I was invited to speak at a church. The day before my appointment I was looking online for information on the congregation, more specifically a way to contact the pastor. I was unable to. That and many similar experiences with our church online presence led me to wonder what seekers think when they see our websites.
In case you haven’t heard, the technological age is here. If your church has a non-existent presence on the internet you might be missing opportunities to connect with new or potential members. Furthermore if your church website is outdated, difficult to navigate and lacks important information (more on that in a bit) you might be saying to a whole demographic: “Please don’t come here, we’re good”.
Here are three recommendations:
- Make the main thing the main thing.
If I am Joe Unchurched, Mary Seeker or Peter Lookingforachurch the main questions I need answered in your website’s FIRST page are the following:
Where are you?
What are your service times?
How can I contact you?
Having me navigate through several options to try and find information that could be on the first page is madness and a turnoff. Nice pictures, a welcome, or the history of the SDA church are nice but not at the expense of the main thing. Every extra click, it’s a reason to click away.
Here is a church that does that right: http://collegedrivechurch.com
- Make your 2014 church website look different than a 1994 one.
1994 called. They want their templates back. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist!) In the website world, like in real estate, the key is template, template, template. I did an internet search for churches in Lawrenceville, GA where I live. If someone just moved into the area, there is a high probability they would look online for a church. I found information that was not very helpful or non-existent. The websites looked dated and provided little helpful information about the church itself. We can do better, and it’s not that complicated!
Another point where I see churches dropping the ball is having church newsletters on your website that are from 2012 or earlier. That’s just wrong. If it’s dated, you’re dated. No Bueno.
- Make your church website simple.
The more tabs you have, the more information you will need and the more time consuming it will become. Since most people can’t afford a full time webmaster, the cleaner and simpler the website the better and the less outdated content you will risk having. Look how clean and simple (yet well done) this website is: http://saddleback.com/. That’s a 25,000-member church. Now compare with any of our churches websites. Not the same, I know. But you get my point.
On upcoming weeks I will talk about branding, logos and mission statements. Meanwhile, here are some for you to look at: http://churchrelevance.com/resources/top-church-logos/
- Giveaway I am offering a 1-hour church media consultation for FREE for two winners. If you read this blog, or have a church in the Southern Union, you are eligible. Just put your name in the comment section, email me at email@example.com or DM me on twitter @leadsu and I will draw one name before next week’s blog. This giveaway is courtesy of http://skamediaproductions.com, an extremely effective Adventist media team that can take care of all your needs. They get it. So should all of us.
This what the giveaway includes:
$185 Value – one M|3 Mini Session (Mentoring|Media|Ministry)
Length – 1-Hour (via phone, Skype, Hangout)
- pre-session assessment of your church’s existing online presence
- unvarnished feedback on strengths & growth areas
- coaching conversation to help you articulate your media goals
- starter action plan to guide you toward a more effective online presence
If you aren’t a winner and still want to take advantage of skaMEDIA’s services, they are also offering a session discount to my readers within the Southern Union. Contact info@skaMEDIAproductions.com with the code LEADSU+M|3 to be eligible for the discount.