I will bet you a Dr. Pepper that I spend more time on church websites than you do. And I’ve seen it all. There is a great range of styles and designs that churches use.
But regardless of style, here is a list of the top ten essentials that your church website needs to remain relevant, inviting, and awesome.
10. Photos Of People
If someone has never been to your church, the thing that causes the most anxiety about that first-time visit is, “What do I wear?” Seriously! Think about it. If they’ve never walked through the doors, they don’t know if you all wear a suit and tie or t-shirts and jeans. Have some photos of smiling church members in their Sunday attire.
9. Good Graphic Design
I’ve said this before, but your website is your stained glass. Make it beautiful. Incorporate your vision and personality into your branding. Let your branding and design cleanly point visitors to the information they are looking for and allow them to experience your church through your website.
8. Easy Navigation
This goes hand-in-hand with graphic design, but make sure your website flows in a clear and simple manner. Have the navigation make sense and the information easy to find.
7. Online Connection – Social Media
Provide a way for visitors and members to connect to the church, ministries, and pastors online. Include links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and wherever else you have an online presence. If you don’t know what these things are or don’t feel confident enough to use them, ask your volunteer base for help. You most likely have someone in your church body that can help you.
6. Ministry Info
Parents want to know how well their kids will be taken care of while they are in a church service. Include information on your Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, and other large ministries at your church. You can include as many ministries as you’d like, but make sure it is clean and neatly organized.
5. Current Content
Visitors want to know what you’ve been up to, what you are preaching about, and what your worship experience is like. They don’t want to know what it was like 3 years ago. Members who missed out last weekend also want to hear what was preached about. Having current content on your site allows your church to remain fresh and inviting.
4. Staff Photos And Bios
More smiling faces! This is a starting point for visitors building relationships with your staff. Allowing outsiders to know who you are on an individual level humanizes your church. Things that you might want to include: a good photo, a short bio with family info and church history, social media links, contact information, and a fun fact.
3. What You’re About
This could include a doctrinal statement, your mission, vision, and/or values, or it could just be a statement such as: “What Matters to Us is…” Included in this should be an invitation to join in with what you are doing. People want to be a part of something great. Invite them in!
2. Meeting Times
Now we’re getting down to specifics. Visitors are wondering, “When do I show up?” Do you have services with different styles? Is there an informal time where visitors can talk to a pastor or hear about the church? Visitors (and even members) need to know when and where they should arrive for services, Sunday School, meetings, etc.
1. Your Location And Contact info
I’m not even joking. There are church websites that don’t have this information, or they don’t have it on the home page and easy to find. This is the most essential information for your church website along with your church name. Make your address extremely easy to find. You may want to have a map on the website as well.