I recently finished reading the book Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley. The main premise of his book is about “Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend”, which just happens to be his tagline for the book. After reading it, I was really challenged to see how we could relate that to our church websites.
What would it look like if we designed our Church websites for the unchurched?
In my experience, there are two groups of people that will ever visit your church website. The first group are those looking for a calendar or the most recent sermons. They’ll want to keep up to date with whats going on, and catch those sermons if they missed them the previous week. (That is if they don’t already have them automatically downloaded through iTunes or a similar service.)
The second group are those who have never been to your church before. They are merely researching churches in their area to go visit. They are looking for resources like directions, service times, and what groups that the church offers. Or it could be that they were invited by a friend, and they wanted to check it out before they actually went to the church.
These are the people we should be targeting with our website. The reality is, most current church members will be content with however you structure the site. They’ll hunt through pages looking for the information they need. For a newcomer though, they will have much less patience than those church members I just mentioned.
Here is a practical example. Since I mentioned Andy Stanley earlier, let’s look at his church’s website. I feel like they’ve produced a great example of a web site that targets the unchurched first. In the image below, you can see the first three buttons that stand out.
- I’m New
- Engage With Us
- Watch Messages
These menu buttons are useful for both church goers and newcomers alike. As someone who has never been to Northpoint before, I’m immediately drawn to these items. It makes it easy for me to learn more about the church without it being cumbersome for me. As church web developers, we want to make it as easy as possible to get people in and connected. We should be taking every step we can to make our church websites visually pleasing and easy for those who are looking for a church home.
Remember, we only have one chance for a first impression.