Back to Basics: Church Websites 101
COVID-19 has brought many new—shall we say—"opportunities" for learning to church leaders and church members alike. Think about all the live streamed worship, Zoom Bible study, online giving, and drive-thru events this year. We have all had to learn new ways to do the church's work, but the actual work hasn't changed. We must continue to make sure we have the basics covered when it comes to church communications. This "Back to Basics" series is a review of how you can effectively and efficiently communicate with your church and community—starting with your website.
Let's start with a quick overview of the purpose of your website. Why does your church have (and need) a website? Though there are many reasons your church needs a good website, the number one reason is to help people connect with you—especially new people searching for a church. So how do you connect with people effectively through your website?
Here are three things your website needs to do:
- Focus on new guests
- Give a glimpse at what it's like to be a part of your church
- Provide ways for members and guests to contact and connect with you.
1. Focus on new guests
Though your congregation will visit your website, potential guests are your primary audience, especially for the homepage. Make sure to keep this page simple, share a video or a few images of your church community to convey aspects of church worship and gathering, and include a contact form so guests can plan their visit with you, and you can follow up with them.
2. Give a glimpse at what it's like to be a part of your church
In addition to using video and images on your homepage, infuse your website with other ways for guests to get a feel for your church. Have a page dedicated to highlighting sermons, events, and mission efforts. Be sure to include pages that share how children, youth, and adults gather for discipleship opportunities. And talk about how your church is involved in the surrounding community and making an impact in the world around you.
3. Provide ways for members and guest to contact and connect with you
We already mentioned having a way for guests to plan a visit to your church, but you'll also need to have information so that they can actually visit! Put your physical address and local phone number in your website's footer, so it's easy to access from any page on your website. If you are launching small groups or recruiting volunteers, give a call to action that tells your website visitors how to connect with those opportunities. You can do this by adding an online form or simply providing them with an email address or phone number.
Creating a welcoming homepage for your guests, sharing a glimpse inside your church community, and providing ways for your website visitors to connect with your ministry are three ways you can begin to create deeper relationships with your guests and members. Of course, there are more things you could add to your website, but start with the basics and continue to refine and build.