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What Makes a Good Church Website?

What Makes a Good Church Website?

Posted May 14, 2018 by Bryan Haley

It takes .05 seconds for your website visitor to form an opinion of your website — and your church. So how do you help make a good first impression? What matters, and what doesn’t? What makes a good church website? There are lots of elements that go into making a good first impression. I think we can boil all these elements down into some baseline principles. Follow these principles, and you’re on your way to a having not just a good church website, but a great one.
 

Have a Clear Audience in Mind

It can be pretty apparent when a website doesn’t really have a target audience. They put lots of content out there in a variety of ways, in multiples voices and styles, just hoping that something sticks, or resonates, with anyone that comes to their website. The problem is that when there isn’t a clear focus, it’s easy to tell, and harder for anyone to stay interested. When you specify immediately who your target audience is, people who fit that demographic will be more inclined to see what you have to offer, especially if you use their language.
 

Simplify Your Homepage

Your website’s homepage needs to give a great first impression for potential visitors. Simplifying your message can help. Many churches think they need to cram as much information as possible onto the homepage to make sure they answer all of the potential questions a website visitor might have. Let me help: Don’t. Use good visuals. Keep everything simple. Keep text to a minimum, but give clear call-to-actions to help people dive deeper on the areas they’re interested in. Give breathing room and use white space to your advantage.
 

Make Your Website Easy to Navigate

If your homepage design is clean and well organized, it will be clear where someone should click to find more information. The more information you know about your audience, the better you can anticipate their needs. Your actual navigation menu can help, too. Make sure those items are limited, easy to understand, and well organized.
 

Have Useful information

For some churches, the website is the hub where every piece of information goes. This can be a great strategy for creating a central hub as part of your overall communication strategy. That also can create a lot of clutter and disorganization. So think through how you will organize all of your communication and information. Think about your audience, the end-user. What information do they need? Like any communications tool, a good website takes strategic thought.
 

Make Your Website a True Reflection of Who You Are

Part of creating a consistent experience is making sure your website is a good representation of who you are in person. If someone came to your website and then visited you in person, would they feel any sort of disconnect? Be true to who you are. Leverage your strengths. Give people an online glimpse of your church in action. Stock photos have come a long way in the last several years, but people will still be able to tell if you’re using “fake” images. Try to use images of your location and people in as many situations as possible.
 

We’ll be talking about some examples of church websites that do each of these elements really well in the Church Juice Community Facebook group. Join us!

 

Filed under: Website

About the Author

Bryan Haley

Bryan joined the ReFrame Media team in 2017 with a passion to help churches reach people with the gospel using effective church communications. As producer for Church Juice, Bryan helps congregations energize their church communications by overseeing the Church Juice blog, publishing in-depth ebook resources, and developing training on topics like marketing, branding, social media, internal communications, and website development.

Bryan brings years of communication and outreach experience gained both in full-time church ministry and the field of church website design. Bryan and his wife, Denae, enjoy Michigan summers, Detroit sports, and family time.

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Comments (4)

  • Rachael
    8:51 AM
    Tue, May 15, 2018

    Thanks for doing this series on church websites. Do you know if Church Juice or another group does any type of website review? I know you guys had an article a few months back about your favorite church websites, but I wasn’t sure if there were plans on showing what churches might be doing well or wrong when it comes to their sites.

  • Peter Bylsma
    2:45 PM
    Thu, May 17, 2018

    Sounds good, but I have a hard time visualizing what a good website really looks like. With all those suggestions for pictures, how does that help with “privacy” issues?

    We’re going through a review of our church website, but I finding it somewhat of a daunting task. we post church bulletins and wonder if we should have a login members’ section for that.

  • Bryan Haley
    9:35 AM
    Fri, May 18, 2018

    Rachael - I know of someone who is developing something to help review your website… just waiting on them to publish it so I can share that with you. Stay tuned!

  • Bryan Haley
    9:37 AM
    Fri, May 18, 2018

    Hey Paul, a few months ago we posted 18 of the best church websites. That may help you visualizing what a good website looks like.

    Every church is different - your audience is different, your needs are different. There are some churches that post their bulletins to their website. Some choose to do this behind a “member” or login wall. Others post it on their site for anyone to see. I would suppose this partly depends on what types of information you have in your bulletin, and whether that is something safe for everyone to read online.

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