One of the biggest challenges of running a church is connecting with your regular attendees and reaching out to new people. While a lot of churches try to get the word out there through word of mouth, it’s just not enough. It’s important to have a strong online presence to make the impact you want to make.
While some churches have a decent website set up online, they have several challenges that prevent them from connecting with people and spreading the word about their organization.
- They have somewhat of a web presence but their website is not well designed.
- They aren’t delivering enough in terms of value to get donations.
- They’re not doing enough to initiate and build a relationship.
- They don’t have a website that has a proper and organized structure.
- They lack a clear path for new visitors to get acquainted and learn about their church.
Of course, many of these challenges can be overcome with the right web design and strategy. Here are essentials for making your church’s website effective.
An Engaging Graphical Introduction
One of the most important aspects of attracting new attendees is with a great visual presentation. The first impression matters, so you want to give your visitors an idea of what to expect by attending your church. Churches have succeeded with this by using picture of anything from the church premises, church events, sermons, and live performances.
Many great web church designs have achieved this effect with the hero image design. This is basically a design where a large image takes up anywhere from 50-75% of the screen real estate. Below these large graphical headers, there are usually one to three descriptions with navigation links. There are also variations where the whole page is an image and the content is integrated into it.
Focused Navigation Path
It’s important to get straight to the point and lead visitors to where they need to be. That’s why the main page should have a clear and focused navigation path to learn more about the church. Simple links that point to what your church is about, schedule breakdown, and explanation of the services that are offered are usually best.
Value Driven Content For Churches
One of the best ways to get more donations is by creating great content on a regular basis. Many of the churches that are doing a great job at this achieve it by regularly posting on a blog on their site. Some even go the extra mile by posting recordings of previous sermons.
When people feel like they’ve been given great value, they are more inclined to donate. It will also help to link to the donation page in the sidebar of the content or at the end of the content to remind people they can contribute if they feel your message has helped.
Social Media for Building Relationships
One of the best ways to keep your attendees updated is by reaching them through social media. You want to make it clear that you can be followed by offering social media links on your main page and on your content pages. Don’t make the mistake of hiding it at the bottom of your page like many church websites.
Social media allows you to remind attendees whenever you’ve released a new piece of content on your blog. It’s also a great way to connect and build a relationship with your attendees as you can often deliver short helpful messages or curate content that is relevant and inspiring to your audience.
Organized Website Structure For Your Church
One of the problems that is prevalent is many church websites is the lack of a clear and organized website structure. Many websites are all over the places and the few that are organized do not make it visually clear enough what the visitor should do.
You need to think about the things that are the most important to your visitors whether it’s the regular content, directions to your church, list of services, events, sermon overview, etc. From there, you want to create a navigation that clearly lays out these pages in an organized manner. You also need to use the right colors, fonts, and graphical cues to make the navigation feel natural to use.
Brand Focused Website Design
Branding is an important part of making your church stand out. You want to create a visual presentation that explains how you are unique from other organizations. While part of it is your logo, the bigger part is the feeling that people get from the rest of the site and the core message you are trying to deliver.
It’s a good idea to start with a good logo, colors that are consistent with your theme, fonts that you plan to use, and the core message you’re trying to focus on. The goal is to bring all those elements together to create a unique brand. This is especially important when a church organization has more than one location.
Organized Contact Page
It’s important that you have a contact page that makes it easy to reach you and is also organized to meet different needs. It helps to use forms if you want to avoid spam but there is no harm in entering an email address if you have measures to counteract unwanted messages.
The important thing, however, is to make sure you have different emails for different purposes. Figure out the reasons that people are contacting you to free up your email time and get people to where they need. For example, there can be a list of emails for the pastors, emails for the band, emails to event coordinators, etc.
Impactful About Us Page
One of the most important aspects of your website will be your about us page. People want to know what your church is about and your job here is to let them learn about who you are and deliver your core message. This is an important part of your website real estate because it ties in to your church’s branding.
It helps to share information about the core mission, history, description of your pastors, type of denomination, and relevant photographs that help tie everything together. Even corporations are focusing on the importance of the about us due to the fact that it has a strong impact on their branding.
One apparent characteristic that many great church websites have is a minimalist approach. This approach allows the churches to focus on the message and the goals by not distracting with unnecessary design elements. But the minimalist approach doesn’t mean that it’s not engaging.
These websites have done a great job in instilling their brand throughout their design and providing a visual presentation that makes is appealing. Finding the balance is the key here to making this design strategy work. It may take a few tries to get it down, but it will be well worth it.