Most masjid websites are terrible. This is how you make them better.
No one cares that your organization was started in 1973 and services 500 families from XYZ counties. It also doesn’t really matter how big your Sunday school is, or how you have a “vibrant” youth presence.
Tell the story of your community. Talk about how back in 1982, 5 uncles got together and needed a place to pray Juma so they used some guy’s living room. Chronicle how that slowly grew into the congregation you have now. Tell the stories about the people who have come through your masjid – Imams who helped work with the kids, how a random brother or sister one time donated $10k to keep the masjid from being shut down.
Communities must create a sense of belonging. Draw people in with the history and story of your community.
2. Have important information
In no particular order, the following bits of information should be easily accessible:
- Directions. Actual directions. Anyone can look up your address on Google Maps. Your website should tell us “The GPS will get you to the Exxon gas station, but we’re actually on the 2nd floor of the brown building behind the gas station.”
- Updated iqamah times.
- Updated juma times (what time khutbah starts, what time salah is).
- Who the Khateeb is every Friday (why is this so hard? Asking a masjid to put this on their website is like asking a 5 year old not to leave toys on the floor).
- Office/visitation hours.
This is not an excuse to further publicize those 7-year-away expansion plan blueprints and architectural mock-ups. Put actual photographs of your facility. A few smiling people might help as well.
4. Social Media Integration / Contact
Don’t have it for the sake of having it. Don’t have a Facebook page if no one responds to messages. Don’t tell people to follow you on Twitter if your last update was 900 days ago and no one checks it.
Create a way for people to contact you easily with questions. You don’t need to leave a phone number – no one is going to call you anyways. Have an email that you actually check and respond in a timely manner.
5. Imam Info
Who is your imam? Let us know a little bit about him. Also introduce us to the rest of the staff. Who are they, what do they do?
Have some audio or video recordings from programs that take place at your masjid if possible.
Have a link to let people donate money to your masjid. Yes, some people actually want to give without having their arm twisted – make it easy for them.
8. Email List
Let people sign up for an email list to get announcements. Make sure to actually post announcements on your site – they’re much more effective here than on the microphone after Juma.
9. Give the people what they want
If your masjid regularly handles funerals – have the pertinent information there.
If no one registers their kids for Sunday school on the website, then take the forms down.
Information about upcoming classes and programs? Put it on there (and keep it current).
Don’t use your website to pontificate about sister’s activities and youth programs – especially if you don’t really have any. Even if you do, don’t post a pretentious write up about them.
This is not rocket science.
10. Get rid of everything else.
Seriously. If something on your site does not fulfill a need, get rid of it.
If you’d like a minimal out of the box solution to having a masjid newsletter for weekly announcements, managing your email list, and putting a donate button on your website – email me at omar (at) 1ayah.com for a quote.