A church's website is more than a simple place to hold information. It can be the single place people visit to decide whether or not to walk through your front doors. Seem too far out there? Research shows 37% of Americans will search for church information online before deciding to attend a service. If you just include young adults, that number increases to 59%. This statistic alone should encourage you to have a top-notch website that is savvy enough to catch the eye of any onlooker and spark an interest to join your church.
A savvy site not only encourages people to enter your doors, it also creates credibility. A well designed website will tell people you have your life together, even if you are scrambling behind the scenes. A website that isn’t designed well says your church may be sketchy and not really a church at all. Would you attend a church you feel uneasy about? Absolutely not. There are enough crazies in this world, so don’t be one of them with your website design.
So now that you know about the importance of a good design, it’s time to dive into a few specifics that will spruce up your website to make it better looking and more credible.
Simplify Your Home Page
Imagine walking into the front doors of a church and immediately someone starts telling you all about the theological beliefs of the church, the pastor’s resume, the pastor’s family, all the activities the current church members are doing in the community, and all the different ways you can get involved starting tomorrow. If you have all this information thrown at you before you even have your first cup of coffee, you’ll just turn around and walk right back to your car.
This same principle can be used for your website design. When someone comes to your website for the first time, welcome them with a picture that shows the culture of your church. Create a call-to-action button that allows visitors to introduce themselves before going too far. Create seven navigation tabs max at the top that lead people to the different information they need to access rather than having it all on the homepage. Marie Kondo your information so have all familiar information together and find creative ways to present the information in a simple format. Digging for information is never successful.
Add Inclusive Language
Your church lingo is common to your church goers, but those who are not as familiar with the church will be completely lost. Make sure you’re using clear, concise language. If you call your church small groups “Flocks” and have a navigation tab labeled “Flocks,” a non-church goer may not understand and completely miss out on the fact you have small groups for people to attend. What if you labeled it Small Groups and then when people click on it they can see what these groups are called and why you call them that. It’s better to have someone understand what you are talking about rather than have them assume your church raises huge flocks of birds behind the scenes.
If you don’t know what may be misleading, recruit a couple of people to act as newbies to your church website. Ask them to make a list of anything that may be misleading and make a note to tweak it so everyone can easily gather whatever information they need.
Remember Your Members
Not only do new people go to your church website, but also current church members. Making phone calls to the church to find out event dates, locations, and other key information is decreasing among all churches. People are wanting to go to the website and gather as much information as they can. Creating a calendar of events and a clear contact page filled with phone numbers and emails will help people access what they need to know and when.
Make it Mobile-Friendly
Since fewer and fewer people are making phone calls to the church, that means they desire this information digitally. One way they can access it digitally is through their phone. When designing your website, make sure it appears as you desire it to on a mobile device or a tablet alongside a computer screen. It is important to make sure all information easily accessible no matter what device you are using.
Bonus: All Clover websites are mobile friendly!!!
Show Off Your Culture
Use your website design to show off the culture of your church. Are you a church that prides themselves in music? Make it spunky with visuals that speak to that strength. Do you pride yourselves in being a church of prayer? Perhaps tone down the colors and make your website a place of peace. Whatever your culture is, use your website to highlight all these areas.
Whether someone is on your home page or your staff page, make the look and feel consistent. If you start writing one page in second person on your website, make sure the entire website is in second person. Use the branding guide from your church to help empower the design. Stick with the same color scheme and fonts throughout all the layouts. You want to make sure that no matter what page of your website someone may find themselves, they always know where they are based off the look and feel of the website.
Creating a well designed website doesn’t happen in one day. Spend a few days thinking, brainstorming and tweaking ideas that pop into your head. If you cannot think of ways to simplify something, try asking a fellow co-worker for help. Use all the resources you have to make your website the best possible website. With all the tools at your fingertips, your church is one step away from having an amazing and powerful website.