What are the elements of the best church websites? You have probably seen sites that you would like to imitate because their message is clear, concise and attractively presented. Then you may have seen others that do not encourage you to stay on them. What’s the difference?
Good church websites start with a good design – attractive and easy to navigate around. There is no “right and wrong” design type – just one that looks great and that helps visitors find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
The church address should be displayed in a prominent place. You don’t want people to have to call to find out where you are located or hunt around on the website. Include the address on the homepage. In addition, you might even want to include it on every page in the footer section or have a tab in the navigation that goes to a page where the address is shown. Make it easy for people to come and visit your church.
Display the service times also in a prominent area. This can either be in the same place as the address or you can have a button on the homepage that goes to a page where services are listed. This may be a good option for churches who have multiple services.
Church websites would benefit from having a section that is tailored to the new visitor, which would tell them what they can expect when they come to the church. You may want to tell them how most people dress for a service, the approximate length of a service and the order of things that take place. While some surprises can be a good thing, when coming to a new church, most people want to have an idea of how things will go.
It’s a good idea to tell what the ministries are and give a calendar of events, so if someone wants to do more than come on Sunday (or if they can’t make it to Sunday service) they can easily see what the other options are.
A page telling about the staff or elders and pastor is a popular section, so you will want to be sure to include one. Show a picture and give a short bio for each person. It will help when someone visits your church – they’ll feel like they’ve already met you.
Mobile responsive sites are essential today with so many people using their phones to do internet searches. You want all the information on your website to show well on a smaller screen.
And it may seem obvious, but the best church websites are websites that can be found online. It’s not going to help if someone searches for a church in a particular city and your church can’t be found. When having a website designed, be sure the designer knows a little about seo (search engine optimization) so they can incorporate that into the design.
And while all the above information is important to those looking to come and visit your church, don’t forget about your faithful members and attendees. Doing some things on the website to connect with them should be a priority. Writing a regular engaging blog will help you connect with your congregation during the week. Posting sermon audios/ will help those that would like to be there but can’t be for some reason stay connected and be spiritually fed.
The best church websites don’t just happen – they need to be planned. Work with a designer who has knowledge of what things are important and will take time when working with you.
By Laurie Neumann