Today, everyone is on the internet. It’s more important than ever to have a website for your church. People want information on your church and they want to find it online. It lends credibility to your church and makes it easy for visitors to learn more about your church before they show up on Sunday. In a world impacted by the COVID-19 virus, a website is, in some cases, the only touchpoint a church has with its members when states are shut down in quarantines and lockdowns.
When considering the design and content of your site (whether it’s a new website or your existing site), here are some things to check off your list to make your website functional for everyone.
Make it Easy to Navigate
No one wants to go to a website that is confusing. Create links and buttons and drop-down menus that are simple to see and follow. No one should have to have any special technical training to use your site. Make everything as user friendly, intuitive and self-explanatory as possible. You don’t want anyone to look at your site, get puzzled, and then close out immediately! Have a wide variety of people test the navigation before going live with your design to make sure it will be easily accessible.
Put Everything Important on the Home Page
Time is a huge commodity these days. People are busier than ever before and don’t have a lot of time to spend on any one activity. Therefore, when designing your church’s website, make sure that all the most important information is on the home or landing page. Whether it’s service times, the name of the pastor, contact information, or even a link to the latest worship service video, make sure people can see everything that they want to see right away.
Avoid Jargon, Buzzwords, and Technical Language
Yes, it’s important to have passionate and marketable language on your site that will draw the reader in and capture their attention. You don’t want to bore anyone! However, the site’s writing should always be authentic to the character of the church, reflecting the vision and mission of the church in an exciting way. Similarly, avoid any technical language (such as doctrinal language, hermeneutical debate, or other high-level religious commentary). Save that for in-depth classes for people who are interested. Keep the language simple, genuine, and passionate about Jesus.
Use Classic Colors with Trendy Highlights
The design of the website may be the place where generational preference will differ the most. While the older generation will like classic, muted colors and design, younger generations may prefer something trendier. Why not use a classic design but highlight it with some trendy design elements or colors? This is an area where gathering opinions from a variety of people will be valuable. Gauge the responses and determine which design statement best fits your audience. Ultimately, you want people to view your site with a positive outlook.
Churches across the nation are producing online services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is more important than ever to make sure you offer a video on your website of your church service, and perhaps adding highlights of sermons, worship events, and Bible studies. Put those videos on your site, make them easy to play and easy to access. People need that human touch at such a time as this.
Add Online Giving
Another product of the COVID-19 pandemic is the overall decrease in church giving across the nation and around the world. Never has it been more important for churches to have an easy and safe way for their parishioners to give their tithes and offerings online. Put the GIVE button on the home page and make it obvious. Make sure the giving page is secure and people are sent a recognition notice with a receipt of their giving immediately. All those professional touches will increase confidence in your givers and they’ll be more likely to continue their giving online in the future.
Your church’s website is an important part of your identity as a church. Make it relevant, make it good, and make it usable. Most of all, put it online today and encourage your congregation and community to use it.