Article by Adam Johannes
No one is safe from the digital takeover. Not even God himself. Churches are increasingly turning to the World Wide Web as a way to engage with their community.
While there are some excellent websites for churches out there. It can be tough for those in charge of God's house to know how to handle this powerful tool effectively, with over 60% of religious institutions admitting they do not feel like their online presence packs enough of a punch.
If you're reading this I'll assume you're included in that statistic. So, what characteristics do the great church websites have that yours doesn't?
A winning design
Imagine this. You've just moved to a new area. You're looking for your new place of worship. What's the first thing you do? Head out to scour the streets? Or turn to your trusty friend 'Google'?
For many, the website will be the first contact they have with your church. And as we all know, first impressions are everything.
The best church website design is pleasing to the eye, and most importantly, easy to navigate. Both time and attention spans are short. Make sure the good stuff (like location and service times) is easily accessible throughout the site.
Firm ties to the ideals of the church
Does your church have a strong vision? Does your website communicate that vision clearly?
The answer to these questions should tell you what sets your church apart. The key to engaging with existing or potential members of your congregation is to show them that.
The mission of your church should be at the forefront of your website. It's this, not the informative stuff that will touch visitors and draw them in.
A welcoming attitude to visitors
With most newcomers to any church coming from the web, it's important that your site gives off a message that says 'welcome' those that stumble across it.
Try having a clearly marked section of your site answering all of the questions potential newbies might want answers to. 'Do you have parking?' For example.
Up to date information
If the service times change. Update the website. If you're holding an event. Update the website. Whatever it is that's new, make sure you keep your site current.
If you neglect to do so, not only can you end up accidentally misinforming people, but you give the impression that you don't care enough to tell them what's going on. Not a very welcoming image right?
A mobile-friendly design
People are using their phones to surf the web more and more. In our busy world, everyone is browsing while on the go.
Many sites are already compatible with mobile devices. If yours isn't it will take a hit. You may create the greatest of all great church websites, but if it doesn't work for half of the internet users then all that effort is worthless.
Make sure your church website design is mobile-friendly!
Of course, there are other things that the top websites for churches do that add to their success, but these tips make for some of the most important.