designed to do. People who regularly attend receive email updates and are members of private Facebook groups, where as the website is really designed to be our outward expression. That said, I think it’s vital to keep returning to the question of whether the website is fit for purpose. Never be complacent and think that just because you finished it a few months or year ago doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need work. The best performing athletes continue to train hard and eat well in order to be their best when they perform. The same should be said for your communications and your website – you have to stay on top of what’s going on if you want to deliver an awesome standard.

Some people will be baffled about who their audience is – especially when we’re called to share the gospel with everyone! The reality is though that often those in your immediate vicinity are the ones that it would be best to connect with. The Well is in a great geographical location with lots of people passing by all day and night on foot and in their vehicles. We are surrounded by great cafes and bars, university buildings and businesses as well as large residential areas. The brand and website is designed to sit alongside the feel of the area with a creative beautiful cafe space inside and a warm welcome. This is something we’ve tried to replicate digitally. I used my drone to capture aerial shots to further emphasise our geographical location highlighting it to visitors and the church as a key element to the fabric of the city.

Where can people find you online? What is your website address?

They can find me at www.wellsheffield.com

Check out The Well Sheffield’s Easter Website here