Church Websites: 3 Tips for Authentic Storytelling

You’ve most likely been told that your church website is the first impression people have of your church. And it’s true. Your website is the front door to your church. It’s a key space to invite others and share your unique story.
According to research, people spend less than 15 seconds on a website on average. That means each word and image you choose for your site needs to have maximum impact.
So, how do you communicate in a way that accurately reflects your church and achieves your main goal of inviting others?
Here are three tips for creating an authentic and inviting website experience. You can find even more tips in this free guide.

Use simple language

I love inviting people to my church. And I know the right language to use when I extend an invite because I know my city and its culture.
The same is true for you. You know your community. And you know what to say, or more importantly, what not to say when speaking with someone about attending church.
Let’s take that idea and apply it to writing with a short exercise.
Imagine what you’d say if you were having coffee with a friend and invited them to church. Now, write out your conversation.
Don’t overthink it. Just write what you’d say. This won’t be your final copy— you’ll need to edit it (everyone does), but this will help you get started.
Why try this?
There are two main benefits to this exercise. First, your language is more relaxed and natural when you speak. You want your website copy to read in the same, conversational way. Second, it helps you write to a person instead of listing facts on a web page. Your copy will be personalized and less formal.

Be yourself

Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right. — Craig Groeschel

People value authenticity, and they want to know what your church is really like. You could call it a tagline, value proposition, or mission statement, but whatever you call it, it must be short, inviting, and representative of what your church is about.
For example, The Village Church’s website says, “It’s okay to not be okay. God meets you where you are.” It’s relatable language, it’s directed at the visitor, and it reassures them that they don’t have to be perfect to come to church.  
Church website storytelling example: The Village Church
Remember, most people are only on your site for 15 seconds, so this message should be summarized in a short phrase or a maximum of two sentences.

Show, don’t tell

The best way for people to understand your church and all it brings is to show it. People are looking for a place to belong. When a visitor sees pictures of people engaging in Bible study, kids playing, and a community worshiping together, they can imagine being part of it.
For example, Hillsong Church has a beautiful collection of images and videos that show a passionate, worshipful movement expanding across the globe.
Church website storytelling example: Hillsong Church
If possible, use a professional photographer to get quality, candid pictures of your congregation. Consider making a video that welcomes people to your church and gives a brief tour of your facilities. This type of video is especially helpful for kids’ ministry areas because parents want to know what their kids will experience before they come to church.
North Point Kids’ Ministry is a good example of this. Their website shows pictures of the children’s classrooms and images of kids playing/learning in class.
Church website storytelling example: North Point Church
These are just two examples of ways you can use photos on your website. Images of the people who make up your congregation communicate the life and personality of your church in a way words can’t.  
With these three tips, you’re on your way to creating an inviting website experience for visitors—one that gives them a good sense of what your church is like.
And with Faithlife Sites, you can have your professionally designed website set up within minutes. You can plug-n-play your copy and images and let Faithlife Sites do the rest of the work. 
Find more tips for building a great church website in this guide:

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Written by
Jess Holland
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Written by Jess Holland