Council Road Baptist Church

Oklahoma church gains new ease of use, flexibility and site traffic by upgrading its web platform

A credible, popular pastor respected in the community is vital to a church's success in growing and engaging the congregation and spreading God's word. Today, a church's website needs to be of equally high caliber.

"An outstanding web presence is a top priority for today's church," said Brad Mardis, Director of Communications at the Council Road Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "A website is the church's voice and face for all to see, both members and visitors. The communication and presentation of your church website can make all the difference to someone who is seeking a church home or looking for resources in their community."

"The communication and presentation of your church website can make all the difference to someone who is seeking a church home or looking for resources in their community."

The Council Road website (councilroad.org) got a major facelift in spring 2013 with an implementation of the LightCMS content management system platform, replacing a customized legacy site that had gone stale after six years. Going live, appropriately at Easter time, the new site has renewed the church's digital presence and broadened awareness for its ministries in such areas as child well-being, unwed mothers, Bible studies, addiction recovery, a mission in Uganda and more.

Council Road Baptist's homepage designed by Collision Media

A Welcome Change for Site Visitors and Users

The church's 2,000-member congregation has welcomed the clean, attractive and inviting new site, reflected in an 88% increase in the number of unique visitors and gains in such metrics as page views per session and average time on site, Mardis said.

"The reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive," Mardis said. "Whenever you change something like this the fallout can be cumbersome, but the reception has been very positive."

LightCMS's simplicity makes it easy for non-technical users among church program leaders and volunteers to readily update the site with new text, images and video. That reduces the workload for the church's technically savvy volunteers and helps ensure that valuable information on programs and events is uploaded in timely fashion.

"One reason LightCMS is a great platform is because the learning curve is very, very low"

"One reason LightCMS is a great platform is because the learning curve is very, very low," Mardis said. "I can teach a novice how to update the website with text, images, bullet points, links and videos very easily. You don't have to mess with the HTML, and it's very customizable. Plus, as a hosted platform, we don't need to worry about downtime."

Adaptation to Mobile Devices

Council Road Baptist selected LightCMS over WordPress, which it considered overly complex with a risk of crashing, and helped ensure a quality implementation and training with services from Collision Media, a LightCMS Professionals partner based in Nashville, TN headed by the husband-and-wife team of Tommy and Emily Bailey, both of whom have long backgrounds in church and ministry work.

Having built more than 200 websites since 2008 on LightCMS, many of them for churches, ministries and non-profits, Collision Media (collisionmedia.com) was ideally positioned to help Council Road Baptist make the most of LightCMS's capabilities. That includes the use of responsive design, the web development technique that ensures a site automatically adapts to whatever device accesses it, whether it be a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

"It's a fully responsive site that adapts and creates the site live, and that's a tremendous benefit as we're seeing more traffic from smartphones and tablets," Mardis said. Just like a consumer, a visitor to a church website who finds a subpar experience on a mobile device is apt to click away, costing an opportunity for engagement.

"Collision Media was just excellent," Mardis said. "With their experience in working with churches, they knew very well how to work with a small committee. Their communications and attention to detail were outstanding, and that's reflected in our new website."

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