FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Design

What if I want my logo bigger?

Larger logos are the most common request we get from a design perspective, and yet make a logo too large is usually a bad idea. The purpose of the logo is to identify the site — answer the question “what site is this?” Making the logo larger can quickly feel like “shouting” at site guests. If you look at great brands like Apple, CNN, Nike, and many others, you can see that they “mark” their sites with their logo — it is there but not the dominant feature. In all these cases, their mission, product or message is the loudest thing on the page… it’s why people go there!

I've designed a layout. Why can't that be used?

Your ideas about the layout of the homepage are helpful, and part of the "Structure" phase of production. However, designing a website is now very different than designing a printed page. Websites are viewed on everything from small smartphone screens, to tablets, laptops and giant desktop screens. So there is no one way a site is seen. Because we use responsive tech to allow pages to morph for easy viewing on every screen size, there is no fixed layout -- only the layout delivered for a given screen size.

How does our site work on mobile devices?

We use responsive technology (with either Wordpress or Squarespace) to allow every page or post on your site to be useful on any size screen.

Because of this, elements that are in three columns (for example) on a large desktop screen will usually move to be stacked atop one another in 1 column on smaller screens. This keeps items and text from shrinking and becoming unreadable. It also allows touchscreen users to have larger "touch targets" for tapping and scrolling.

Menus also transition with smaller screens to show the "hamburger" (the graphic of 3 lines) that opens to show menu items. On larger screens a more traditional menu is presented.

If you would like a true mobile app, let us know and we can discuss that cost and process!

How many menu items can we have?

Wordpress and Squarespace allow practically unlimited menu items. The issue is more about "physics" -- how many items can appear in a traditional horizontal menu. There is only so much space there, so when it is full, the mobile menu kicks in.

So, using shorter and fewer words helps provide more space for main menu items.

Are shorter or longer pages better?

In the early days of the internet, shorter pages were preferred, and users would click to load additional pages as needed.

Modern users are far more likely to prefer scrolling (sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc feature endless scrolling), in part because of the growth of touchscreens.Few want to wait for new pages to load.

That said, pages should be as long as they need to be to meet the needs of users. We recommend asking, "why would someone visit this page and what would they hope to find?" Provide that!

 

Why is it better to use photos than graphics for headers, sliders or featured images?

We strongly discourage the use of graphics (graphics are stylized text or logos embedded in an image). These are very commonly used for promotion of events for worship slides, social media posts, and posters, where they work well.

For a website, those sorts of graphics work well WITHIN a page or post, not as a slider item, or featured image, or a background. For those purposes, a photo works much better. Choose a photo that is simple for the best effect.

Why? It's because graphics literally are shrunk or cropped for smaller screens -- often cutting off parts of the text or graphic, making it look broken. If text is appearing atop the image (as in a slider, the text on text effect is confusing and not attractive.

So, we encourage the use of graphics and logos INSIDE a page, but use photos for backgrounds, sliders and featured images.

Hosting

Will my new site be secure?

Wordpress: During development, your site will not show as secured, but once it is launched (assuming it is launched on Faithlab's server) an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate will be set and the site encrypted. A lock symbol will then appear by the URL to show it is secure. If your site uses forms that take credit cards or a cart system, know that credit card info will never be stored on the website, and only with your payment processor (Stripe, for example).

Squarespace sites have SSL certificates automatically applied.

 

 

 

What rollback (backup and recovery) options exist with Faithlab?

If your Wordpress site is hosted with Faithlab, our server does a daily backup and keeps these for a month. We can roll back to a given date as needed. Also, Wordpress and Divi both have revision systems that allow you to roll back to earlier content or design versions for a given post, page or module.

Squarespace sites do not have a rollback feature, but if you delete a page it can be recovered from the trash within 30 days.

 

 

What if we need email addresses?

Faithlab recommends one of three options for providing email addresses at your organization's domain name.

1) GSuite

This Google service includes not only email service, but also docs, sheets, forms, calendar and more. It is a full intranet. If you have used Gmail, you already know how it works!

2) Fastmail

This email service provides strong email service and an app, for a fee per person. If all you need is strong email with good spam protection, this service works well.

3) Faithlab mail

Our email service is very simple compared to the first two options. We also cannot offer the same level of spam protection as these larger firms. However, if cost is your main concern, it is the least expensive option.

Let us know if you want more info on these options. Ask how Faithlab can help setup any of these for your organization.

How do I find the admin login for my domain name?

Domain hosting and website hosting  are two separate things. Domain Hosting maintains your domain name (Faithlab.com, for example) while website hosting provides storage space, bandwidth and processing power for your website. 

Your domain host can be found by going to https://www.whois.net and then typing in your domain name. A long list of info will result... just look for the line for "Registrar URL". That's your domain name host. You will need the administrative login for that service in order for us to manage the domain name for launch.

 

What does Website Hosting Include?

Wordpress: Faithlab's Wordpres hosting is handled on a Wordpress-optimized server that uses fast SSD storage (as opposed to slower spinning hard drives). Hosting includes a specified amount of storage space (this can be increased when needed for an extra fee), bandwidth, and the underlying computing systems. Daily backups (going back 30 days) are also automatic and included.

Squarespace sites have unlimited storage and bandwidth. Hosting for Squarespace sites is provided only by Squarespace itself.

Site content updating and maintenance is not included in hosting. However, these services are available for reasonable fees -- ask if you want more info!

 

 

 

What if I want to move my site later?

Wordpress:  Wordpress is one of the most popular website systems available. For that reason, there are a large number of designers, developers and hosting options for the platform. If you need to move your site, or even if something happened to Faithlab (let's hope not!), your site can be supported and hosted at a wide number of places.

Squarespace:  Because your Squarespace site is hosted with Squarespace, there is no way to move the actual site. However, your content belongs to you, and can be exported and then imported in to Wordpress or other platforms. Squarespace even provides tools for moving your content if that becomes a need.

b

Content

I'm preparing new content for my site. What's the best way to do this?

Formatting does not transfer to web text, so we ask that text for pages be prepared with no formatting - no fancy fonts, sizes, layouts, tables, etc. Those have to be removed before we can add the text to a given page. So preparing a text or Word doc with no formatting -- just headings/sub-headings, text and returns is the most helpful.

Be sure to name your file for the page where the text belongs so our team will know where to place it.

Editing text is easy on the site, so remember nothing is permanent and you can return later after site launch to edit or add text.

What's the best way to share news on the site?

The church newsletter has long been the favorite vehicle for sharing news, and continues to be an important tool in your commnications toolbox. But we believe it is not the best approach for the web. Why?

Newsletters are designed for print. That means they are written and laid out to be viewed on a sheet of paper. Why not just make a PDF of the printed newsletter and save time?

Three reasons:

1) a PDF is very hard to read and navigate on a mobile device screen. Pinching and zooming to try and see content is frustrating.

2) A PDF is not shareable. If you want to post to Facebook and invite others to join an upcoming concert, linking to a PDF is not helpful. 

3) A PDF is not Google-friendly. Yes, Google indexes PDFs, but they are not considered to have anywhere near the priority of web page content. This matters in how people discover your church. For example, if you offer a divorce support group, promoting it in a PDF is not going to help people find it on Google.

Our strong recommendation is to allow us to setup a news area on your site, where each news item is added as a "post". These posts can have as much information, photos, video, a form, etc as needed to help people connect. It is also shareable (so Facebook friends could click and be taken directly to that news item), looks great on mobile screens, and will be found by Google.

It's a little more work -- but using web approaches (rather than print approaches) for sharing dramatically increases the reach of your promotion... and isn't that the point?

 

How do you recommend we go about photo releases?
We have a general photo-release form that you can use to collect signatures. We often recommend that churches select a well-attended children's event (like VBS or an Easter egg hunt) to make these forms available. This way you'll have the best chance at getting signatures all at once. Our sample photo/video release form is attached. Feel free to use it/customize it however you'd like! **LINK TO FILE
Why is it better to get a photography of our church and people than to use stock photos?
Churches are communities, and specialize in genuine relationships. Stock photos neither show off the beauty of your place or people.
We recommend hiring a professional photographer to capture high-quality photos of your church campus, people, activities and services. Often, a generous supply of photos can be captured on a single weekend. Faithlab can provide our "Church Photography Guide" that includes a shoot list, helping capture the sorts of photos needed for your website.
We also have a general photo-release form that you can use to collect signatures. We often recommend that churches select a well-attended children's event (like VBS or an Easter egg hunt) to make these forms available. This way you'll have the best chance at getting signatures all at once. Our sample photo/video release form is attached. Feel free to use it/customize it however you'd like! **LINK TO FILE
Is posting a PDF of our newsletter the best way to use the website to share news?

The church newsletter has long been the favorite vehicle for sharing news, and continues to be an important tool in your commnications toolbox. But we believe it is not the best approach for the web. Why?

Newsletters are designed for print. That means they are written and laid out to be viewed on a sheet of paper. Why not just make a PDF of the printed newsletter and save time?

Three reasons we think you should not:

1) a PDF is very hard to read and navigate on a mobile device screen. Pinching and zooming to try and see content is frustrating.

2) A PDF is not shareable. If you want to post to Facebook and invite others to join an upcoming concert, linking to a PDF is not helpful. 

3) A PDF is not Google-friendly. Yes, Google indexes PDFs, but they are not considered to have anywhere near the priority of web page content. This matters in how people discover your church. For example, if you offer a divorce support group, promoting it in a PDF is not going to help people find it on Google.

Our strong recommendation is to allow us to setup a news area on your site, where each news item is added as a "post". These posts can have as much information, photos, video, a form, etc as needed to help people connect. It is also shareable (so Facebook friends could click and be taken directly to that news item), looks great on mobile screens, and will be found by Google.

It's a little more work -- but using web approaches (rather than print approaches) for sharing dramatically increases the reach of your promotion... and isn't that the point?

Bottom line: It's fine to post PDFs of your newsletters online... but that should be for archiving, and a web-native approach used for website communications.

Will I be able to easily update my new site?

Yes! Before launch, we provide training videos and an editor login to help you know how to make edits to text. After launch you will be able to change text, images, or add new pages and posts.

Our designers work hard to give your site a clean, professional appearance, so we encourage edits to not affect layouts (or place graphics where photos are currently placed).

The easiest way to create a new page is to duplicate an existing page and then edit the text and images. That way your pages have a consistent appearance without you needing to learn how to design pages from scratch (although you can do that too if you wish).

Need Faithlab to handle all site updates for you? We do this for many clients and are very afforable. Talk to us if you would like a quote on  our monthly updating plan -- saving your team time and keeping your site looking top-notch!

Can we get help updating our site across time?

Absolutely! Faithlab offers a website updating plan that is customized to your church or organization's needs. Several hours per month are alloted to your plan, and those can be used to update pages, add new ones, add news posts, create forms, and more. 

Interested? Contact Faithlab for a quote.

Can our site handle podcasts?

Either a Wordpress or Squarespace site can fit in your podcasting efforts.

Wordpress: In Wordpress, we recommend a podcast hosting service like Blubrry.com, where your podcast episodes are stored and streamed in the background (users never see that service - only your website or a service like iTunes Podcasts or Google Play). Then Faithlab can connect your website to Blubrry so new podcast episodes are available beautifully on your site. It also creates the needed feed for Google Play, iTunes and other services. 

Squarespace:  Websites on a business or higher plan with Squarewpace can host podcasts right there in their website. It also creates the needed feed for Google Play, iTunes and other services.

Where should we host our video files?

Video files are very large, and consume processing power to stream. While it is technically possible to add them to your website, we strongly recommend instead using a service such as Vimeo or Youtube. Then, you can grab the URL for any video you load to that service and use it to display the video in your website.

The downside to adding video files directly into the media area of your website is that they will not always stream as well to multiple device types, and will quickly push your website hosting storage needs into more expensive plans.

Can we just take announcements from our bulletin and post them online?
You can! But why stop there?
Your printed bulletin or newsletter has real limitations. 
1) Space. Announcements have to be very brief in order to fit.
2) Media. Printed announcements cannot include sets of photos from last year's event, an interactive map to a location, a read-to-complete registration form, or a video promoting the event.
When you instead create content for a website post in your news section, you have the ability to overcome all of these limitations. Write as much as needed to entice persons to participate or answer their likely questions. Add photos from a past event. Add a registration form and map. 
So yes, you can just transfer a print announcemtn to the web, but that misses the power of the web to communicate in powerful ways. Put your great new site to work!

Features

I'd like to use Events Calendar Pro on my new site. How do I get started?
  1. Purchase Events Calendar Pro for 1 site. The premium plugin has a nominal fee to the developer (around $90) which the organization agrees to pay. It can be purchased here.
  2. Locate your Events Calendar Pro license key on your account page. Learn how to find your license key (Finding the License Key section). We will ask you to provide your license key during the Wrap-Up step.
I want to offer livestream on my site. What do you recommend?
We recommend using any of the established third-party provides such as Facebook, Youtube or Vimeo Live for live-streaming services. We can either link to or embed your livestream, based on the livestreams permissions.
I found a plugin for my new site. Can we use it?

Wordpress has a rich ecosystem of plugins, but not all are high-quality. Let us know the function or need for a type of plugin and we will likely have one to recommend, or can check out the one you are considering.

Longer response: We prefer premium plugins that require a fee, since they are more likely to have support and security patches across time. Wordpress sites are safer with fewer plugins, since each one adds another point of potential vulnerability.

Pin It on Pinterest