Site Inspiration – Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philly

This week in parish site inspiration, I tap into yet another brilliant cathedral website: Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Too bad this parish isn’t in West Phiiladelphia, or I’d have an excuse to include the Fresh Prince theme song in here…

Speaking of music, the only thing I do not enjoy about this otherwise masterfully designed website is that music automatically begins when you navigate to this page. I understand the designers’ sentiment; we designers get so caught up in creating a beautiful ‘experience’ for users that we forget about practicality and user-friendliness. These days, I do not recommend auto-start music on parish websites.

Take note of these site highlights:

  • Gorgeousness: I firmly believe in gorgeous church websites. Beauty evangelizes. It also adds a level of professionalism that can turn site visitors into in-person (and in-pew) visitors.
  • Two Navigation Bars: The top navigation bar remains throughout the website, and is organized simply. The homepage navigation bar (Latest News, About the Cathedral, Parish Info, How Do I…) brilliantly and easily makes accessible practical info that many parish site visitors seek.
  • Multimedia: Videos, podcast, photos add to the depth – and professionalism – of this website.
  • How Do I: This section could inspire any parish website. Most people who want to know something about your parish are looking for Mass and sacrament schedules, how to get married, how to get baptized, or how to get a Mass celebrated for someone.
  • News Feeds: I genuinely admire parish websites that can successfully integrate worldwide Catholic news feeds. While the Cathedral includes their feeds in the footer, the fonts match the rest of the site, and the impression we get is that this parish realizes they are part of a worldwide faith family.
  • Exceptional Writing: Visit a second-level page on this site (try here). Admire and learn from the exceptional text. Words are often overlooked when designing websites!

Whoever wrote this website’s text has neither dumbed-down Catholic lingo nor gone over the heads of Average Joes In the Pew. In your own parish website, seek a talented writer whose style is neither too flowery and school-teacher-ish nor terse and shop-talk-y. You need a balance between explanatory and welcoming text that reflects your parish’s own unique character.

Bravo to the team that designed and maintains this inspiring website!


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