Your website is the online welcome mat for the community. According to a recent study, 59% of church attendees say they browsed a church’s website before picking that church for a visit. And 36% decided not to attend a church because of what they found—or didn’t find—on the church’s website. So it’s not enough to simply have a website for your church. It needs to speak to your guests, those you want to attract through the doors of your church.
First off, there are 3 things your church website must do to be most effective:
- Reflect your culture. The design of your website, the photos, and the written content should all work together to reflect the culture of your church. The photos of your pastor and key ministry leaders should show some personality.
- Encourage engagement. Remember, the purpose of your website is to draw people through the doors of your church. So make your calendar of events easy to find and accurate. Give people a way to contact you online. Point to your Facebook page. Help people know what to expect when they visit, to reduce some of the anxiety brought on by going someplace new.
- Answer questions. When someone visits your website, it’s intentional. They have a reason for going to the website: to get directions, to see what time Sabbath School starts, to get the phone number of the church. So anticipate these questions and make it easy for guests to find answers.
So what questions should you answer on your church website? Think about the “5 W’s”:
Who are you? The website should reflect your church culture through the design, photos and written content. This should be 80% reflection and 20% aspirational, describing who you want to be.
You should also include photos and short bios about the pastor and key ministry leaders.
What do you do? Describe your ministries, both how you serve the community and how people serve the church. Make it clear how someone can get involved if they want.
Also include a section on what you believe. Write a simple summary of your core believes, then link to the official 28 Fundamental Beliefs on the NAD website. Keep in mind, though, that guests care less about a statement of doctrine and more about who you are and why you do what you do.
When do you do it? Your website should have an event calendar that is kept up to date. Highlight public events where guests can engage with you church, in addition to internal meetings like church board. Make your website the central, authoritative source to communicate the church schedule.
Where do you do it? Put a map prominently on the website of where your church is located, along with a link to something like Google Maps so people can get directions. If a particular event is happening elsewhere, make that clear in the calendar event listing.
Why do you exist? You should have a short statement that describes your purpose. Whether you call it a vision statement or mission statement, make it prominent on the website.
There are people just like Laura in your community looking for a spiritual home, and your website is how they’ll find your church. So don’t let your church website be an afterthought, because it’s important for attracting guests. A little effort up front will make a huge difference in reaching people in your community.
SermonView now offers a service to turn your church website into a powerful evangelistic tool. We’ll help you create a site that feels relevant, personal, and welcoming. Then we can help you get that website seen by people in your community searching for a church near you.
Ready to turn your church website into an evangelism engine? Call us today at 1-800-525-5791. We’d love to help!