As we roll into the new year and close out 2015, we look ahead to make improvements and growth for the upcoming year. By now we realize how important our church website is for our current and future congregates. However, because technology is constantly changing and updating, our church websites may not be up to current design and functionality standards.

If you are missing any of the features mentioned below, you should seriously consider upgrading to a more modern design and content management system (CMS). Here is a set of features you should include in your church website’s New Year’s resolution list.

2016 Church Websites Resolution List

1) Upgrade to mobile

What is the difference between a mobile or responsive, and desktop versions of you website? Is it just that one is smaller than the other? Unfortunately no, it is not that simple. A mobile or responsive website should resemble the design and features of your desktop version, however, it should have its own layout and integrations that specifically cater to every mobile device. If your website has a separate version to edit your mobile website, you may be behind the curve. The latest website builders automate formatting your website on mobile platforms. Know as a responsive website, this eliminates redundant editing or formatting. Here is a great tool to see if your site is mobile ready and to see what it looks like on every device.

Below I have included two other major factors on why it is important to have a clean and consistent mobile responsive website.

People are glued to their phones:

If you are in a room with a group of people or are out and about, take a look around you. I bet that half of those people are either glued to their phone screens, or at least take their phone out in the next 5 minutes. It is a simple fact that our society sees their cell phones a part of their day to day life, and will not leave home without it. In 2014, for the first time,  internet usage on mobile devices surpassed usage on a desktop platform. The most recent 2015 figures explain that adults spend over 51% of their internet usage on mobile devices, and only 42% on their desktops. So why would your website not be available where your users spend most of their time on the internet? Do not miss out on that traffic and engagement, because you do not have a responsive website for your church website.

Search engines love them:

This past April, Google announceed that if your website does not have a mobile version you could be negatively impacting search engine results. What does this mean for your church website? It means that if you do not have a mobile version of your website, you could lose your spot on search engine results for churches in your area. Which could result in you losing potential visitors to your website, and potential future congregates.

2) Upgrade to online giving

Have you ever walked into a store and wanted to buy something, but they only take cash and all you have is plastic. A recent survey shows that 2 out of 5 consumers carry less than $20 in cash on a daily basis. To stay current, your tithe options should also consider those statistics.

Online giving provides a solution. It allows your congregates to:

  • Give to specific departments/causes
  • Set up recurring giving
  • Event registration
  • Text to Give
  • Give anytime or anywhere with zero cash in your pocket.

It allows the church to:

  • Securely accept donations outside the church walls
  • Sell tickets to events
  • 24 hour transaction turnaround, without a trip to the bank
  • Seamless integration with Excel, Quickbooks, and many more management systems
  • Less administration – automatic transactions and financial summaries

In short, how many stores do you go to without a credit card machine? Do not limit your congregates ability to tithe, just because  of an outdated website. Upgrade your site with an online giving platform!

3) Upgrade church website tools

Below is a list of tools that your website provider should offer in your site builder.

  • Podcast Player (allows you to organize sermons to be easily accessed)
  • Video integration (experience the church online through video)
  • Calendar (keep congregates informed of upcoming events)
  • Social Media Feeds (live updates from social media accounts)
  • Prayer Request/Contact Forms
  • Newsletter/Email subscription

4) Upgrade features & church website software

In honor of the New Year, one of our sponsors, Ministry Designs is giving away a free website as a special New Year offer! You can click HERE to sign-up to win a free website! See a few of their new designs below:

FREE WEBSITE GIVEAWAY!

Church Website Template

Ministry Designs – Romans Template

Ministry Designs websites are a great resource and include every feature mentioned above. Here are a few additional highlights about our service.

  • Easy to use drag-and-drop website editor. (zero coding necessary)
  • Automated responsive framework. (It formats your mobile versions for you)
  • Contemporary designs with high-quality church graphics
  • Ability to customize and personalize all templates
  • Online Giving (built specifically for ministry tithes)
  • Unlimited pages, media storage, support, training, @domain e-mails, etc.

Here is what a couple of our partnering Ministries have said about us:

“In the past year and a half, I have had the pleasure of working with Ministry Website Designs to build and maintain our church website.  Their service record with us has been excellent.  They are able and willing to help at anytime.  Also their builder is user friendly and very adequate to give us what we need.  I am looking forward to a long relationship with Ministry Designs.” – Hopkins Chapel Baptist Church

“For someone who is not tech savvy, I found Ministry Designs to be very patient in explaining all aspects of the design process. Once I learned the basics of the website building, even I was able to do it with ease!  Also, for a small church with a limited budget, Ministry Designs is the perfect solution to your website needs.  Affordability, Ease of use and simple design was what we were looking for and our expectations have been met with Ministry Designs.  It has been a true blessing to work with this church-friendly company!” – Lanier Christian Church