We recently completed a website redesign for The Holy Family House of Prayer out in Rockingham, Western Australia. Best known for their miraculous Weeping Madonna statue, they have a captivating story behind their organisation. They came to us wanting a fresh new look for their website, which they use primarily for documenting stories and photos of the weeping statue, as well as running their online shop.
Sometimes our clients come to us with a clear vision in mind and specific requests to go along with it. Other times, like in this instance, they give us free reign to do a website makeover. The web designers at Captivate Digital LOVE when this happens, as it means they get to be a little more creative.
Here's what the Weeping Madonna website looked before we began our web design services:
The first thing we do for any new web design project is conduct a site audit and compile a list of observations and suggestions for improvement. The design aspect is only one element of the website; we also look at the site's organisation, menu hierarchy, functionality, and content. We make note of things that are broken or could use some improvement, with the aim of fixing them so that the website looks and runs much better.
Here's a glimpse at what our site audit looked like just for the Weeping Madonna homepage:
- More text is needed above the fold. The logo and banner image are so tall that they are all you see without having to scroll further down the page.
- What is this website about? It's not at all clear on the homepage what the Holy Family House of Prayer is. We recommend adding a few sentences on the homepage (preferably above the fold) that clearly state this.
- Redo the sidebar. Remove calendar, add more useful items.
- Newsletter sign-up link doesn't work. Fix this and move the link further up the page so it's more visible.
- Remove the blog. Have the blog be a separate section of the website.
- Some links in navbar lead to blank pages. Either remove these links or add content to those pages.
Our Website Redesign
Once we got the OK to make the changes proposed during our site audit, we installed a simple, clean-looking WordPress template and got to work cleaning up the site.
Here are some of the things we did to improve the Weeping Madonna website:
- Reduced the height of the logo and removed the (useless) banner image so that more copy is visible without having to scroll down.
- Added a blurb introducing the website and the story behind it so that site visitors are less likely to bounce and more likely to want to keep browsing.
- Added a video to the homepage (upon client's request).
- Moved the newsletter subscription CTA to the top of the sidebar so that it's visible above the fold on every page of the website. We also migrated them over to the Mailchimp platform, a program we use and recommend for those wanting to maintain a subscription list.
- Added social media links to the sidebar so visitors can easily follow the organisation on Facebook and YouTube if desired.
- Added archive drop-down option (so that old blog posts can easily be pulled up) and the organisation contact info to the bottom of the sidebar.
- Added a batch of photos to the Photo Gallery (upon client's request).
In sum, we made their website more user-friendly and nice to look at, and added new content - all in line with our website best practices.