Online awareness is the essential foundation for establishing a presence in your community, building relationships, and connecting with people. A church’s website serves as the key cornerstone to building awareness and helping people become familiar with your church.
After my son graduated from college, secured a good engineering job, and moved to a new city, I asked him about his quest to find a new church. His first answer was, “I googled ‘churches near me.’ Then I went to their website.” It was interesting to learn that social media was not even a consideration for him. Before he put a church on his shortlist, he wanted to find out more about their pastor and what they believed, and he wanted to watch a service.
Consider your website your church’s front porch. It is where people will look inside the church, ask questions and determine if they are going to enter.
With this in mind, church websites should be designed for the visitor. Regular attenders may use your website to give online and find information about events, etc. But your primary website audience is your first-time guests.
So what information should be included on a basic church website?
1. Service Times and Location
I am constantly amazed at how many church websites leave off this critical information. “What time do you meet?” and “What is your address?” are the first questions a visitor will ask. This information should be front and center on your homepage.
Most visitors want to know what you believe and value before they consider becoming a part of your church family. This information should be easy to find in a menu system or call to action.
3. Pastoral Team
People are curious about who will be speaking into their life and leading their church. Providing a short pastoral bio helps people get to know you, learn about your life experiences, and connect with you before they attend a service.
Providing messages on your website gives people the opportunity to know what to expect when they attend your service. This helps answer simple questions like, “How should I dress? What will worship be like? Do the messages connect with me?”
5. Contact Information
This sounds basic, but too often this information is hard to find on church websites. People need an easy way to contact you if they have any questions.
This can be facilitated through a simple contact form on your website, social media links, a chatbot, or providing the church email address. Regardless of the method, it is important that you have a way for people to contact you and receive a response quickly.
Your church may also want to consider a Plan Your Visit page which provides information about children’s ministry and what to expect when you arrive. Text in Church provides an excellent workflow that connects people to a host team member upon arrival with text messages.
Other important aspects to an effective church website include:
- Ways to Connect – provide general information about the ministries your church provides
- Next Steps – define the process your church has established to help new believers grow in Christ
- Giving – there are several church giving options described in this article.
The wonderful thing about websites is that they are easily customized to suit your church’s needs. If you have any questions, our team is ready to help you get started with a site that will engage and connect with new guests.
Once you get your website is launched, make sure you hop on over to Google My Business to establish a solid Google presence!