Your church website is often the first place a guest will connect with your church so it’s vital that churches make sure they’re using that space well and efficiently. In this video, Jonathan Howe gives four simple ways churches can improve their church websites to better serve the guests that visit there.
Jonathan Howe serves at the Vice President for Communications for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people and a lot of churches on their websites. And whenever we start talking about church websites there are a few things things that churches really need to consider about their website.
First of all, you’ve got to remember that your website is the front door to your church. In the past, maybe it was the Yellow Pages, maybe it was word of mouth, maybe it was the worship service, or even Sunday School, or an event that you had on your campus.
Right now the first touchpoint that guests or those who are new to your community will have with your church is more than likely your church website. So, when we start thinking about your church website, it’s very important that you have it geared towards guests. And you can do that in four simple ways.
First of all, you need to have it optimized for mobile. People are using their phones more than ever to surf the web, to check websites, to look up information. So if your church website does not show up well on a mobile device or on a phone, you’re really gonna be losing potential guests, potential gospel opportunities, and potential visitors. So make sure your church website looks good on a phone and is optimized for your mobile device.
Where & When
Secondly, your church website needs to have its location and service times prominently displayed above the fold if you can. By above the fold I mean having it where it’s one of the first things you see whenever you land on the website. Whether that’s on your phone or on a desktop PC or laptop.
So they need to be able to know where they’re going and plug that into their GPS or, you know, copy that and put it into Google Maps or the maps app on their phone. They need to be able to find the place, find your church.
And they need to know what time to show up. So make sure those times are updated whenever you have maybe changes in service times or if you’re adding or having special events. So make sure the service times are easily located on the homepage of your website. Make sure that they don’t have to click or scroll or anything like that too much to find when and where to show up.
Up To Date
Third, you need to have your information updated. I’ve had too many websites that I’ve gone to that I’ve gone and it’d be like May and they’re still promoting their Easter stuff from April or March. Or I go to the website in February and they’re still talking about their Christmas stuff that they had in December.
Make sure you go through your church website, especially the calendar and events and promotions that you’re doing, at least once a week to make sure everything is updated and current. And you have the current times, the correct times, and information about future events, not ones that have already passed.
Staff Pics & Info
And then the final thing that I would really encourage churches to have on their websites to make them the most effective and most user-friendly for guests and potential visitors is to have staff pics and bios on your website.
A lot of churches maybe they’ll just list the staff or they’ll have a little blurb about them. Maybe they just have maybe their names and a contact email. That’s great! It’s great to have contact information for your church staff, but if I’m a new guest to your church I kinda want to see the faces before I show up on Sunday.
I’ve got four kids. My wife and I have four kids. If we’re dropping off our kids at your church, I want to know who I’m gonna see greeting me, who I’m gonna see that will be in charge of my kids. I want to feel safe whenever I drop off my kids at your church. So it’s best if I see them and know more about them. The more information you can put about your staff, the more confident a guest will be leaving their kids with, especially the age-graded staff members in those ministries such as kids or students or preschool. So staff bios, great thing to have.
It also helps with adult ministries and the senior pastor. Tell me about the senior pastor. Where he went to school, what he’s done, his accomplishments. It just helps guests be more comfortable whenever they show up on Sunday mornings for your service if they’ve seen the staff, if they know more about them. It helps that connection and it’ll help connect guests to your church, to your staff in a better way.
So these four ways are four easy ways that you can help your church website attract more guests, retain more guests, and be a greater service to potential guests and open up gospel opportunities for you and your church.