So, what can your church’s website do to improve? Here are our top recommendations:
Statement of Beliefs
The single most important feature of any church website is the statement of beliefs. This is especially important for non-denominational churches because prospective visitors won’t have a named entity to refer to while trying to discern what you believe.
Your website doesn’t need to be flashy or cool, it just needs to have a straight-forward beliefs statement because that’s the real reason people go to church (or at least it should be). Don’t try to be everything to everyone – just be you!
Tell people exactly what you believe without using lots of churchy lingo and veiled meanings. You can quote scripture if you’d like or link back to a denominational website, but clearly articulating what you believe is vital no matter how you choose to do it.
This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many churches forget to include the basic information that people need to know to attend. Include the church’s address (a map is nice as well), the service times, and any relevant information such as the current sermon series, worship music style, childcare options, dress code, etc.
Be sure to edit the website with changes to the usual schedule for holidays and special events as well. This will ensure that both regular attendees and new visitors are kept in the loop.
New Visitor Information
Look at your church through the eyes of new visitors and then include anything that will put them at ease when attending. Give directions to your church from well-known landmarks, provide parking information, and tell them where to enter your building (if it’s not obvious). In addition to those basic must-haves, you can also paint an honest picture of what visitors can expect when arriving and during the service as well.
Keeping a public event calendar lets prospective visitors know what types of things they can expect if they become regular attendees and it gives church members the information that they need to get involved. Include any events for men’s and women’s ministries, youth events, visiting missionaries, community events, and anything else that your church is a part of or hosts. Also, be sure to mention places where volunteers are needed so that people can help.
People want to know that they’ll be able to be a part of something besides the general church body. Include information about educational bible study groups, social small groups, and any other ministries that visitors and members can be a part of. Then be sure that you reiterate this information at your welcome center and in church bulletins to get people connected.
Everyone is different, which means that they’ll have different spiritual gifts as well as unique interests and passions. If your church participates in various outreach ministries to support things like feeding the local community, building homes, providing clean water, educating children, spreading the gospel abroad, or anything else, include images and information to demonstrate what’s important to you as a church.
Remember, the goal of your church website isn’t to portray your church as “the best church” or “a cool church” – it’s to tell your local community who you really are. Be open, be honest, and be vulnerable.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!