7 Tips for a Game-Changing Church Website
It’s never been easier to create a website. However, if you’re looking for a site that stands out from the crowd and delivers your message with clarity, it takes more than just a basic template. Creating an effective church website requires careful thought about who your audience is and what they need to know about you. After building sites for churches of all sizes and stages of growth, here are my seven church website tips that are sure to be a game changer!
1. Know Your Audience
Problem: So many churches forget who they’re talking to. GUESTS. If you don’t know your community, their backgrounds, and what’s important to them – now is a great time to find that out.
The best church websites are aimed at connecting with guests. Why? Because it creates a clear and intentional goal. For those already connected with your church, you have various other ways to communicate and connect with them (email, social media, in-person services, small groups, text messaging, etc.).
- Talk like your audience. Answer their questions (FAQ)
- Show your audience. Words matter. Great pictures matter even more. Photos are processed in fractions of seconds and convey a treasure trove of information about your church.
- Your audience is digital. People are searching for a church. Be found by your audience. So many churches are underestimating this. They don’t know what they don’t know. A beautiful, expensive website with lousy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will get buried by Google. If you’re buried, you can’t be found.
2. Use the Right Language
Problem: Does your website use church lingo (example: narthex) or insider language (Greek names, names of buildings, for example, or unclear ministry names), acronyms.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Great copywriting is hugely important.
Are you verbose and losing people who have to scroll and read a lot on a mobile device?
Are you speaking to spiritual seekers as you would to a mature believer?
Where appropriate, bridge the language gap. (ex “Kainos – our ministry to young adults)
3. Answers “why should I care”>
Problem: Every message should have a purpose connected to a bigger strategy. If you can’t connect with the “why” then why would they connect with you?
The easiest solution to this is a straightforward one – ask yourself “why should I care, why is it there, and where am I going?”
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4. Have a clear action plan
Problem: A lot of church websites ironically don’t begin with the end in mind. It becomes a repository of cluttered information and updates that loses the focus of engaging the visitor.
Your goal is to remove friction and barriers to entry for a potential guest. Spiritual goals and website goals are the same – to convert people. In the case of a guest-friendly church website, the idea is to have a strategic plan that funnels people towards engaging with or service (be that in person or online).
Once you have that goal, you need to reinforce your call to action frequently, so it is in front of the user when they are ready to take action.
5. Know your strengths
Problem: Much like how many churches handle announcements, not every ministry carries the same weight. Similarly, don’t go dumping everything on the homepage of your website.
Do you have a particular ministry area that is unique and thriving? Figure out how to weave it into the story that you’re telling a guest.
Authenticity wins. Know your strengths and communicate them clearly. Whoever you are as a church – own it. What’s important for a growing church is not necessarily flashy and the latest and greatest –it’s reaching the next generation in meaningful ways. That can look different for each church. If there’s something you’re doing really well – don’t be afraid to add fuel to that fire.
6. Stories = Social Proof
Problem: We’ve created a “flyer”, not a “fix”. People are looking for something – you need to speak to that void in their life. Testimonials amplify that message.
Amazon makes billions of dollars because of social proof – the opinion of others who have used the product or interacted with the organization. We trust the opinions of strangers for all kinds of decisions these days.
Frankly, the church is no different. Pastors know the power of a personal invitation – social proof is an extension of that, in a digital story form. Those stories help hook and connect. They help somebody see themselves in the seat of someone that’s benefiting from being connected to your church.
7. Connect with guests
Problem: This is where we see many churches dropping the ball and it often goes back to not having a plan or recognizing guest needs.
Are you being proactive in using your website as a tool for connecting with a guest before they ever attend a service? You should. Text in Church provides a great solution but there are a number of ways to do it. Plan your visit (answer the “why”!) is a tool to connect with visitors and give a personal touch.
Your website serves as the hub of your digital presence and a key part of your ministry. It can either help drive your ministry forward – or drive people away. With these church website tips in mind, you can take steps to better reach, engage, and retain more people through better communication.
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