Our design team wrote this article to fill you in on some of the best practices to consider when creating your new website and to take a look at some of the features you'll probably use the most.
Remember, it's your website, and you can do whatever you want with it - these are just some tips and suggestions for you to consider.
The website you make with Clover will have multiple pages, and each page can have multiple sections. We'll refer to this as "section-based pages". Any page you add to your website can have as many different sections on it as you want. So, let’s say you chose a text page with 2 distinct text and photo sections on it. In Advanced Mode, you’re able to add more sections of any type - more text and photo sections, or gallery sections, list sections, etc. Depending on how you want to design your site, it might make sense to have a dozen different sections on each page.
One of the main reasons for creating our websites in this manner has to do with mobile browsing. 9 times out of 10, a visitor to your website would much rather scroll down a page to consume your content rather than navigating between pages. The clear advantage of having section-based pages is that you’re able to put much more content on one page, allowing your visitors to not have to dig around to learn more about your organization.
Organizing Your Site
With the ability to have multiple sections on each page, the way you organize your site’s pages and navigation is crucial to your visitor’s experience. A well-designed website has the ability to guide them through your organization’s values and mission and to lead them to action.
We would encourage you to use the least amount of pages that still make sense with your content. So, for example, instead of putting each of your ministries on separate pages, you may want to combine them into one main page with a section for each ministry. Obviously, that doesn't work for every website, but you get the picture. The important thing is to remember is that the less navigating between pages for your visitors, the better!
Colors, Fonts, and other Design Decisions
We’ve tried our best to give you a lot of control for many of the design decisions you'll come across while designing your website.
Colors and Fonts:
One of the best methods for customizing the colors and fonts on your website is to start with a pre-designed palette, and then customize from there. We’ve provided you with a number of palettes that will (hopefully) give you a good foundation to start with. From there, you can easily adjust colors and fonts to your specific brand.
Along with colors and fonts, one of the best ways to create design and structure for each page is to start with a pre-designed page layout. After you’ve chosen your page layout, you can switch to Advanced Mode and use the “Edit Sections” feature if you'd like to add, reorder and delete sections.
Using your Gallery and List Sections
The introduction of Gallery and List/Grid sections allows you to have some unique design options for your site. These sections can have multiple uses, so be sure to check out our demos to get some ideas.
Your Gallery is one of the best ways of communicating ideas unique to your organization. This section can really be maximized if you have a designer available to create custom images. One of the most common uses for this section is to advertise events in a slideshow. Another great use can be creating a spectacular landing page with one single image representing your ministry. So be creative! You have a ton of flexibility.
The most common uses of the List/Grid page on most sites will be showing off your staff or even selling products. But keep in mind that you can use them to link anywhere, or even just as design elements. They can be used as quick links to other pages, or even a way of displaying your mission and values.
Transitioning from a Clover Sites Classic site
There are some design considerations to keep in mind if you’re transitioning from a Clover Sites Classic site design to one of our current designs. Keep in mind, these are simply suggestions! You can do whatever you’d like with your new site and make it awesome! But here are some guiding principles as you transition to the newer version of Clover Sites:
Totally different products:
Clover Sites Classic and the current version of Clover are totally different products and should be approached that way. Classic has clear limitations with page layouts (1 section per page), a lack of ability to embed content, and some font & color restrictions. Because your new site can be structured so differently, we'd strongly suggest that you rethink how you organize and design your website. (For example, like we mentioned above, you may want to transition 10 separate ministry pages to one new page with ten sections).
Higher-density (retina) screens:
We give you the option to pull your Classic photo album into your new photo album. This can be really great if you want to use some photos from your Classic site on your new website. One thing to consider is that the current version of Clover optimizes images for higher density screens. This basically means that people with Retina (Apple’s version) or other high-density displays (displays with high dots per inch) will see crisper images when visiting their site, which optimizes the viewing experience. But for Clover to show the crisper images, you’ll need to start with a larger image file in the first place! Be sure that if you’re using photos from Classic they’re nice and big — we’ll take care of the rest.
Logo area size:
Just like when you chose a site design in Classic, be sure to consider the space available for your logo in each design. Some of our spaces are small and compact, while others will allow you to take up the entire header.
We're just barely scratching the surface of all the innovative ways you can use Clover Sites' features to create a stunning website. To learn more, check out the Site Design Tips & Tricks article our design team wrote, where we offer even more tips on how to help your website beautifully represent your ministry.