It’s a busy time with your church’s Christmas festivities, but you should make time for a simple church website fix before the end of the year. Why? This one improvement will make your website
Your church website should be the center of all your communication. Most churches have correctly moved from relying on a printed bulletin and moved their members to trusting the website. If you haven’t, that would be a church website fix that isn’t so simple — but it will help inform your congregation and attract your community in the long term. Your website is that important.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many website homepages (the first page a person sees when they arrive at your church’s website) became bulletin boards similar to bulletin boards churches once had in their lobbies.
Originally, it looked organized until someone decided to post a random printed announcement. Then a business card was tacked on and then a post-it note. Soon old things got covered with newer things. Finally, the clutter became an eyesore that was difficult to take in. The bulletin board soon didn’t make sense.
Hopefully that clutter was taken down. But sadly it was added to your homepage: random annoucents like “watch online” and “important dates.” Why? So everyone would find it in the “lobby” of the church website.
‘Calm your homepage’
Indeed, your homepage needs one simple fix as we end our busy Christmas season. Here it is: Calm your homepage down.
Research gleaned from analytics across the internet tells us that most people don’t stop for long on a homepage. So stop putting a lot of content on it hoping someone will peruse through the clutter. Most people spend only 2 or 3 seconds on the homepage. They aren’t looking to find information there. They are looking to discover the organization of your website (the main menu) and to find the content they want on an inside page.
Therefore, calm everything else down.
The menu should be the key item on the page (to the right of the logo at the top), and the top portion of the page (above the fold) should show who you are and what you’re known for. That usually is a large image (called a hero image or video) with a few words that start telling a story about your church and why someone would want to attend. Then you should have one or two prominent links to take someone to another page for what they need.
If you have two buttons, don’t allow them to be equal. Make one primary (more contrast or larger) and the other secondary (perhaps a link rather than a button). For those buttons, think about one of the pages most members would want (staff page, event listings or calendar) and make that the primary button. Then make the secondary button something else your congregation might want or direct it to the community’s needs. Visitors are often looking for something that says “New?” or “About Us.”
Then calm everything else down. Clean up the digital bulletin board look. Allow whitespace and establish the look of your inside pages — and keep all of them clean, easy to scan and organized.
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.