A great church website is one of the most important communication tools for a growing church; in many ways, it’s not that different from a company website. Good church web design obviously needs to promote a church and get people to visit on Sunday, but it should also act as an extension to your worship services. Proper church web design is essential today, so it’s important to avoid these common mistakes.
1. Lack of Website Goals
Most churches realize that they need to have a website, but many do not take the time to assess the goals of the church website.
- Who is the primary audience you are trying to reach?
- What do you want them to do?
- What should the church website achieve?
- How will you measure those goals?
Honing in on the answers to these questions will make it easier to prioritize the content, decide what is most important, hit your digital marketing goals, and reach your audience.
2. Church Name is Not Visible on Every Page
Just about everyone knows that you need to put the church’s name on the website’s homepage, but not everyone understands why it’s also important to put the name on every page of the website. Not all incoming links will point to your website’s homepage. If you do not want your visitors to be lost you need to let them know where they are.
3. Important Information is Difficult to Find
Visitors should never have to look hard for basic information on your church website. Your church location, service times, special events, and first time visitor information should be easily found on the homepage. Be sure to include details about your children’s ministry that is important to potential visitors.
4. Catering only to Church Members
Your church’s website is most peoples first experience of your church. Avoid using insider language that may be misunderstood by visitors. Your church web design should be welcoming to everyone not just your members.
5. Limited photos, videos, and sermons recordings
Nothing gives visitors a better idea of what to expect from your church than engaging pictures and videos; these allow a taste of what it would be like to attend. Recordings of past sermons help visitors get a feel for your church’s service. You don’t need to include every sermon that was given in the last several months (although you can if your bandwidth allows for it), but try to include at least a handful of easy-to-find and easy-to-play audio and video sermons somewhere on your church’s website.
6. Inactive Social Media
Churches realize they need to be utilizing social media, but usually don’t have the processes or people in place to manage them well. It would be better to not have links to social media accounts at all if they are not updated regularly.
7. Uninformative and Cluttered Calendars
Most churches have a cluttered calendar on their website that includes events that are not open to everyone. With every event and room reservation listed, it can be very difficult to find relevant events. Instead, leave committee meetings, small groups and niche events off the calendar and only advertise events that are open to large groups of people. Be sure to provide detailed information for each event so visitors have everything they need to attend.
8. Cheap Church Web Design
We all know the saying, “You get what you pay for.” You can put a piece of plumber’s tape on a leaking pipe, but it won’t hold for very long. While anyone can set up a church website on Square Space or Word Press, it probably will not achieve the church’s website goals or increase user engagement. You need a professional to make your church web design effective.
A church can be making a difference in their community, but if their website experience is not optimized; they may be undermining their success. When in doubt, try to keep your church’s web design clean, simple and welcoming, with the most important information easy to find.
What mistakes have you seen the most in church web design?