Almost every church and ministry has a website. However, many churches struggle with knowing what to include on their site. I’ve seen websites that are missing the most basic information like their city, address, or service times. Additionally, I’ve seen churches that haven’t updated their site in several years. For over a decade, I’ve helped churches gain an online presence. I want to share seven of the most important pages you need for your church website site.
Church Website Basics
Refine Your Strategy
You need a strategy for how you want potential visitors and attendees to use your site. Think through your discipleship process and look at how other churches are using their websites to be more effective. It is very important to have a clear, action-focused menu, so that is a great place to start.
Reflect the Style and Culture of the Church
Your website should reflect the style and the culture of the church. When people who have never attended your church visit your website, they should be able to tell what is unique about your church. So this means you need to use stock photos sparingly. You want people to see an authentic presentation of your church’s style.
Your content is important. However, people don’t come to your website to read lengthy posts. Short paragraphs should be the norm with pictures and graphics to support the text.
Continually Update the Website
And finally, it’s better to not include information if you know it will not be updated. Be sure to remove events after they happen, and to have all current service times and contact information correct.
Now that we have the basics covered, let look at what you need to include in your site. Here are the seven most important pages of a church website:
#1 – Homepage
Remember that your homepage will be the first impression of your church for most visitors. Think of it as your website’s information desk and greeting team. Before people will attend your church, they will visit your website to learn more about what to expect. As I mentioned, be sure to reflect the culture and style of your church in the photos and content included on the homepage. Be sure to include…
- Address and location – I’m amazed at how many churches don’t include their city name or address on the homepage.
- Service Times – Make sure to include both online and in-person service times.
- Contact information – Include a phone number and either an email address or contact form. But be sure that someone is actually checking for messages! Many contact form emails get sent to your SPAM folder, so check it often to make sure it is working.
- An overview of the church – Share what makes your church unique and clearly guide people to pages with more information about your church.
- A summary of important information from the site – upcoming events, recent sermons, current blog posts, and volunteer opportunities
#2 – “What to Expect” or “Plan a Visit” Page
This is one of the most important pages for visitors. One popular feature for church websites today is a “plan your visit” form that lets people signup to attend a service. You can even use this to have the families’ information input into your check-in system to simplify their first-time experience. You’ll want a prominent link to this page from your menu and your homepage. Be sure to include …
- A welcome video from the pastor
- What your services are like
- How long your typical service lasts
- Where to park
- What children’s activities you have and the check-in process
- Information about times and locations for your youth meetings
- What do people wear? Casual or more formal?
#3 – Sermon Page
This is a popular page for both visitors and attendees. For visitors, they get to try out your church before they attend. Over the years, I have had numerous people tell me that they have watched our church services online for months before they attend. By watching your sermons, people will feel like they know your culture and church. It’s also a good way for people that attend your church to find good teaching on topics they are interested in. When you include your sermons, be sure to include a paragraph detailing what the sermon is about, the Scripture passages shared, and even the topics you will cover.
I would also recommend having a dedicated page for your church live stream if you have an online campus. See here for another article explaining more about the difference between live streaming and an online campus.
#4 – Resources for Attendees
Technically, this could be more than a single page, but this is an important part of your website for your attendees. This will look different for every church because it is based on sharing resources that your attendees need to serve and get plugged into ministry.
You can include things like …
- Scripture reading plans
- Sermon notes
- An online directory
- Book recommendations
- Blog posts from the church sharing current news, announcements, or devotionals
- Volunteer schedules or logins for your church management system
- A list of the ministries in your church
#5 – Get Involved (Next Steps)
One of the goals of discipleship is to challenge people to take their next step for Christ. Your website should help you accomplish your discipleship goals. You can use your website for online discipleship by sharing about upcoming events and ministry opportunities. You can also list small groups and share how people can get involved in different ministry teams. And don’t forget, that many people are looking for information about how to become a Christian. Including information about salvation and baptism is a must for your website. Don’t miss this opportunity to share the Gospel.
#6 – Online Giving
Even churches that have been opposed to online giving have now seen the importance of having a solution in place because of what we have learned through the current pandemic. I want to challenge you to have more than a simple button. Help people understand how online giving works. You can alleviate their fears by walking them through the process with a video or step-by-step process. This also gives you a chance to share the vision with your church so that you can help people see where their tithes and offerings go. If you want to find out more about online giving, see the many articles on ChurchTechToday.
#7 – About Us
Finally, this is a place for both visitors and attendees to learn more about your beliefs, your history, and your future. This page can tell the story of your church and share what makes your church unique. You can include …
- Your story – how did the church begin?
- Your beliefs – are you affiliated with a denomination or network? What is your statement of belief?
- Your leadership – the staff and leadership pages are typically very popular pages. Include bios and pictures for your staff and ministry leaders.
- Your vision – where is your church going? How are you reaching your community for Christ?
- Your contact information – how can people get in touch?
One final thought. If you haven’t reorganized your website in a few years, take time to go through it and update the content, the structure, and the graphics. Just like a closet or junk drawer, websites tend to get cluttered over time, and you will most likely find outdated information throughout your site. Strive to simplify your site, and look at your site through the eyes of someone that is checking out your church for the very first time.