In the business world, there are a lot of statistics about the importance of a website, particularly when it comes to judging the credibility of a business. 75% of people judge a business’s credibility based on its website, and 48% say that the website is the most important factor in determining a business’s credibility. I can’t imagine it being much different when it comes to a church. People actively looking for a church are going to start with social media or an internet search. For those who do a Google search, they’re going to look at your website before they step foot on the campus. That first impression of your church is going to be almost entirely based on your website.
So, how do we make a good first impression? Being intentional and thinking about your homepage through a visitor’s lens is a great first step. Here is a list of 5 things you should consider for your homepage.
1. Mobile Friendly
More than half of the people that visit your church website will do so from their phones. Pull out your phone now and type in your URL and look at your homepage. Does it load quickly? Can you read everything? Is it easy to navigate?
2. Service Time(s)
Service times are one of the most important pieces of information for a visitor, so you need to make them easy to find. They should stand out in a quick scroll down the page. As a culture, we are not the most patient when it comes to navigating a website. If someone has to click a button to find the information they are looking for, they are more likely to click out than they are to click a button to go deeper.
3. Intentional Pictures/Videos
You don’t have to have a professional photographer, but if you can afford one, it is a very good investment. If you don’t go with a professional, find someone in your church who has a good camera and some photography skills and give them instructions on the kinds of pictures you want. Then when you are thinking through the pictures you want on your website, it is important to remember that people want to feel comfortable when they come to your church, and your website is an easy way to make that happen. You can answer a lot of questions people will have through the pictures you put on your homepage. How big is the church? What is the style of worship? What ages of people go to the church? What should I wear? Is there a children’s program? What does the church facility look like (it makes it easier to find the first time)? For a deeper dive into what pictures work best, check out Setting Yourself Up to Win with Good Website Photography by CSBC’s Matt Brower.
4. An Invitation
One of the most important things that you can add to your website is an invitation to come. You can have a prominent button with text like “plan a visit” or “I’m new” and have that take people to a page that has all the information a visitor would need. On this page, I’d recommend the following:
- A video introduction from the pastor,
- Service times,
- Information about children’s/youth ministry,
- Parking info, and
- A couple of paragraphs about what to expect when they visit your church.
Do as much as you can to answer their questions to make them feel comfortable on their first visit.
5. Don’t Forget Your Members
Most of this list focuses on visitors, but you’ll also need to think through how your members will use the website and make each of those areas easily accessible. You’ll want to have an easy, prominent link to giving online. If you stream your services, you’ll want to make those easy to find. Church events and announcements are another area your members will look at regularly.
Many people who come to your church are going to base their first impression on your website. I want more people to come to your church to be impacted by the love of Jesus, so I hope that you will take a look at your website and, if necessary, make a few changes to make it more likely that this will happen.
If you need help with your website, feel free to reach out to Kurt at firstname.lastname@example.org