Your church website may be breaking some unspoken rules.
If you follow these rules, they will dramatically impact the way your website functions. Your church site should be an asset used to generate results.
Most church websites are simply a window for viewing static info. Your website is a tool to connect with people in your community and beyond.
If you want your website to work for you, follow these five rules.
1. Get Rid of the Homepage Slider
I have had so many pastors make the case for the slider in the name of, “We want people to see things are happening.”
The problem is, no one clicks on the slider. In fact, some studies have shown only 1 percent of people will click on your slider.
Don’t take up valuable real estate on your website with something that continues to generate low results.
Sliders also don’t work well on mobile devices or smart tablets. The rise of one-page websites has risen dramatically with mobile traffic.
2. Build a Site for Outsiders
Filling a slider with your church’s “current events” caters to insiders.
We have done testing with our church clients and found the majority of traffic came from non-members.
People who have never been to your church care about a few things.
1. What are the service times?
2. Where is the church located?
3. Who is the pastor?
Your homepage should answer all three questions quickly for the visitor.
3. Showcase Great Photos
When someone visits your site, you want them to commit to attending a service or at least contact you. People are more hesitant to commit if they don’t have a clear understanding of what to expect.
Humans are hesitant of the unknown.
Great photos of your church, pastor and community transcends information on a page. They give your perception life and color.
I can guarantee your staff/leadership is in the top three most visited pages on your site. You need to have professional, warm photographs all over your site.
4. Add Value to Your Visitors
Also known as, content marketing.
Content marketing is a strategy for creating and distributing valuable, relevant content.
When a new family moves to your area and are looking for a church, chances are they will visit your website.
What would be helpful to them?
How about an ebook with a list of restaurants, local parks and activities for the family. You could do something really crazy and include other churches as well.
What you have done is added value to their lives.
Adding value creates a level of trust, and trust is a powerful currency.
People are more likely to at least visit a church if some sort of trust already exists.
5. Call Your Visitors to Action
The worst thing that could happen is a visitor comes to your site, sees a bunch of information and then moves on.
You don’t know who they are. You don’t know if they are interested in your church.
You aren’t able to answer any questions they may have.
Creating a call to action forces them to make a decision about their interaction with you. They could leave, or they could give you their email address for more info and perhaps a call from one of your pastors.
Here is a fantastic article on the psychology of CTAs.
The best use of a call-to-action is a focused landing page. Give the viewer two options. They can leave or they can give you their email address so you can connect. Anything more leaves room for them to get distracted and just leave without you knowing who they are or where they came from.