Applying church website rules to your site will create a better experience for visitors and encourage them to stay engaged.
One of the most important aspects of any church is its website. Church websites are a vital part of any church's communication strategy. They allow churches to share their message with the world and connect with current and potential members.
Why is it important to make a church website user-friendly?
In today's digital age, more and more people are using the internet to find information about local churches. It serves as the online face of the church and is often the first impression new visitors will have of your church. If your website is difficult to navigate or doesn't provide the information that potential visitors are looking for, they're likely to move on to another church.
By contrast, a user-friendly website will help you attract new visitors and keep existing members engaged. By the way—in addition to having a website that is easy to use, it's also important to make sure that your church is physically user-friendly! This means having plenty of signage to help visitors find their way around and making sure that your building is accessible to everyone.
Who should make sure these church website best practices are followed for a church?
There may be several constituents who contribute to the church website, like the church’s:
- Communications team: They should be responsible for the website's messaging, design, and user experience.
- Pastor and leadership: These leaders should ensure that the website reflects the church's mission and values.
- Tech team: The techies should make sure the website is secure and easy to use. Congregation: Everyone in the church should be responsible for promoting the website and keeping it up to date.
What makes a website user-friendly or not?
There are several factors that contribute to whether or not a church website is user-friendly. These include:
- Ease of use: the website should be easy to navigate and use
- Relevant content: the website should have content that is relevant to church members and potential visitors
- Fresh content: the website should be kept up-to-date with fresh, relevant content
- Responsive design: the website should be responsive, meaning it should look good on all devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone)
What's the risk of having a church site that is not user-friendly?
There are several risks associated with having a church website that is not user-friendly. These include:
- Church members and potential visitors will be unable to find the information they're looking for
- The church will miss out on opportunities to connect with new people
- The church's online presence will suffer and, ultimately, have a difficult time fulfilling its mission.
Why do we need to design our church’s site to be mobile-first?
Mobile-first design is important because more and more people are using their smartphones to access the internet. In fact, according to a recent study, 61% of people worldwide use their smartphones to go online. This means that if your church website is not designed for mobile devices, you're likely missing out on a lot of potential visitors.
CTT According to a recent study, 61% of people worldwide use their smartphones to go online. This means that if your church website is not designed for mobile devices, you're likely missing out on a lot of potential visitors.
Do I need to hire a website designer to revamp our church website?
You may or may not need to hire a professional website designer to help you redesign your church website. However, it's important to make sure that if you're hiring someone that they are familiar with church websites and best practices. In addition, you'll want to make sure that the designer is aware of your church's mission and values.
How often does our church need to redesign our website?
There's no hard and fast rule for how often church websites should be redesigned. However, it's generally a good idea to redesign your church website every two to three years in order to keep the content fresh and relevant.
Finally, don't forget that church websites are not static — they should be constantly updated with new content, photos, and events. By including your church website as a consistent outlet for publishing, you can ensure that your church website is user-friendly and engaging.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your church is as user-friendly as possible. Here are ten things I wish more church websites paid attention to:
10 Rules I Wish Church Websites Would Follow, But Don't
- Don’t make users hunt for information. If a user can’t find the information they want, they’ll leave.
- Make navigation easy. Users should be able to find what they want quickly and easily.
- Keep content concise. Short is better than huge blocks of text. Use bullet points. Users won’t read long passages of text.
- Use simple, clear language. This is where using StoryBrand copywriting techniques to simplify your message makes sense.
- Avoid jargon. Aim for 4th grade reading levels. No one likes insider language.
- Provide plenty of white space. It's not just the words that matter. The reading experience influences how long they will stay.
- Minimize the number of clicks. It's maddening when a visitor is sent on a click adventure when it could have been done in a click or two.
- Include a clear call to action. If you want engagement, you need to tell the visitor what to do.
- Make it easy to find contact information. Don't assume people know your church. You must make it easy to find the most basic information.
- Keep your content up to date. The overwhelming expectation is that if you have a website, it is maintained and updated regularly. When you have outdated information or signals that you haven't published anything recently, it immediately extinguishes the visitor's interest.
FOLLOWING THESE CHURCH WEBSITE RULES ENCOURAGES ENGAGEMENT
Church websites are important for churches to have in order to communicate with potential church members. There are best practices that should be followed in order for the church website to be user-friendly. By paying attention to these 10 rules, church websites can create a better experience for visitors and encourage them to stay engaged.
Of course, there are more “rules” to live by than this list of 10 church website best practices, but these are the first 10 rules to follow. If your church website is violating any of these, change it now! Your visitors will thank you.