Sometimes it can be difficult to see the forest through the trees. When you develop a website for your own church or ministry it’s easy to take some bits of information for granted. After all, you know where your church is located or you know what the mission of your organization is.
You get the idea.
There are a lot of church and ministry websites that fall prey to this dynamic, but by answering these five questions, you can avoid some of the most glaring website omissions.
One of the things we are doing at Open Church is mapping resources and ministries across the Kingdom, taking inventory of water missions, orphan ministries, etc… (Learn more about Open Church and join us!). In the course of a few weeks, I have mapped over 1,000 ministries across the world—mostly in the United States. Part of that mapping process included recording minimal information about each ministry, and believe me, it was an eye opening glimpse into the Church’s web presence.
It was amazing to find how many churches and ministries that either couldn’t answer all these questions, or made it very difficult to find the answer.
1. Do You Exist?
This is the most fundamental question. If you can’t be found on Google, do you exsist? If you don’t have a website, are you legitimate? Moreover, if your website looks like crap, should I even give you the time of day? After all, even the most basic web presence can look really good at a very reasonable price, and can be obtained by the most financially strapped church or ministry.
2. Where Are You Located?
How many clicks does it take to find your address? Do I have to visit your Facebook Page to find out where your ministry headquarters is or your church’s street address to visit you on Sunday? I don’t think there is one way to do this. You don’t have to put it in your footer or anything, but it should be fairly easy to find.
3. How Do I Contact You?
I am cool with email contact forms, but if you have any kind of office hours, try to include them along with the office phone number. Sometimes voice communication is the most efficient (not to mention personal) way to communicate.
4. What Do You Do?
I should have to read your ministry mission statement or church vision more than once to understand who you are. Please lose all that magical fairy dust linguistic gymnastics you’ve done to write up five paragraphs that still doesn’t say what you’re all about. Ranting aside, if you are a ministry, a new visitor should understand what you do on the front page—additional clicks need not be applied.
5. Who Are You?
This isn’t just about staff pages and pastor profiles—although I think these are great. This should also include any other details of interest. Do you have any affiliations? Are you a child ministry of a larger organization? Are you a satellite church? A church plant of a larger congregation?
Before you click away, open another tab (or tabs) in your browser and pull-up your church and/or ministry website/s. Then you need to pretend to be a first time website visitor as you go over each of these five basic questions.
I’ll wait here while you do it…