Continuing the series where I’m interviewing different experts who create great church websites I was honoured to interview Jonathan Carone.

Introduce yourself and tell us about you do for churches

My name is Jonathan Carone. I’m a big believer that for us to impact the world around us, we first have to understand who we are as an organization. I help churches (re)discover their story and how it fits into the world around them and then help them tell that story through brand development, website creation, and communications coaching.

How many people are involved in your team?

My business is just me officially. I have other great freelancers and solopreneurs I partner with when it best serves the needs of the church I’m working with.

What platforms do you like building your websites on?

I create all my websites on WordPress.

What made you choose that platform?

When I started my business, WordPress is what I had the most experience with. I decided to dive in to one platform and learn it really, really well instead of trying to be a jack of all trades on all of them.

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

From a technical standpoint, I like the flexibility of WordPress. You can literally make it do almost anything you need it to if you have the time, skill, or budget. It has a great support system and isn’t dependent on one company like many other platforms.

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

I host all my sites on Flywheel.

What are the challenges of the platform now you are using?

There can be a learning curve with WordPress. There are also more ways to break WordPress than there are other platforms. WordPress requires hosting as well which can slow down your site or bring about its own challenges. Once you know what’s going on, those challenges can feel smaller but they can be overwhelming to someone who doesn’t understand them.

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

Honestly, I’d get rid of the cheap hosting providers who rip off clients who don’t know what they’re doing.

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

For a few years, I focused on creating websites that looked really, really nice. My unofficial tagline was “your story never looked this good.” But after seeing some of the copy churches were sending over and how bad much of it was, I realized I was creating websites that were pretty but didn’t actually work that well. That’s when I learned about StoryBrand. After diving into that, I went through the certification process to become a StoryBrand Certified Guide. That process and framework has allowed me to combine my skills as a writer, communications director, and designer into one service that both looks really nice and connects with people where they are. So for me, my designs are now driven by the content and psychology behind what users are looking for.

What is the favourite part of your church website?

This is such a hard question because a lot of sites are different. For one client, we’re working to pair down their Watch page to make it more accessible and better organized and I love where that’s going. On another site that’s currently in development, we’re working really hard to make sure the content is written for an audience that either has no church background or has a bad taste in their mouth from previous churches.

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

Make it about the person reading the site and how your church can help them. Don’t make your church the hero of the story.

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

Podcast: SolvingProblemsPodcast.com

Church focused website: JonathanCarone.com