What a Church Website Should Include

I recently moved to a new city and I was looking for a church to visit and possibly start attending with my family.  The way I researched the churches in my area was through their websites.  I think most people choose a church to visit largely on what they find on the website. It got me thinking again about what a church website should include.

I thought I would list out what was really going through my mind. Some of these things are not important to my spiritual growth.  Here are some of the things I was thinking and I know many are not critical to spiritual formations.  I thought I would just try to be as honest as possible.

19 Things to Consider on a Church Website

Here are the things that went through my mind:

  1. Was the church listed on Google maps? I was looking for something close. If a church was not on Google maps, I wasn’t considering it at all.
  2. Was the site up to date with current events and a modern layout?
  3. Did the pictures look like there was a diversity within the church?
  4. If they had a picture of the platform did it look modern or did it look old fashioned?
  5. What did the building look like? Did it look old and stuffy? Did it look clean? Did it look modern? Did it look welcoming?
  6. Did it look like they have kids’ ministry? Were there any kids in the pictures? Did adults working with kids look friendly and loving?
  7. Did it have a mission statement or a statement of faith or vision statement? We read through those things.
  8. Did it seem like the kind of place where a new family would feel welcome? Did they actually say that on their site?
  9. Did it look too formal? Or did it look like it was run down? A church that’s either too trashy or too extravagant would make my family feel uncomfortable.
  10. Did I see any theological red flags? Was there overemphasis on a theological hobby horse like end times prophecy or speaking in tongues or King James only?
  11. Was the pastor the center of attention or were the people the most important thing?
  12. Did it look like I could get connected with a small group easily? Do Bible study groups seem to have an open enrollment? Or are there Sunday school programs that have been going on for decades and appear to be difficult to enter into?
  13. As a musician, does the worship team visually appear to be something I’d want to play on?
  14. Does it look like a place that would appeal to a man as well as a woman?
  15. Were there pictures of people raising their hands in worship or did they look more reserved?
  16. Were the pictures even real? Did they picture that actual people in their church or was is all stock photos?
  17. Does it seem like a place where my teens/young adults would feel like they’re getting something out of it?
  18. How are the people clothed in the pictures? Do I have clothes like that? Do I dress like that? Would I feel overdressed or underdressed when I walk in the door?
  19. Do the people on the site look like me and my family? Could they be our friends? Do they look trustworthy? Or does it look like I’d be a stranger there?

The pictures and the copy on a website communicate all of these things. We made some very immediate decisions about where we were or were not going to visit based on simply the pictures and the copy on the website. We made these determinations before we ever listened to a sermon.

A Couple of Other Thoughts about Your Church Website

When you are considering what a church website should include, think about mobile devices. Your website should be mobile friendly. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t read all the text on your phone without scrolling to the left or right, then it’s not mobile-friendly. You also want to make sure that the navigation is easy to use and intuitive so people can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

The site should have an event or calendar section where you can post updates about upcoming events, sermons and more! Your church might not have time or resources to create fresh content every day or week but having even one new article or video posted per month would be great!

Your church should also have a calendar where people can sign up for events such as small group meetings, youth group meetings, etcetera. This will help ensure that everyone knows when these things are happening so no one misses out on an opportunity because they didn’t know about it in advance.

A Few Final Thoughts About What Should a Church Website Include

It’s important that the pictures and the copy on your website communicate the right types of things about your church.

If you spend all of your time uploading sermons and sermon notes on your website and you never take a minute to think about the first impression it makes on a visitor, then you might be missing opportunities for new visitors.

Need some help?  We build websites for churches and nonprofits all the time.  Go here to schedule a time to chat with us about building your website:  https://staffordnonprofit.com/contact/

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