3 Questions to Ask When Building a Church Website

Cornerstone Church Screeny

I just recently finished switching out my church’s website from Joomla to WordPress. (For more on how we came to this decision, check this post.) We built out site using ChurchTheme.com’s Resurrect theme, which has been specifically designed for churches, and it is awesome.

Anyway, in this process, I’ve been forced to ask some fairly heavy philosophical questions that really cut to the heart of what I was a doing. Yes, I was just building a website, but a website for a church should be a digital representation of what your church believes, teaches, and does. It should be a way for prospective attenders to meet your pastor and “tour” your church before ever arriving.

Long story short, here are those three questions and why I feel like they were important.

3 Questions to Ask When Building a Church Website

Cornerstone Church website Screeny

1. Who is the church website for?
Your church website isn’t for your church people: it’s for prospective attenders. Of course, parts of your site will be useful to your people: blog, sermon archive, calendar, etc. However, the majority of the people visiting this site will most likely be prospective attenders. If you want a hub for your people, a Facebook group would fit that bill quite well.

2. How can communicate our heart with simplicity?
One of the hardest things for a church is to communicate with simplicity. Churches are vast with a lot of moving parts, and it can be hard to break that down into digestible bites. However, it is absolutely vital that churches learn to speak with simplicity and with clarity. Do you have mission statement? Great. Can it fit in a tweet? No? Then, maybe you might want to look at simplifying it. For example, our church has modified our mission statement to four words: Love God. Love others. It’s a simple statement that we can share with everyone and unpack with people as they journey with us.

3. Does this really reflect the reality of our church?
Nothing will turn people off more quickly than feeling like they’ve been lied to you. If your website is sharp and “cool” and your church is down-homey and traditional, first-time guests won’t be second-time guests. Don’t kid yourself thinking that it won’t matter—honesty is crucial. Would you ever go back to a restaurant that hooked you in with false advertising? That’s how a guest is going to feel if your website is a lie.

Bonus Obvious Question: Is the church website mobile-friendly?
Web traffic is becoming more and more mobile. If you’re site isn’t mobile-friendly, isn’t responsive, then you are missing out. We need to show our web visitors that we value them by creating an experience that they can all enjoy, desktop and mobile.

Did I miss any questions?

Phil Schneider

I'm a teacher and discipleship pastor. I'm also a husband to the greatest woman in the world and a father to a ridiculously cute daughter. I also occasionally scratch out a few blog posts. You can buy my first book, My Evil Rhyme Schemes, here.

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  1. says

    I’d also suggest the “click to call” links work, and that the address is also a link to Google Maps.

    We’ve also incorporated online giving at http://whocenterpa.com. Lately we are getting a lot of requests from our congregation for the live stream, so I might consider something more obvious yet simple to help them further.

    Over 50% of our traffic is all mobile, mostly from our FB page and emails. Keeping that in mind even when writing emails in Mailchimp matters!

    • says

      I totally agree about Mail Chimp and mobile. It’s a project that I haven’t undertaken yet, but might have to later this year.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “click to call” but I think that many mobile browsers do that automatically. Am I wrong? And if so, please tell me what I’m missing. :)

      Regarding the maps, our site’s theme has a built in mapping/directions based upon our address and longitude/latitude. It’s super cool!

      On a personal note, I think I drove past your church last time I was visiting family in Shippensburg. Small world!

      Thanks for the comment!

      • says

        http://www.mobilexweb.com/blog/click-to-call-links-mobile-browsers. I stick with the top one. When someone on mobile clicks on the phone number displays at the top of our site, it launches the phone with the number already included. Users just hit “call” to launch. To make that work, we need to make it a specific hyperlink.

        We also integrated an online tithe/giving system, and use EZ Texting for the rare urgent updates via SMS messaging (weather closings, etc) and use Square for some payment processing via an iPad. Mobile mobile mobile…

        I grew up in Ship and haven’t wandered too far away.

        • says

          Fantastic! Thanks for the “click to call” info. Out church database software has a texting function, but we’re currently just using PayPal for giving. I think we’re looking at using Easy Tithe in the future.

          Thanks so much for adding to this article.

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