Since Christmas is a key time for church visitors, it’s a good idea to refresh your church website—not a massive overhaul, just a light dusting.
Here’s a checklist you can tackle in just 30 minutes to encourage more people to visit your church.
This is the single most important page on your website, because it’s the first page will visitors will see. What do you want to tell them?
The best practice among churches is to make the homepage all about how to visit. But remember the concept of “choice paradox”: the more options someone has, the fewer actions they’ll take. So if you want people to take one action, give them one option: learn how to visit your church.
Whatever else you put on your homepage, make sure it includes:
- Service times and locations
- A section dedicated to any holiday services
- Your church’s mission statement or big idea
Pro tip: Include a link to your “Visit” page.
This page should provide more than just service times and locations. Ask yourself, “What would I want to know if I were new?” Make sure you cover:
- Childcare information
- Details about accessibility for the disabled
- Written directions for the most common routes to your church (not everyone is smart-phone savvy)
- An option to have directions sent via text message
- What to expect—such as how people dress, how long services are, and other info that might make a visitor feel more comfortable
Pro tip: Ask someone who doesn’t attend your church to review this page and offer feedback.
People will look to see if you have ministries that match their needs and passions. Mention all your ministries, down to support groups and affiliations (like Celebrate Recovery or Mothers of Preschoolers). Include things like:
- When each ministry meets
- Photos of ministries in action
- A calendar or list of past and future events
- Contact info for each ministry
Pro tip: Just give short summaries on this page. Insert “read more” links to point people to the extended explanations.
Before people come visit your church, they’ll want to learn more about it. This page should cover things like:
- Mission and values
- What you believe
- Affiliations (such as denominations)
Pro tip: Prioritize getting people to give their name and email address, so you can follow up with more information.
Some churches call this page “Start Here” and include a brief welcome letter from the head pastor or elders. It’s the top of the funnel for someone who wants to get plugged in. Cover things like:
- Signing up to receive emails
- Small groups
Pro tip: Avoid insider language. Instead of using special names like “Ignite,” be descriptive: “First Baptist Youth” or simply “Youth Group.”
Some people might want to listen to a sermon or two before visiting. The last time I looked for a new church, it was the sermon page and recommended reading list that compelled me to actually visit (and now it’s my church home). Include resources like:
- Study guides, resources
- Recommended reading
Pro tip: Choose a sermon that represents your church well and position it prominently on your site.
This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Ministry Team magazine.