You're in a meeting with your leaders and everyone is in agreement that 1st Church of Smallchurchville (Don't be offended, I pastor a small church) needs to come into the 21st century.
You are all ready for the flood of traffic that is going to come to your church because of being on the web.
Unfortunately all you see is empty pews. Why?
- A. Your website will never be found. That type of website is not given much love from the search engines like Google and Bing.
- B. Your website doesn't serve a purpose other than to be a replacement for a yellow pages ad.
You need to think through your church website objectives.
3 Primary Objectives Of A Church Website
There are 3 primary church website objectives and numerous secondary objectives that you need to consider and then put into your church website.
Those objectives are to attract, inform, and inspire.
Objective #1 - Attract New People
Every church I have ever pastored or attended has said they want to attract new people. But most don't stop and think who they want to attract.
Your church website needs to be focused on attracting the "who's" your church will bless.
Let me put it this way. If your church is a traditional church that sings hymns, then you want to attract people who will appreciate hymns. If they hate hymns and only want to sing modern songs, don't waste your time or theirs trying to attract them. The opposite is true as well.
In my church, we are not trying to compete with the larger churches with multiple programs. We realize that a person that is looking for a church with a large variety of programs or ministries to fit every need they may have is not going to want to attend our church.
Instead we focus on the strengths of our small church. Relationships, accessibility, our mission to our community. People who will like our church are those that want something different than a church with programs.
Your church website needs to attract those that will like your church.
How To Attract People To Visit Your Church Through Your Church Website
Right on the home page of your church website provide a way for them to read about why your church is such a great place to worship. You may also want to describe for them what they will experience when they come to visit your church. Is there a dress code? Is their child care or children's ministries?
Let them know why your church is worth checking out AND give them the information they need to decide if your church is a good fit for them or not.
Provide for them sample sermons on audio or video for them to listen to your pastor speak. The millennial generation listens to an average of 6 sermons from a church website before every deciding to visit a church. Include a welcome video if possible.
I personally could not regularly attend a church where the pastor shouts their sermons or reads their sermons word for word. Those styles of sermon delivery just do not speak to me. Yet I know numerous people that do receive from God that way.
Be comfortable in who your church is and let the God speak to the people He has for your church.
Provide an easy way for people to contact your church via phone and email in order to ask questions about your church.
You might also want to provide a FAQ page for questions that people regularly have about your church.
Objective #2 - Inform Current Members
The next objective your church website needs is to be a tool for your current members to stay up to date on the latest activities and events your church is going to have.
Your website can be the communications hub between your church and your members. You should have a page that lists out the upcoming events for kids, men, women, youth, and community service groups.
This can be a little time consuming but if you also have a Facebook page for your church, there are programs available to connect your Facebook page to your church website and all your activities and events that you list on Facebook can be imported right to your church website. That is what we do at my church.
You can also use your church website to inform your members on your giving goals and allow them the opportunity to give online.
Objective #3 - Inspire Your Church Members And Others
Your church website can become a source of inspiration with audio and video sermons, inspirational writings from the pastor, or even blog posts by other leaders in the church.
Not only will your church members be blessed by what they find on your website, but others in the community will as well.
We have more people that watch our Sunday live stream than attend the church. Some are physically unable to attend on Sundays. Some are families that are out of town. And some are from across the world.
You can post a weekly devotional, upcoming notes for your Sunday School class, or even offer online courses on topics that are of relevance to your community. There is no limit to how you can inspire your church and your community through your church website.
Final Thoughts On Developing Church Website Objectives
Give your website purpose. It is a tool, not an advertisement. It can attract visitors like an advertisement but only if you approach it differently.
So take a moment and get together with your leaders. Since you all decided to enter the 21st century, now is the time to ask yourselves some questions.
Who do we want to attract?
What do we want our website to accomplish?
How can we do that? What are some creative ideas that will accomplish our objectives?
If you do this, and build a nice website for your church that focuses on these objectives. You will see a few of those seats filling up with visitors because of your church website.