Last week, I read a blog post by COLLIDE Magazine. It prompted me to write about it on here. First, let me have you read what Scott from COLLIDE wrote in his blog post:
Last week, I found myself looking for some information on the website of an extremely well-known church. It wasn’t long before I was completely frustrated. The site is an aesthetic hodgepodge overrun by banners, menu and sub-menu buttons, links, and text. And yet, among all those choices, the information I sought wasn’t there. Too bad.
The experience on this church’s website, combined with years of visiting church websites, prompted me to tweet this:
Here’s the thing: I don’t have any magic bullets or one-size-fits-all solutions for making the perfect church website. But I will offer you this challenge — spend some time this week making an effort to see your church website with new eyes.
Come up with a list of questions (Where/when do you meet? Where should I park? What options do you offer for kids? Do you have a marriage ministry? Who should I contact about finding a small group? Who should I contact about volunteering in the children’s ministry? How many families were helped by that recent service project?) and then try to answer them using your website. Better yet, ask someone who doesn’t attend your church to answer the questions, and watch them as they try to navigate your site. During the process, ask them how they feel (Confused? Overwhelmed? Welcomed? Comfortable?) and take note.
In many ways, your church’s website is the window through which your community looks in. It’s time to evaluate it thoroughly and honestly. Then, take your findings and act on them.
When we do a secret shopper for a church, the first thing we evaluate and report on is the church’s online strategy and presence. The third thing we check out is the church’s website. Unfortunately, most church websites are too busy and not well thought out (like what Scott experienced). Let me encourage you to prayerfully, strategically and intentionally think through how your website looks, feels, navigates and the impression it gives to people in your community that Googled for churches in your city and stumbled across your website. The web is the front door to your church – accept that, embrace that and plan for that.