Keep it simple with these easy church website tips.

When a person is searching for a church, one of their first moves will be to check out your website. Make sure it has a few basic necessities! In the first of this two-part article, let’s cover the basic things your church website should have.

1. Easy to find times and locations.

Obviously, your church’s meeting times and venue locations will be on your website—they’re your bread and butter—but have you thought about how easy it is to find that information?

  • Why? It’s simple: if people can’t find you, they can’t get to you. Shopping for a church is hard work on its own. Make this easy for them. If they have to search too long to find your times and locations, they’re going to be more likely to bounce from your site and move on.
  • Example: NewSpring Church is doing this very well. They want to be easy to find! The first thing you see in the center of the screen is a search bar and call to action (CTA) that offers “Find A Location.” It’s so well done that you don’t even have to type in your entire address—just type in your zip code and see for yourself.

2. Easy way to give.

Make it easy for your site’s visitors to donate and tithe. Not only should you provide a sensible path to your giving page, but also consider the giving platform you’re using. Now, people who wish to give to the church can set up an online account, save their payment information, set up recurring gifts, receive giving statements, and more.

  • Why? For many people, giving to the church isn’t a simple or easy decision. It often requires time, prayer, consideration, and most importantly, a change of heart. If your site makes it difficult to give, they might get discouraged and give up.
  • Examples: NewSpring Church and Clarksburg Church. They make it easy to navigate to the giving page. Their interfaces are clean, secure, and trustworthy. And their user experiences are seamless

3. Transparency.

You can be transparent on your website in many different ways, whether that’s including your mission or statement of faith, showing where the church’s money is used, being candid in your copy, or otherwise. Give people a sneak peek into the realness of your church.

  • Why? When people visit and browse your site, you’re communicating with them. You may not realize it, but you’re having a conversation. Be transparent in the content of your church’s website the same way you would be transparent in a face-to-face conversation. People want to know exactly what they’re going to expect before they make a personal appearance and transparency on your site will help tremendously.
  • Example: Grace Hills Church greets you immediately with open, unabashed truth about their church and it is refreshing.

4. Honesty.

Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re a church plant, own it—don’t try to be a mega church. If you’re a traditional church, own that—don’t push contemporary if that doesn’t describe your congregation. Hand-in-hand with transparency, honesty on your site will go far.

  • Why? Too many churches try to fit the mold of this “ideal” church, but that assumes that all congregations are the same set of people with the same interests, tendencies, and styles of worship. Most people start their church hunt on the Internet, and your website should be the best early impression of what they should expect. So just be yourself. Whatever your church’s personality, make sure that shines through your website. And this is different from having big picture goals—honesty means owning what you are now while pursuing the dreams of where you want to be.
  • Example: Glad Tidings Church shows you real church goers with real stories right at the top so you can get an idea of the people you’ll meet there. Plus, they have one location, so they’re not a mega church—and the style of their website matches that modesty.

5. Good, original content.

It’s as simple as it sounds. Good, original content is anything from a blog written by members of your congregation to true photos and videos of your church, not stock.

  • Why? Well first, users are more tech-savvy than ever and they can sniff out a stock photo. But more seriously, if God is the original artist and we are reflecting His image to the world, it’s important to carefully and thoughtfully put our best foot forward. You shouldn’t just create a website out of vanity or just for the sake of doing something cool. Rather, you should have a sense of excellence and integrity in the way you portray your church online.
  • Example: Lots of churches do this well but Church on the Move makes great use of original photos and content—especially on their Leadership page.

Check out part 2 of Things Your Church Website Should Have here!