Your church website is VITAL to the success of your church in today’s increasingly digital world. Take a look with me at 5 essential elements that you NEED to have included in your website design.
1. Real Photos
Your future church members are looking to connect with your pastors and congregation, and one of the best ways to help them do that is with real photos and videos of your church and members. You can even just use your phone to get the photos – anything is better than a stock photo!
If you’re blessed enough to have team members who can take professional photos (videos are amazing, too!), then you’re already way ahead of the game. Most churches use stock photos of people from other churches, which is just confusing and doesn’t feel as genuine. If you absolutely have to use stock photos, check out this guide on how to do it the right way!
2. Newcomer’s Section
To help guide your new members, you need a page dedicated to them. This page should include all the basic information that members might need to know. Meet the pastors, the church theology, ministry information, service times, etc. are all key pieces of info for new members.
The goal here is to make new members feel connected to the church before they even visit. They should see the same faces and locations that they’ll visit through the use of photos, know how long to expect a service to be, and know where they can go to get information on the church once they arrive. Every little bit counts to help people feel at home in your church!
3. Online Giving
Use a service like Tithe.ly or CCB to allow your church website visitors to give online (both one-time and recurring options) to make tithing and giving easier for members whether they’re in service or watching online. Many churches opt for text-to-give options as well, which are fantastic, but don’t neglect your church website!
There’s some controversy on how visible the donate/give buttons should be, but we feel that they should be easy to find while not necessarily “in-your-face” like a primary call to action would be.
4. Past Sermons/Podcasts
Record your weekly sermons (video is preferred but audio-only is OK as well) and make sure to upload them to your site! Keep this updated often so members and future members can check out your sermons and get to know your pastors better.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up a feed from a YouTube channel to your site. This way, any videos that get uploaded to your YouTube channel will automatically end up on the website. It’s one less checkbox on your weekly post-service production list as well, which is always nice.
If you don’t want to use YouTube or hosted video services, make sure your website host has enough storage to accommodate for the extra space that the videos will take up!
5. Events Page
Finally, an events page will help your members stay up to date on what’s happening at your church. Use this to post information about festivals, special services, etc. Be sure to keep this updated as much as possible – there’s nothing worse than an out-of-date blog or event page!
Ideally, the events section of your church website will be super easy to update. Easy enough for any volunteer to go in and update, add, and remove events as you go.
Bonus points if your web developer can include the functionality to automatically remove an event from the site once it has passed!