Parish site inspiration – St. Mary’s in Fredericksburg, TX

St. Mary's Catholic Church - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot i)St. Mary's Catholic Church - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot ii)

Don’t you love it when you’re browsing parish websites, and one just makes you say, “Wow, that is really nice.”? That happened to me recently when I stumbled upon the online home of St. Mary’s parish in Fredericksburg, Texas.

A few noteworthy items on the church website:

  • Beauty & Personality – Both the beauty of the Faith and the parish’s unique personality are obvious, in photos, layout and color scheme used throughout the website.
  • Mass Schedule – It’s on the front page, left-hand side, where English speakers start when they’re reading. Great placement!
  • Easy Buttons – (Staples, don’t sue me…) Buttons on the front page make it easy to find what most people are looking for when they visit a parish website. Using the button format makes it less overwhelming and a little more ‘fun’ to find information.
  • Email Communications – Every business knows you need to grab consumers right off the bat; that’s why email sign-up buttons and forms belong on the front page of a website. St. Mary’s site does it right with a very visible button. Plus, they’re using a professional service…Constant Contact. Kudos!
  • Navigation exampleStraightforward Navigation – The site navigation menu makes finding things a snap. Plus, the large footer contains links to frequented content…a smart decision.

We could congratulate St. Mary’s on several other elements of their website, but those are some standout items that every parish should consider implementing.

St. Mary's Catholic School - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot i)St. Mary's Catholic School - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot ii)Another pleasant surprise: The parish school website design reflects the parish character while communicating the school’s own uniqueness. It even has an impressive, professional video (produced by a local production company) about the school embedded via Vimeo.

Smart elements on the school site:

  • Beauty & Personality – We don’t see this often, so it’s important to emphasize: the school site beautifully reflects its rootedness in the parish while communicating its uniqueness as a school.
  • Parent Portal – A fun graphic link connects parents to their portal. While many school sites’ portal login links are obnoxious and distracting, this one is neither.
  • Events Calendar – Everyone wants to know what’s happening at school, so it’s smart to have a simple calendar on the front page.
  • Calls to Action – Notice three buttons below the calendar: “Schedule a Tour” + “Send Me More Info” + “Visit Our Blog” In the web design world, we call these buttons “Calls to Action” because they get the user involved and prompt them to do something. These three particular actions can also create or strengthen personal connections to the school.

Congratulations, St. Mary’s! You’re an inspiration.

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