Websites are the primary way most people pursue information these days, so it’s important to know if your church website needs a little TLC.
There are many ways to have an effective website, and your ultimate goal is for your church website to be up to the standard of most other sites.
This is not the time to be creative! Give people information as quickly as possible in the manner that they expect to receive it.
You may already have an inclination that your website needs help, but here are seven ways to instantly know:
- The web address (URL) is difficult to say and remember. People find websites by either Googling the church’s name or by remembering your URL. Make sure Google is pointing to your website on its first search results page. To find out, search for your church name with the city name. If it doesn’t, ensure your domain is easy to remember (e.g., www.yourdomain.org) and that it’s easy to say from the stage too.
- You’re not proud of it. If you’re not proud of your church website, chances are your congregation and community won’t be either. Your website reflects your church, so invest in its design and content. This is probably the easiest way to know if your church website needs help.
- You don’t use it yourself. When was the last time you or your church team used the website? We’ve found that if you don’t use it, you won’t suggest your congregation use it either. It probably needs help.
- Your physical address isn’t on the homepage. Approximately 90% of first-time guests will start with your website. When they decide to attend, is it easy to find your address? Consider placing it prominently on the homepage — near the top — and make it clickable so visitors can use map apps for directions. Avoid listing long paragraphs of directions when a simple click should be sufficient.
- Headlines don’t match URL slugs. To optimize your website for search engines like Google, it’s important to align your headlines with URL slugs. Each page should have one theme —a keyword or key phrase. Clearly identify this theme as your largest headline at the top of its page. Additionally, ensure that the keyword(s) are included in the URL slug after your main domain. The slug becomes the unique identifier for the page’s content (e.g., www.yourchurch.org/your-slug-keyword).
- People say, “I can’t find what I’m looking for.” If people frequently express their inability to find what they’re looking for on your church website, it’s easy to know your church website needs help. Start by improving the organization of your website’s main menu. Ensure each page fits logically under the relevant menu item. Limit the number of items in your main menu and drop-downs to five or six, facilitating a faster and more intuitive navigation experience for visitors.
Headed to the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans in June? Want an eye-opening discussion about your website? Visit the “Be Known for Something” booth (No. 2159).
I will review your church’s website LIVE in just 30 minutes! Meet me, and if you dare, we’ll project your website onto a big screen to receive tips for improvement. It’s almost instant! You can pre-book one of the limited times at calendly.com/markmac1023/sbc-new-orleans.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, & social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.