Are visitors finding what they’re looking for on your church website?
The purpose of your church website is to provide information. If essential content does not exist or is hard to find, your church website is failing.
I’ve encountered church websites that do not include location, directions, worship times or contact info. — and I’m talking about all that missing on the same single website! Meredith Gould (Comment)
Here is a list of critical content that church websites often miss. Use it to identify and fill gaps in your church website content. You can help regular attenders and, more importantly, encourage newcomers to step through your doors for the very first time.
Who Visits Your Church Website
Most who visit your church website can be placed into one of two groups.
- People who attend your church
- People who might attend your church
Your goal should be to provide adequate information to both groups. Failing to do this can mean inconvenience for regular attenders and the loss of an unknown number of people who otherwise would have made their first visit.
Essential Church Website Content
The point of this article is to help you identify what content your church website must have that it currently does not. There is plenty more you can include but this content is critical.
People usually want to attend a church nearby. Take as many of these measures as necessary to make it easy for visitors to find your full address in just a few seconds.
- Show your address on every page (footer or header)
- Show your address on your homepage
- Create a page with your address, directions and map
- Link to this page from your menu and homepage
If the visitor can find your church but doesn’t know when you meet, they probably won’t show up. Implement enough of these ideas for the visitor to find service times in a matter of seconds.
- Create a page with service information
- Link to this page from your menu and homepage
- Show times directly on your homepage or in your header
You may want to show your location and service times on the same page. If you use separate pages, link to them from each other.
People want to know what your church is about before visiting. Here are some suggestions for an introduction.
- Share basics like where you are (link to a Location page)
- Tell who your pastor is (link to his bio)
- Explain your purpose (what’s important to your church)
- Provide a brief history of your church
- If you’re part of a denomination, say it
- Show a photo or two, inside or out
Also give visitors an idea of what to expect and tell them what you believe. You may want to make separate pages for these. Be sure to link to them from your About Us page for easy navigation.
What to Expect
A page like this can be very helpful because it is an opportunity to make newcomers comfortable enough to make their first visit.
- What are your services like?
- How long are they?
- What is your style of worship?
- What is typical attire?
- Is child care available? (don’t overlook the importance of this)
You may want to produce a short welcome video. Let your pastor say a word and/or give a quick Sunday morning tour so people can actually see what they’ll be entering into.
What We Believe
Your statement of faith will be important to Christians new to your area. List out your doctrinal beliefs in a way that is plainly written. Most people are not theologians and they shouldn’t have to be to learn what you believe.
So far most of the content being urged is for people who might attend your church. Staff profiles are for both newcomers and regular attenders. They give newcomers a feel for who’s there. For regular attenders, it’s a handy source for individual contact information.
- List ministerial staff at the very least
- Provide a short biography with photo
- Don’t forget to state the person’s position
- Publish contact information (phone, email, social media)
I ran across an article that cited research finding one of the three most visited parts of a church website to be Ministries. Be sure to provide enough information about each of your ministries and make the content easy to find. A dropdown menu can be handy for organizing links to ministry pages.
Bulletins are not as useful as they once were. A good percentage are not taken home or looked at. We’re becoming more and more digital with the passing of each year. The go to source for information these days is the Internet, so publish your events on your website. Be sure to include location and times.
Put your sermons online. This may mean text (as a full transcript or condensed version), audio or video — or all three. There are several reasons I consider this essential.
- Potential visitors can listen in before they decide to attend
- Regular attenders can listen to sermons from services they missed
- Your church can reach people anywhere in the world
Make sure it’s easy for your church website visitors to contact you. All of this information should be readily available on your website on one or more pages and possibly in your header or footer.
- Full address
- Phone number
- Email address or contact form
- Individual staff contacts
- Social media links
Practical Content Tips
- Be brief. People don’t read websites like books. Provide essential content but don’t overwhelm.
- Keep content current. Outdated information is misleading at worst and gives a bad impression at best.
- Make finding things easy. Link every bit of content listed above from your main menu and…
- Cross-link related pages for easy navigation (e.g. link to What to Expect from About Us)
Time to Fill Those Gaps
My favorite thing to hear from churches using our church WordPress themes is that somebody found them via their website. I hope you are hearing that too and even more so after filling any gaps in your church website content.
If updating your website is not easy or if it does not support things like sermons, events, staff or maps, take a look at our WordPress themes. They’re made specifically for churches (How it Works).
Did you discover an opportunity to improve your church website content?
Is there any other content that you consider absolutely essential for very church website?