Most of us know it is essential to have a great church website. We often tend to forget about what a useful church website needs to include. This is why we often repeat the same mistakes you probably saw other churches make on their sites.
Discover the biggest mistakes we make on our church website and how you can fix them to make your site more useful.
1. Talking too much about us
Think about people who visit your church website. There is something that made them Google your church or sparked some interest when they noticed your social media profile. They decided to find out more for a reason.
Do you think they hope there is more to their life? Is there a chance they are looking for meaning and try to make sense of what is going on around them? Then they land on your church website, and all they see is about the church. We are this, and we are that we do all kinds of things.
Our website visitors do not need to know all about us the moment they visit our church website. They usually have some problems they try to solve in their lives. Instead of telling them about you, try to show them how you can become a part of the solution.
2. Trying to achieve too much
Most of our churches have so much going on. And everything we do feels essential (well, it probably is in most cases). What happens is we try to put everything we think is crucial on the homepage of our church website and then we wonder why the site doesn’t help. Because it is too much!
How do you feel when you visit a website, try to find something specific, and you need to spend ten seconds looking for it. You click away. You don’t have time and try another website. Some so many people visit your website for the first time, want to visit and then they can’t easily find your address, directions, what to expect on Sunday.
If new visitors are the primary user group, you want to serve with your church website make sure the communication is all about them and how they can come a be a part of your Sunday celebration.
3. Not telling real-life stories
Have you ever made a purchase when somebody recommended a product? Sometimes those recommendations are indirect. Imagine somebody sharing a story of how their health got all better when they visited a new dietician. And you feel you need to do something about how you eat. You are way more likely to visit that specialist because somebody shared a story. In that particular case, it’s a true story from a few weeks ago. And I couldn’t be more happy about reading the story and checking out the person myself to find out how my eating habits can change.
Every person in your church has a story of how their life changed because they met Jesus and got connected with you. Share those stories on your website. Use pictures show real people, with real struggles who experienced a transformation. That will build trust and anticipation in your church website visitors.
4. Hiding your staff
People connect with people and not organizations. Make sure your About page isn’t only about your church in general. We often tend to focus too much about our vision and mission, but new people who are deciding if they want to visit us or not aren’t necessarily interested in those.
Your visitors would like to know who is behind the brand. Show people who are on stuff and share their stories. You can include both professional and personal information. Make sure the amount of text in manageable. Include professional looking photos. That will make extra connections. Potential new visitors will be interested in finding out more about the person who will preach on Sunday when they come but also who is responsible for their kids’ church experience. Don’t make your lead pastor the only person people can learn about on your church website.
5. No blog
For most of our church website, the only dynamic content that is regularly updated is the messages section. And it is an essential part of our online presence so that people can listen to what we talk about on Sundays and grow in their relationship with God.
Still, there is so much more that can be done which we can achieve through a blog. People want to know more about what your church stands for and that you have an option they can trust. You show how you care about your local community by articles that promote your city, the best places you can visit, the restaurants you recommend after church on Sunday.
Not only will a blog help people find out more about who your church is but it will also be a great source of extra inbound traffic. Many people might be surprised that the information they were looking for about your area can be found on a church website. Then, they might be interested in finding out more.
6. No evaluation
When we build a church website, we want to know how many people visit it. But there is so much more we can measure with easily accessible analytics tools.
If you use Google Analytics, make sure to regularly track what the most visited pages are and how people find them. For the visitors who come through organic search, it might be a bit tricky to check the exact keywords they were searching. You can still find the pages people from Google visit first to give you an idea of what people look for. This a great piece of information that will help you make more informed decisions when you get to rebuild your website or plan content you will share.
Most of the improvements for the mistakes listed in this article aren’t too time-consuming. When you apply them and regularly evaluate how your church website does you will see the results. Visitors will engage more with your website and decide to show up on Sunday. Some of the ideas will also improve your SEO which means more traffic to your church website.