7 Things Your Church Website Must Have
Building a website and making sure everything is on it can be complex and time consuming. There are so many different events, ministries, and information to make sure that are on your website, that too often we leave off or bypass the most important things. Take your church website to the next level by making sure it includes these seven things…
1. It should have the basics.
The majority of people visiting your church website are looking for one of four things. Your service times, directions, how to contact you or to learn something about you. Be sure to make these four things easy to find.
Contact: Make it easy for people to know how to contact you. I suggest having the church’s address, phone number, and generic e-mail in the footer of every page. That way it’s easy for visitors to figure out quickly how to get in touch with someone.
Service Times: Let people know when and where you meet. Give them an entry point. I wouldn’t put every single church activity, program, or event on there. It’s best to keep it simple. (Just make sure you keep the schedule up-to-date.)
Directions: Use Google to make it easy for someone to figure out where you are located. Most people won’t recognize where in the world your street address is until they copy/paste it into a maps feature online. Why not do this for them?
About Us: People visit your website because they want to learn more about you.
What are you about? How did your church start? Who goes to your church? What should visitors expect when they walk in the door? These are some initial questions that could stir a conversation on what you want to have on your About Us page. Some of this can be a big eye-opener for visitors as they may have seen your church around town, but never knew who you were or your history.
2. It should have updated content.
If someone visits your page and it has not been updated in 6 months or even worse, it hasn’t been updated since 2009, then they will make assumptions about how your church really is. They don’t visit your website to find out about events that happened months ago. Care enough about your church website to make sure all your dates and events are up to date. It will have an impact on guests visiting your sight.
3. It should make a great first impression.
When someone lands on your website, they’re only going to be there for 10 seconds or less on average. You’ve got a very short amount of time to prove to them that they should stay and to make a great first impression. Once that first impression is made, positive or negative, it’s going to take a ton of additional experiences with your brand to undo that.
So, if you make a great first impression, you’re going to have to do a lot of bad to undo that. On the flip side, if you make a bad first impression, you’re going to have to do a lot to undo that as well. You may not even get the opportunity.
Most people are making a decision on whether to visit your church based solely off your church website. I know that may sound harsh but that is what is happening. It does not matter how good your worship band is, how engaging your pastor is or how friendly and welcoming your church is, if you don’t make a good first impression. So grab a Millennial and get some honest feed back.
4. It should be mobile friendly.
This one could be lumped up with my previous point but I believe it deserves to be considered individually. Go ahead and pull out your phone and go to your church website and see if it is mobile friendly. Every month at least 85% of our church website (discoverthebridge.com) traffic is from a mobile phone. Let that sink in. If your church website is not mobile friendly you are going to lose around 85% of your traffic. Capitalize on who is visiting your church website and make sure it is mobile friendly.
5. It should have links to your social media profiles.
Make sure your links are in a prominent place and easy for guests to just hit follow. They may only visit your church website once or twice, but they are on social media every day. In fact, the average person spends around 4 hours a week on social media. Having your social media link in prominent places allows you to continue the conversation with them for a long time to come. Just make sure your church has an active social media.
6. It should rank well in search engines.
This is an area that many people building church websites themselves struggle with. Many people building church websites do not have this particular expertise. Perhaps you have heard someone say, “If a church doesn’t have a website in this day and age, it’s as if the church doesn’t exist.” I would take it a step further, if your church does not rank well on Google then your church does not exist.
Just because you have a church website does not mean your church shows up. Go ahead and Google churches in (your town’s name) and see where you rank. Or better yet head over to kwfinder.com and do it. It will give you a true representative as to where or if you rank.
7. It should serve your congregation well.
When someone at your church wants to know what is going on they should be able to get information on your church website. They should be able to sign up for events and ministries and they should be able to find the information that they need and are looking for easily. They do not need to be wowed. They need to be served well.
At The Bridge we choose to use our website as our front door for guest. However, we use what we call a hub for our regular attenders. For an example take a look at tb.church. Whether you do something like this or include it on your home page just be sure to serve them well.
There are many other things we could talk about when it comes to essentials for your church website. However, these seven are a good place to start. So, head over to your website and see if you have the essentials covered!