The topic of creating new web sites is one that I am regularly asked for input on and figured it might help to bring it to the blog. Also if you are designing a web site for some other ministry, church or non-profit and I believe the same things apply. Just replace YWAM and it's programs with your own.
1. Mobile First
This is often misunderstood as simply being 'mobile friendly' though Google as a whole is pushing this big time. It will begin to affect your search rankings more. Then there is the obvious shift to most people using mobiles as the primary web browser. Something like 75% of our enquiries that come through our web site are done on mobile browsers. Even Discipleship Training School applications. The thing is that we often go into designing a web site on our desktops and then look at how it might adapt to a phone. Though I want to challenge you to do up sketches of your site's home page and main pages as if they were on a phone first. Make that the design priority.
2. Keep It Clean & Simple
Don’t try and cram every piece of information about your location and programs onto the web site. A web site should be an introduction that is clean and simple. One that makes people curious and gets them to want to connect with you directly to discover more.
3. Let It Emphasize Your Discipleship Training School (DTS).
This is a bigger discussion piece but it is based on the understanding that a DTS is the starting point for everyone joining YWAM. So don’t bury it in a Training tab. We don't emphasize it because it is more important than other programs and ministries, we emphasize it because the other programs and ministries are important and we know this will drive that growth.
4. Have a strong blog and content section.
I have a lot of bigger theories on this one though I will keep it simple for now. People don’t share and click on web sites as a whole. Instead they click on a powerful story, a testimony, or a helpful post. Use your blog as a way to meet people where they are at and help them with what you are strong at. If I had my way I would build a whole YWAM web site around this as the focus.
5. Make it easy for people to connect & join.
A Contact Us page should not be the only place people can contact you. Make sure you have embedded simple contact forms on any and all of your pages and even at the bottom of blogs. Don’t make people have to click around your site to connect. Also I mention in the YWAM DTS recruiting blog below to make sure you require a phone number. That is in my opinion the most effective way to connect with people and is where most contact forms fail people.