The church website is becoming the hub of communication and the first impression for guests. It’s kind of important.
So how about your site: Do we need to lay hands on it and say a prayer?
Our Courageous Storytellers Membership Site is focusing on websites this month. There are all kinds of web-related resources, including a redesign planner, checklists, platform reviews, a roundup of the best WordPress themes for churches, advice on choosing the right host company, and more. (If you’re not a member, you should seriously consider joining. Every month we add new stuff and it just gets better.)
While Courageous Storytellers has loads of in-depth resources, we wanted to start simple. What are four simple things you can do to make your church website work? Never mind being awesome or amazing, let’s just focus on being solid.
1. Any Device
These days people browse websites from anywhere. They’re using phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers—sometimes even their TV. You need to make sure your website works on all these different devices. The common way to do this is called responsive design where your site stretches or shrinks to fit the available space.
You don’t need to understand the technology. But you do need to make sure your site works on any device.
2. Guest Friendly
When people want to visit a church one of the first things they do is pull up the website. So your site has to be guest friendly. You need to answer the common questions guests will have, not just speak to your tried-and-true longtime members.
Make sure you have a vibrant guest page that answers common questions:
- Service times.
- Directions, parking, and mass transit.
- What to expect: Do guests need to dress up, where do the kids go, how long is the service, etc.
A welcome video from your senior pastor would go a long way, as would a video giving the flavor of your service.
A website is nothing without content. You’ll likely have announcements and events on your site, but be sure to offer inspiration and not just information. A website can be a good place to repurpose content, but remember to actually repurpose it for the web and not just dump it online.
Instead of just sharing event details, tell a story about why someone should attend an event.
Instead of just posting a sermon, pull out some insights or ask some practical follow-up questions.
4. Easy to Update
The downfall of every church website is keeping it current. You can do everything else right and have an amazing website, but if you can’t update it, what’s the point? You need to have a system where the person in charge of the site can easily make changes, whether they’re doing something simple like adding new announcements or something more complicated like putting a new banner graphic on the homepage.
Most of the time the person making those changes is not a technical pro. So you have to keep it simple.
If your church website can handle those four things, you’re doing well. There are always other things to improve and you could spend loads more time on these four, but this is a great starting point.
Where ever you’re at with your website, be sure to check out this month’s resources from Courageous Storytellers to take your site to the next level.