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Parish site inspiration – Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, CA

This can’t be a parish website…it’s too hip-looking.

You’ve probably never thought that before! Well, I did once I saw Church of the Good Shepherd‘s website, designed by – brace yourself – a Catholic deacon!

The website’s flasher-than-usual, magazine style may not fit most parishes, but I have a hunch that it’s just right for a Beverly Hills church. That’s one little-discussed issue in parish website design: What is our parish story? What’s our unique character? Every business or organization that goes about the web design process correctly will have asked these questions about themselves.

Points of inspiration:

  • Magazine Layout – Already noted above, but worthy of a bullet point. If you’re going to choose this for your parish, make sure it fits your parish character and you have an outstanding web designer to make it work well.
  • Powered by WordPress – Enables easy search, commenting, posting weekly news, etc.
  • Parish blog – An easy way to highlight weekly announcements and bulletin notes is to transfer them into blog format. They lend themselves to that format.
  • What We’re Reading – This sidebar is usually found in blogs. But hey, why not add it to a parish site? If it works, it adds a level of depth to parish staff’s personalities. (They’re not just robots who live at the church.) Plus, highlighting books creates an opportunity for catechesis or evangelization: easily and painlessly recommend relevant resources.
  • Super-social footer – The site footer contains everything social: Facebook widget, Twitter and Foursquare links, highlighting an upcoming parish podcast, a link to the latest from several Catholic blogs, etc. If you put in the time to creating a parish Facebook, Twitter, etc., highlight it on your website! Social media – when properly highlighted – can add years to your parish’s aging, wrinkled Catholic appearance.

Congratulations to Church of the Good Shepherd for their willingness to take chances with this unique, unconventional parish website. It definitely says, “new evangelization.”

Stay tuned for more inspirational parish sites!

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