As a church, having an online presence is essential in today’s digital age. Not only does it allow you to reach a wider audience, but it also provides a platform for communication and connection with your members and visitors. Here are five things every church website needs:
1. A clear and concise mission statement
A few years ago I surveyed dozens of my young Christian friends, asking them “if you were looking for a new church online, what would be the most important thing you’d want to see on their website?” I was surprised that the number 1 item was the church’s vision statement or statement of faith. This is important to people but all too often it’s overlooked entirely.
This should be prominently displayed on your homepage and should accurately reflect the values and goals of your church. It’s important for visitors to quickly understand what your church is all about and what you stand for.
2. Service times and location
Including service times and location on your website allows people to easily find out when and where your services are held, which can help them decide whether to attend. It also helps people plan their schedules and make arrangements to get to your church. This is especially important for people who are new to the area or who are looking for a church to attend.
A calendar can be a useful tool for keeping track of upcoming events and activities at your church. It can help visitors plan their schedules and make sure they don’t miss any important events.
Make it easy for visitors to find out when and where your services are held by prominently displaying this information on your website. You should also include a map or directions to help people find your church.
3. Contact information
It’s important for a church website to include contact information because it provides a way for people to get in touch with your church and connect with you. This can be particularly important for visitors who are new to your church or for people who have questions about your church or its services.
Including contact information on your website can also help establish trust and build relationships with your existing visitors. When people know how to contact your church, they may feel more comfortable reaching out and connecting with you. This can help build a sense of community and foster a sense of belonging among your members and visitors.
Contact information can include a phone number, email address, or a contact form that visitors can fill out to send a message to your church. By providing this information, you make it easy for people to get in touch with you and ask questions or request more information.
Consider also including other ways for people to connect online: This could be through social media links, a newsletter sign-up form, or a chat feature that allows visitors to communicate with church staff or other members. Providing multiple ways for people to connect with your church online can help build a sense of community and connection.
You should also consider including the names and roles of key staff members, as this can help visitors feel more connected to your church.
4. Online giving options
It’s important for a church website to include online giving options because many people prefer to give online, and providing this option can make it easier for people to support your church financially. Online giving can be especially important during times when in-person services are not possible or when people are unable to attend in person due to health or other reasons.
There are several ways that churches can add online giving options to their website. One option is to use a third-party platform like PayPal, which allows people to make donations directly through your website. Another option is to use a custom online giving form on your website, which can be integrated with your church’s accounting or donation management system.
It’s important to make sure that your online giving process is secure and easy to use. This can involve using secure payment processing systems, clearly explaining the donation process, and providing clear instructions on how to give online.
I’ve written a blog post tutorial showing how to add a tip-jar to your website.
5. A multimedia section
It’s important for a church website to include a multimedia section with sermons and other audio or video content because it can help people stay connected with your church if they are unable to attend in person. This can be especially important during times when in-person services are not possible due to health or other reasons.
A multimedia section can include videos of past services, podcasts, or other audio content. By providing this content on your website, you can give people the opportunity to watch or listen to your services at a time that is convenient for them. This can be a great way for people to stay connected with your church and to continue learning and growing in their faith.
In addition, a multimedia section can be a useful resource for people who are new to your church or who are considering visiting. It can give them a sense of what your church is like and what they can expect when they attend a service.
6. Up-to-date content
Keep your website fresh by regularly updating it with new blog posts, upcoming events, and other relevant information. This will keep visitors coming back to your site and help them stay engaged with your church.
Up-to-date content can include blog posts, announcements, event listings, and other relevant information. By regularly posting new content, you can keep visitors informed about what’s happening at your church and help them feel connected to your community.
In addition, up-to-date content can help improve the search engine rankings of your website, which can make it easier for people to find your church online. This is especially important if your church is new or if you are trying to attract new members or visitors.
Overall, a well-designed and user-friendly website can be a valuable tool for any church. By including these five essential elements, you can create a website that effectively communicates your mission and values and helps you connect with your members and visitors.