What if you only had 10 seconds to convince someone to come visit your church? Well, according to a Nielsen Norman Group finding, website visitors take 10 seconds to decide whether they want to stay or leave the page. This means that the first 10 seconds when someone visits your church website is critical.
Your church must be able to engage visitors in the first 10 seconds through factors such as aesthetic appeal and easy navigation. However, your website must also answer the following 10 questions in order to be truly effective-
- When do you meet?
Every church website should contain basic information about the Sunday service such as start/end times and whether childcare is offered. Your website should also display information about upcoming holiday services as well as special circumstances such as weather cancellations.
- What are you all about?
Tell visitors about the vision and mission of your church by having an “About Us Page.” Let visitors know what they can expect when they walk through your doors. What is the look and feel of your church? Are you family-friendly? Does your congregation hang out by the coffee bar in between services? Are you a suit and tie or jeans kind of church? Let people know what kind of experience they’ll be showing up to on Sunday.
- What do you believe?
Give a brief explanation of your church’s beliefs in a “Statement of Faith” page. Keep it short and simple, allowing unbelievers to be able to fully understand it. If you wanted, you could include a link to a lengthy, more in-depth proclamation of faith for those who have been in the church for a while. This is also the place to explain any denominations your church is affiliated with.
- How is your church changing lives?
Provide different church members’ testimonies, telling stories about their interaction with the church and how they came to Christ. Talk about the various ministries your church is involved in. How are you impacting lives within the church? In your community? Throughout the world?
- Where do I find the church?
People must be able to find your church doors before being able to walk through them. Provide the church’s address as well as any other directions that might be helpful (such as something like “Located on the corner of Stop 11 and Traverse Street.”) Now, you can easily embed a Google map into your website.
- Who runs the church?
While a church is made up of the body of believers who attend and serve there, people should know who is on leadership. Include a staff/leadership page with a brief bio and picture for each person. Who is your pastor? Who leads the high school youth group? Do you have a church council? Provide information that answers these questions.
- What’s on the calendar?
Let church members and visitors know about upcoming events and sermon series. Keep people in the loop by updating your website frequently. Remind ladies of the Women’s Tea coming up next week. Preview April’s sermon series on Managing Finances.
- How do I listen to a sermon?
Allow people to hear the weekly teaching by posting podcasts and sermon videos on your website. This is great for members who missed a service, visitors who are wondering what the church is like, and people who are unable to travel to the actual church location.
- How do I give?
Provide a place where members can tithe online. Online giving is convenient and is now preferred by many over writing a check.
- Who do I contact?
Make sure your website has a church number and email listed. An online contact form is also helpful, allowing people to leave any questions or comments they might have. Your website should also link to your church’s social media pages. Show that your church is invested in the lives of people and has a presence within the community.
10 seconds to engage. 10 questions to answer.
Keep these questions in mind and you’ll be sure to bring your church website up to a 10 on the scale of success.
Church website essentials. Church Website Design. Retrieved from http://www.church123.com/church_website_design_content.htm
Faulkner, C. (2011, September 5). Essential stuff that every church website needs. ClaytonFaulkner.com. Retrieved from http://claytonfaulkner.com/2011/09/05/essential-stuff-that-every-church-website-needs/
Nielsen, J. (2011, September 12). How long do users stay on webpages? Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved from http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-long-do-users-stay-on-web-pages/
Wax, T. (2012, March 12). 5 essentials for a church website. The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2012/03/12/5-essentials-for-a-church-website/