Now more than ever, prospective guests visit a church online long before they set foot in its building. Most church leaders have wised up to the importance of having a website for this very reason, but they often don’t consider that a poor web presence may be worse than none at all.
As with most digital platforms, websites take time, skill, and money to render the best possible representation of your church. Remember, your church’s website is often a guest’s first impression of your church. While your church may offer excellent small groups, service opportunities, and teachings that engage and grow members, if your website doesn’t display this for new guests, they’ll never really know your church. In short, ministering to guests means investing time into a digital presence that’s accurate and depicts the heart and mission of your church family.
It’s not just potential guests that suffer from a poor church website, however; members looking to grow and connect outside the church’s walls may find themselves failing to grow and unable to engage. Think of your website as a ministry to current members, with opportunities to provide an event calendar, online resources for further spiritual growth, and ways to sign up for conferences, small groups, and service efforts your church is offering. Neglecting your church’s website neglects opportunities to minister to members, both new and old.
Where should you start improving your website?
- Keep things simple. Don’t bog your website down with too much information and clutter. Visitors are looking for clear, succinct information about your church’s location, events, service times, and opportunities to connect. No need to go crazy with sound, crazy animation, or anything else you’re using to make your website exciting. Stick with clear, quality content that presents itself in a clean, organized way.
- Update information regularly. If you’re looking to gain visitors and engage members, out-of-date information on your website is a sure way to miss the mark. Lack of time available to update your website shouldn’t be an excuse here; find someone to help your website continue to be a helpful, accurate resource for the community.
- Go responsive. If time is a concern, choosing a responsive website is a way to save time and effort for whoever manages your website’s content. Because a responsive website is designed as one website that works on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, you only have to keep track of one website. Not only that, but responsive designs are clean and easy to read regardless of the viewing device.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for volunteers. Time and money are two of the biggest reasons churches give for having poor websites. Asking for volunteers from your church body can be a great way to allow someone to use the gifts God’s given them to develop and manage your website. Choose a reasonably priced content management system for your website and someone who has a heart for serving and an eye for what a clean, easy-to-navigate website looks like.
After you’ve created clear, simple content for you church’s website, partnering with a company who offers a content management system can be a cost effective way to make managing and updating your website easy. twenty:28, for example, offers a content management system for churches, ministries and nonprofits that makes creating and maintaining a solid church website simple. Built with the non-technical person in mind, churches that can’t afford to hire someone fulltime to develop a website can still have a professional digital presence.
Lack of resources no longer has to hold churches back from representing themselves digitally. By cleaning up a cluttered website and investing in keeping it current and relevant, churches can serve the body of Christ in deeper ways than previously possible.