19 October 2020 A Tale of Two Websites
The Communication Team has been busy for the past few months making wholesale changes to our web offerings. The dust is finally settling and it’s time to fill everyone in on the changes.
- We retasked and simplified the current website, AutumnRidgeChurch.org
- We discontinued the app
- We created a new website, autumnridge.church
Why did we make these changes?
We were tasked with making AutumnRidgeChurch.org completely visitor-centric.
For a number of years we’ve known the website is the first introduction to us. All the great programs and teaching mean nothing if people aren’t coming in. With Rick’s arrival, we now have alignment of goals for the website. We’re now far down the path to removing anything from the site a visitor doesn’t care about or would find confusing – we’re giving them the big picture of who we are.
The app was originally intended to be the hub for the congregation. But it had too many limitations to be a really effective communication tool for us. And, because the website was still filling dual purposes of visitor and congregational information, we were wasting a lot of time with duplicate entry efforts. This year, as we made the major shift to online engagement, there just wasn’t time to keep all the balls in the air.
We needed one place where Autumn Ridgers and visitors could go to take next steps in their faith journey. This space also needed to be the hub for the congregation. Enter autumnridge.church. This next steps hub is very simple and functions in many ways like we hoped the app would. Plus, there’s nothing to download from the app stores.
- The website shows visitors how they can plug in whether they’re curious, skeptical, hurting, or followers of Jesus (homepage).
- It details what makes us distinctive and gives a broad overview of what we have to offer them (about us).
- It shows how we want to be a good community member and have an impact on our community. It invites people to join us in making an impact (partnerships).
- It allows people to see what we have to offer for groups, classes, and studies. It also invites them to belong – even before they may believe (Groups and Classes, Teams).
- Visitors are very curious about what services look like, our weekend talks, and video content in general (watch). They also want an idea of what’s actually happening at the church (events).
- Each week Rick (or the preaching pastor) and/or the service hosts highlight a particular Next Step. This is the first thing people see at this site. That content changes on a weekly basis.
- A number of tiles outline other next steps, such as join or lead a life group, get baptized, or join Celebrate Recovery.
- One tile is dedicated to taking notes during the weekend talk, checking out the latest Podcast or Sunday talk, or watching our various streams.
- A tile is dedicated to various resources: links to AR KIDS content, events, prayer requests (see special section, below), ridgeLINK, email links, and more.
- A tile is also dedicated to giving.
We’ve focused, simplified and streamlined. The congregation can find all they need at autumnridge.church to help them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Curious, skeptical, or hurting visitors of all races will find out why they’ll love attending Autumn Ridge because they won’t get bogged-down in wading through pages of content that aren’t relevant to them. Content is better organized, and the language simplified. We would encourage you to visit these two sites to see our work for yourself.
While much of the highly visible work is now behind us, we’re still working on tackling items like eliminating double-entry of event data; a more robust way to find groups, classes, and studies; and tighter integration with our data and church ministry. The next several months are going to be an exciting ride for the Communication Team.
We’ve heard from some people recently asking how to request prayer on the websites.
AutumnRidgeChurch.org has two buttons at the top of EVERY PAGE. One allows you to login to ridgeLINK; the other allows you to request prayer.
The autumnridge.church site has a tile you can click on for access to a number of resources. Click on the tile and scroll down until you see the Prayer section and button.