When is the last time you looked at your church's website?
If you have to think for more than a three count, then keep reading. Because here are 7 critical elements that your website might be missing.
1. Simple Design
Most church websites look like Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Way too much noise and senseless clutter. What is the most important thing you want to say to someone who stumbles upon your site? Say that to them and leave everything else off your home page.
2. Clear Next Step
Where do you want people to go once they are on your home page? Create a clear link to that part of your site. Better than leaving them to look around themselves and miss something important.
3. Easy Ways To Give and Listen
From your home page, can I give online or listen to a message in two clicks of a mouse or less? Anything more than that and you'd be better off just telling me that you don't want my money or want me to hear your message.
4. Obvious Directions To Your Gathering
Anyone visiting your home page should know where you meet and when you meet for gathered worship. Again, the principle is creating a site for people who know nothing about your church.
5. Contact Information For An Actual Person
If a stranger wanted more information about your church, is it obvious where they go to on your site to ask their question? And if they are sending it to an info@ or office@ email address, will their email go to an actual person or put into the church equivalent of a spam filter.
I would even take this one step further and provide email addresses for every leader you list on your website. Not only does it make it easy for people to find your leaders, it also communicates that you are accessible (even if an email goes to an administrative assistant first).
6. Current Information
You would be surprised by how many churches still have info in their news and updates sections from 2013. Yeah, 2013. People, it is 2015. Someone in your church has to handle updating calendars, announcements and any other time-sensitive information on your site.
7. Mobile Optimization
Pull up your church's website on your smartphone. Does it look like the website was designed to be displayed on your phone? Almost 50% of the page views on your site take place on mobile devices. Makes sure the site is optimized for smaller screens.
Do The Next Right Thing
Pull up your church's website. Take 10 minutes to walk through this checklist. Send any necessary corrections to the person(s) responsible for your site.
Question of the Day
Was your website designed with church insiders in mind, or was it build out for people who don't know anything about your church? Leave your answer in the comments section below.
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PS - Thanks to Aaron Slaten, pastor of discipleship at Christ Community Church in Athens GA, for his research on this.