Surprise! We have a brand new website. I’m sure you figured that out from seeing the headline above.
There’s plenty of cool things about mymasjid.ca that you’ll definitely look forward to seeing for the first time. I won’t talk about everything this website has to offer, otherwise this post will be over 3,000 words long. The rest of the site is for you to explore. But I won’t leave you completely in the dark. In this blog post I will cover a number of things. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s below:
- How the website was built
- Why the homepage looks different than what you’re used to
- The new calendar of upcoming events
- How to get involved with our organization
And without further ado, let’s get started.
The New Website At A Glance
Mymasjid.ca was built entirely from the ground up. Like all major web design projects, this endeavour went through a number of phases which included finding a good domain name, research, preparation, designing, receiving feedback, marketing optimization, and user testing.
Here is a breakdown of where that time was spent:
20% of the work was spent on research and preparation. Long before the domain was built I had already spent dozens of hours on researching what other Islamic institutions had done with their website designs. And just as much time was spent creating the new site structure and where content would appear on each individual web page.
10% of the work went into getting feedback, user testing, and making changes. This site went through dozens of iterations based on feedback I received from over 20 people. Some of these people were members of the AMA while others were friends and family.
70% of the work went into building everything. The work in this stage was split between the front end design (the stuff you’re seeing right now) and the back-end marketing optimization (the fancy technical stuff you can’t see).
X Theme – this WordPress theme forms the foundation of everything you’re seeing. It’s certainly one of the best themes on the market right now.
Canva – this free tool allows just about anyone to create professional designs, even if you don’t have a background in design. Nearly all of the graphics and images you see on this site were made using Canva. I absolutely love this tool and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Flare by Filament – this is the name of the social sharing tool we’re using which should make it easy to share new blog posts (like the one you’re reading) with your friends on social media. Why not give it a try and share this post online right now?
One great feature of this new site is its mobile responsiveness. This fancy term means this site will look good on any device. It doesn’t matter whether you’re browsing on a 5 inch smartphone or on a 22 inch desktop screen, this site will automatically adjust itself to give you an optimal viewing experience.
The New Homepage Design
Our new homepage design might come as a surprise to some. Long before I started to build the website plenty of research was done on what other mosques and Islamic centres were doing with their homepage designs. It seemed like everyone was copying each other. Nearly every site I came across had all of the following elements on their homepage:
- A donate button
- A calendar of upcoming events
- An email opt-in form
- Community announcements
- A prayer timetable
- …and much more
Now all of these elements are important parts to a website for a masjid, but do they all have to be on the homepage?
Placing too much information on the homepage may ruin the user experience of people visiting your website. As a matter of fact, it’s a best practice in online marketing and web design to make each page on your website perform only one or two tasks. With that knowledge in mind, I decided to keep the homepage simple and split up donations, upcoming events, and the prayer timetable into their own separate pages. This is a little different from the status quo, because the one thing you can do on the homepage is to sign up to our (awesome) email newsletter.
The Calendar of Upcoming Events
A question that is often asked by many is, “What’s happening at the masjid this week?”
When are new classes and halaqas taking place?
When is the next big conference?
When is the next event for the youth/sisters/students of knowledge/(insert anything here)?
Unless you were subscribed to our email newsletter or followed us on Facebook, it was difficult to know what events were taking place. And even if you were an email subscriber or a Facebook fan, you still would not be aware of every upcoming event.
With our new events calendar that’s no longer a problem. At anytime you can check out this page and see all upcoming activities, whether it’s a regular weekly lecture given by Sh. Ismail or a trip to LaRonde or a conference with visiting guest speakers. It will all be in the calendar for you to see, insha Allah.
We also included a special filter which will allow you to search for events based on category, venue, and day of the week so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
During the month of Ramadan many of our regular activities will be paused. Most of the events during this Ramadan are related specifically to short talks and lectures about tafsir, the explanation of the verses of the Qur’an. Our regular lineup of activities will return after Eid-ul-Fitr.
Website shortcut: type in mymasjid.ca/events to skip straight to this page.
How To Get Involved
“I would love to volunteer. How can I help?”
When it comes to jobs, specifically volunteer roles, most non-profits tend to have one of two problems. The first problem is when they’re actively looking for volunteers and no one wants to offer their help. The other problem is the exact opposite. There are times where members of the community are eager to help out but no opportunities are available. Quite the dilemma, eh?
With our new jobs page you can see all of the opportunities that are available from the AMA. That goes for both paid and volunteer positions. We have six different teams you can join: Youth, Dawah, Fundraising, Sisters, Social, and Marketing. Just keep an eye out on this page for any positions that become available in the future.
Website shortcut: type in mymasjid.ca/jobs to jump straight to this page.
But Wait…. There’s More
There’s a whole lot more to this website that hasn’t been explained in this blog post. There are a few hidden surprises and some pages may make you feel nostalgic.
I don’t plan on showing you everything because that would be boring. It’s up to you to explore it all for yourself. And when you’re done, feel free to leave your thoughts about what you like in the comments section below.
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