Need help creating a great church website? Are you searching for church web design services? There are strategies and parts that every church website should include to help create a great online experience for current or future members.
A church is more than a building, you know that already. But when a church is made up of a large number of diverse people, it’s important that you have all of your information in one place so members and visitors alike can know exactly what’s going on. In this article, we’ve included everything your church’s website needs for a great design, and to provide an excellent experience for anyone who visits it.
Importance of Having a Great Church Website
People looking for a church to attend aren’t going to skim the newspaper to find one. Folks expect churches to have a website, and good design can be the difference between people coming to you on Sunday morning or choosing to go elsewhere. In addition to aesthetic appeal, your website should give both visitors and members easy access to the information they’re looking for. no matter if you are a large church with a huge congregation and membership, or a small church that is just getting started, you need to have a great website design that represents your church brand and extends the community and the word of God.
What Every Church Website Design Should Have
Church website design should make finding out about the church really easy, even for the most technologically unsavvy people. To create the best church website design, your church’s website should be professionally designed, and avoid using free church web design software, or generic templates.
Outside of a having a professional design, your church’s site should include the following information so that it is not considered a bad church website design. Think of this as a make-shift church web design kit and checklist.
Upcoming Events and Calendar
Your calendar should be easy to find and—most importantly—up to date! One flaw of many church sites is that they don’t ever update the events page. This section of your site makes it easier for members to know what’s going on and for visitors to learn when they can show up to a worship service or a fellowship event.
Videos of Church Services Organized by Date and Topic
These days, people want to be able to “attend” church from the comfort of their couch. Recording your church services and posting them in a clearly organized manner allows folks the opportunity to hear the singing, learn from the preacher, and see the rest of your members worship together. Organizing by date and topic lets people either follow along chronologically or find specific services that touch on topics they’re interested in.
Sermon Videos & Transcripts
Sometimes, your members want to revisit a sermon that was especially impactful. Include a page on your site where they can download sermon videos and transcripts. That way, if they miss a Sunday or want to share a relevant message with their friends, it’s easy for them to get their hands on those resources.
History of the Church
A history tab is a must-have on your site for a few reasons. First of all, visitors want to know where you came from. Why are you in the area? How long have you been serving the community? Why did you choose the neighborhood you chose?
Plus, people love good storytelling. Your church’s history page is the perfect place for you to tell the compelling story of how your church came to be and how visitors can join into your church’s narrative.
What do you stand for? What do you envision for your church body? How do you see your church partnering with other organizations in the community to serve its residents?
The answers to these questions are crucial when you’re putting together a site. One, for the members to be able to regularly refresh themselves on the mission of the church. But also, visitors want to know who you are. What do you hold dear, and what are you as a church body working toward? By being upfront about your vision and values, visitors and seekers will have a better idea of what to expect when they walk through your doors.
Meet the Pastoral Team
It’s never more important to put a face with a name than when you’re talking pastoral staff at a church. Having pictures of your pastoral team along with their names, roles, and some interesting personal information makes a church as a whole seem more approachable and personal.
When people see a smiling face in an ad or on a site, they’re more likely to have positive feelings associate with that brand. Your church can benefit from this marketing strategy by having your pastors smile (genuinely!) in their headshots. If your pastoral team looks happy and welcoming, visitors to your site will be predisposed to feel happy and welcomed when they visit your church.
Great Website Design Elements and Imagery
Accurate, up-to-date information is an obvious must-have for your church’s website. But it should be arranged in a beautiful and appealing way. If your site looks like it was designed in the 90s, you can kiss high visitor numbers goodbye. If you want to show the world that your church is relevant, that needs to happen first and foremost with your website design.
Community Section to Church Members
Church membership is a good thing because it creates a sense of community among a large and diverse group of people with this common bond: they all belong to the same church. That said, having a community section on your site specifically for your members is a great way to get need-to-know information to them.
Ninety-seven percent of consumers search for local organizations online, and churches are not excluded from this statistic. Utilizing good SEO and a beautiful, useful website is a great way to draw in local people looking for a church home. If a visitor is looking online for a church to attend, they’re local to your community. And with Google’s SERPs and SEO optimized for local search, you can take steps to make sure your church’s website appears right in front of the visitor.
There are quite a few ways to boost your local SEO. Check out our article for a step-by-step guide on how to get your website at the top of local church searches.
A Way to Donate Directly from the Website
The days of passing the offering plate seem to be dwindling in churches today with the rise (and ease) of online giving. Provide a place for people to give their tithes online. This helps people who don’t operate in cash or checks anymore, but it also makes sending out giving statements much easier for your administrative staff. An online giving option provides a paper trail for all of the donations that come into your church, keeping your church and your members accountable and your records accurate.
Link your social media channels on your site—and vice versa. Utilizing social media is a fantastic way to reach people in your community right where they are: on their phones or computers. Socials let visitors see a more intimate and personal side of your church, which is a great thing for people interested in joining with you.
Live Stream of Services
One of the best ways to reach your community—and beyond—is to live stream your services. Sick members, parents with newborns, shut-ins, and people who are too intimidated to come visit in person all benefit from hearing your sermons, songs, and prayers on Sunday mornings.
First Time Visitor Expectations
For some, it takes a lot of courage to walk into a church. Specifically address visitors on your site. Let them know what to expect and what is (or isn’t) expected from them. For example, you don’t expect them to give money, you don’t expect them to pray aloud, etc. If you’ve got coffee and donuts, let them know to come early, grab breakfast, and meet some friendly faces.
One of the most important things to include on your site is your service times! Let people know when you’ll be meeting so they can come on time and ready to worship.
Contact and Directions
Don’t forget your address and directions. Or go one step further and provide a link to Google maps since users will likely be searching for directions on their phone. Include contact information to the main office or a pastoral hotline so you can address any concerns and answer questions as well as be a help to people in need.
Missions Trips & Community Outreach Opportunities
If your church is serving your neighbors in some way, whether that be across the street or across the ocean, let people know how they can get involved. Include contact information so eager participants know who to get in touch with.
What different ministries does your church engage with or provide? Do you work with a food bank or women’s shelter? Do you tutor underprivileged teens or work closely with an adoption organization? What in-house ministries exist? For example, are there programs for children and teens during the week? Do you host a basketball league or quarterly men’s breakfasts?
Whatever you are doing to serve your community and the needs of your own members, list it all on your site so people can know how to benefit, or better yet, how to serve alongside you.
Ways to Serve
When new members join, they’re usually eager to jump in and start serving, which is great! Have a dedicated page on your site that outlines all the areas in which members can serve: ministries for the community, programs for members and visitors, and ways they can serve during worship services or on Sundays.
You might even provide a form they can fill out with their areas of interest. That allows you to put them in direct contact with leaders who coordinate serving opportunities.
In the old days, church directories were like phone books with portraits of your members. Today, you can have all of your members’ contact information online. Online member directories are convenient, save paper, and are easy to update with phone number or membership changes.
If you’ve got important news to share with your congregation, there’s no better way to get it to them than through your site. A news page is a central location where you have total control of what’s written, unlike some social media platforms.
We know that you want your church to be faithful and to grow. Having a great website won’t guarantee that, but it certainly can help. By utilizing our tips and working with a site designer that brings all of these elements together, we’re confident you can empower your church to flourish.