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
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?