In order to answer the question above, you’ll need to take some time to really look at your website with new eyes. We can become so familiar with it that we don’t see what a new visitor may see. So, take a look and get a fresh perspective.
Your Website Makes a First Impression
Your website will be, in many cases, someone’s initial impression of your church. They will expect certain things if they visit, depending on how your website looks and what it portrays.
There are many church website designs out there today that are popular, from the flashy big sized slider graphics to the “grunge” look. You don’t see too many two-sidebar sites anymore, which is what used to be the norm. Times change.
If your church is very young oriented and modern in your approach, your website will look different than a more conservative church with an older congregation. Make the website fit who you are.
Different colors inspire different emotions, for example, reds and oranges tend to create excitement, while blue provokes a more calm, trusted feeling. When having your website designed, give some thought to the feelings you want to convey when someone comes to the site. Colors play a big role in this.
Using Real Images
We are seeing more of a trend to display pictures of actual people who go the church rather than using stock photos. So, if your congregation is mainly 40 – 60 somethings, don’t show all pictures of the youth group or of those in their 20-30’s. People are trying to get an idea of whether or not your church might be a good fit for them, and your website will be the first place they look.
Make Them Current
Showing lots of pictures of kids and kids’ church is only good if you have a good number of kids in the church. But if you’re showing pictures from five years ago and have since experienced a decline in the kids and kids’ programs, you’ll need to update your website. Keeping it current with both content and images will go a long way in avoiding disappointment from those who visit your church.
Showing people worshipping with stock photos can be misleading if it’s not what it’s like in reality. Make sure your photos (whether they are stock photos or ones from your church) accurately represent the personality of your church.
If you’re using images of people in a worship service from your church, make sure they are dressed as they normally would be on a Sunday morning. It can be very uncomfortable showing up at a new church in jeans if everyone else is dressed up. Again, make sure the pictures represent what someone will find when they come to your church.
Highlight What is Important
What is important to your church? Use the space on the homepage to emphasize what is a priority. If it’s the weekly sermons, make sure you include a link prominently from the homepage to the sermon archives. If your church is big on community events, tell about them on the homepage.
When having a website created, talk with your web designer so they are clear on the look/feel you want portrayed.
People will get an impression of your church from visiting your website so make sure it’s an accurate impression. Give them a good glimpse of what they’ll actually find when they visit in person.
By Laurie Neumann