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by Alice E. Brette

As part of 2020 Vision, a church-wide process begun in 2016 to seek God’s vision for Richmond’s First Baptist Church for the next five years, the Communication Team charged the Communication Ministry with creating a new website for First Baptist.

Our team began to create the information architecture for the new site in fall of 2017. Based on results of the 2020 Vision Communication Survey and data from Google Analytics, the Communication Team organized the website content into the two ways people search most often: the time an event happens and group affiliation. We began with a card sort, each menu item listed on a brightly colored index card. We sought to lay it out in the most user-friendly manner for both first time and returning visitors, and held meetings with several groups of staff members to learn about the needs of the specific groups they serve, moving their sections’ cards around as needed. We brought all the different forms of media scattered throughout the site into one place called “Church Anytime.” Most importantly, we placed links to the top ten most often visited pages directly on the home page. Finally, the team created a flow chart from the cards and presented it to the staff for their approval.

A Vision Becomes Reality

The team chose KeyWeb Concepts to create the visual design and host the site and signed a contract with them in June 2018. In February, we signed off on the final design and the web developers at KeyWeb began to write code for the WordPress templates.

We completed the website content migration during May and June, writing HTML5 and editing copy and photographs, and set a firm date for the site launch.

A Vision Becomes RealityWe created a list of 30 beta testers from our church membership to give the new site a test drive on the development server during June before it went live. The team gave them specific tasks to complete so we could compile their answers and find any negative trends to correct before launch.One tester praised us by saying, “VERY nice progress! Great improvement!” but also said he had a bit of a learning curve with the new menus. Another asked us to add a title of “Search” in the search bars to make them more obvious, which we did. One tester provided a very thorough proofreading and many corrections, which was a great gift to us and saved us some time. Thank you to all the beta testers. Your comments were very helpful in refining the site and in creating the marketing plan for the launch.

In coordination with the Finance Office, the team integrated a secure portal and a mobile app on our new site that allows church members and regular attendees access to an always up-to-date pictorial church directory, to maintain their own database records, and to have secure online giving and event registration. Within the website portal and mobile app, which we call MyFBC, you can track your giving for the last seven years, make a one-time gift and set up recurring giving and connect with your church family right from the palm of your hand. Go to fbcrichmond.org and click the MyFBC How To button on the home page to learn how to get set up.

The new site launched on July 15, 2019 at fbcrichmond.org. FBC now has a modern, mobile-first site design with improvements in accessibility and in the underlying technology. The new website is designed to make the information most of you look for often the easiest to find. We hope you will use it, enjoy it and that it serves the congregation of First Baptist well for many years to come.

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