How to make your church website better blah blah.Yeah Yeah, you have read something like this before.
You may be saying to yourself, why should I read another post like this? Well, if your church website is getting you great results then perhaps you do not need to read this post. I would say that if you are Mr great website already, read on so you can pat yourself on the back. Affirm that you going in the right direction!
Almost every church has a website now. I rarely come across a church without one these days. Still, I do come across a lot of bad church websites, though. I know they are bad based on several factors that I see on these very sad sites. It is clear to me these sites are not yielding great results for these churches. If you have one of these, I do not even need to look at your website analytics to know you are not getting good results.
What is the number one result you should desire to have with your church website? I bet you guessed it, “attract more first-time guests!”
Attracting more first-time guests should be your number one goal! 85% to 90% of people will hit your website first before they visit in person for the first time. Yes, church members still rely upon your church website still. Members will use it for communication, but they also follow you on social media more now too. Members are of course are more “in the know” about your events compared to potential or newer members as well.
The main goal is to “attract more visitors.” So then most of what you do with you church website should be centered around that goal right?
There are a lot of things you can do and should do with your church website to get great results. We, of course, cannot address all these things right now. Let’s be honest, it is very hard to carry out on your own all of the things on your church website you need to get great results.
You do want results, though! Another way to say this is that “You want to make a strong impact with your church website.”
If there were only 3 things you can do now to make a strong impact with your church website it should be these below. These 3 things are based on the feedback we hear from churches seeing results from their sites! If you do your homework too you will find that these are the “right now” elements in the church web world.
1. Make sure your Church Website tells your Story.
What is your story? Every church has one. Past, Present, and where they would like to be going in the future. We are not talking about writing a novel on your site! We all know that would create a hot mess on your church website. Your church’s story is conveyed best now online with authentic photography. You also need good messaging, and to tell your story within the content your church website. It isn’t all that hard to find a good looking template out there or attractive colors.
I have come across many church websites that look good visually now. They have decent graphic elements too. Yet, a lot of these do not tell me anything about that church within a short amount of time after I get to the home page.
You need to promote a clear identity. Think of going deeper than we are just a church that “loves God and people.” That is great if truly do, but you know what your church is more than that! Is there feedback you are receiving from first-time guests or newer members about your church or their experience there? I hope you are asking for that feedback too!
Are you known in your community or city for something unique? Would someone say, “oh yeah, that is the church that does this or that.” The point is to think and go deeper. Put yourself in the mind of someone unchurched or seeking a church as much as possible.
What would you find compelling if you were on a church website?
2. Be sure and take a “mobile first” approach.
Everyone pretty much knows they need a “mobile friendly approach” these days. What is a “mobile first approach” though?
First, you need to make sure your church website is “mobile responsive.” This means that not only should your website be able to be seen on a mobile device, but it should also “respond” to any device it is being pulled up from too. Whether that is an android phone, iPhone, or tablet.
Think of it this way, your church website should “transform” from a desktop version and resize itself on one of these devices.
I have seen some of the cheap templates out there that have somewhat of a “mobile version” of a site. This is good but it is not true responsive design. Google is now giving precedence to mobile responsive websites. They are flagging unresponsive sites hence moving them lower in the searches. Trust me, you want to have favor google! You want to do all you can to come up as one of the first churches when someone is doing a search for one.
Then, after you have a responsive site the focus should be the “user experience” on your church website. Over half of all browsing is happening on mobile devices now. People are even less patient when browsing from a phone. You need to get them engaged and get them to their content of interest quickly.
Mobile users are also used to scrolling down now too. They do this on facebook, twitter, and others. Carrying out this scrolling effect on your church website design is a very good idea. Then, as they are scrolling down; make sure they get the content they are interested in quickly so they are more inclined to go further into your site.
3. Ensure your church website content evokes a response.
There is a saying in the web world that content is king. There are many reasons for this. But, let’s stick to the main goal we are talking about here: Content that will help attract a first-time guest better!
As a potential first-time guest is looking over your site, do you think they want to be greeted with a lengthy amount of text? They will more than likely will not even take the time to read lengthy text. They probably do not even care about a lot of that content too.
You need to have brief content visible right away from the home page. You also need links that can be easily accessed. These links need to be clearly understood by a potential first-time guest as well.
This is mainly done now with short compelling blurbs with a “call to action.” This takes them further into more expanded content or a landing page if necessary. “Calls to action” are important! Good pastors ask for a response after a sermon. A good church member should invite and ask someone to come to church right? Jesus often gave calls to action. Need I say more?
Again, what is compelling about your church story you are telling? Once they click on that call to action button what do you want them to do next? Is it to check in their child to children’s church? Is it to fill out a form to volunteer after they see great storytelling about the ways people can serve at your church?
I hope this was insightful to you. Once again, good for you if you are doing these things already. If you are not doing these things well or at all for that matter, you should get right on this right away! Let’s start making a bigger impact with your church website. These things can be hard to do without professional help and expertise also. We are here to help you at REACHRIGHT. Let us know if you need help today! By the way, that was a “call to action” I just gave you.
Thanks for the valuable information. I hope to get in touch with my church’s IT department and get help from you.
Glad it was helpful Helmut! We would love to help your church further. Reach back out to us after you get with your IT team and we will set up a time to chat!
Awesome post, Ian. I find that so many churches don’t have calls to action on their site. One thing I try to communicate is that ever page needs to have a specific purpose for being there and a specific goal.
Thanks Thomas. Great points and I completely agree.