As part of my effort to provide quality information on building church websites, I reached out to experts in the field of church websites and asked for some helpful church website tips for those that are new to being a webmaster.
Here is a list of tips that I think you will find extremely helpful as you start your journey of being a church website webmaster.
7 Extremely Helpful Church Website Tips From The Pros
Rob Laughter specializes in a WordPress plugin to use with the Divi Theme. He shares this helpful tip.
Have a written plan for keeping your site content up to date.
Few things about a church website reflect more poorly on your ministry than having outdated content.
As a general rule, try to minimize any time-sensitive content on your site, and consolidate the info that is necessary.
For example, rather than listing the staff that is involved in a ministry on that ministry's page, have a single staff directory that lists all of your staff, including ministry area and position, so you only have a single place to update when staff transitions.
Same with events -- rather than including lists of upcoming events all over your site, have a single events section that you maintain on a regular basis.
Rob Laughter - Churchly
Steven Gliebe specializes in WordPress themes and plugins at Church Themes. Church Themes is one of the premier providers of WordPress themes for churches. He has this helpful tip for new church webmasters.
Make sure your church's location and service times are immediately clear. People don't hang around a website very long when they can't find critical information.
Ideas: Show location and times on your homepage, in the header or footer, create a page with these details and link to it from your homepage and menu.
Create a prominent "What to Expect" or "I'm New Here" page to help make potential visitors comfortable about stepping through your door.
- What are services like?
- How long are they?
- What is your style of worship?
- What is typical attire?
- How does child care work?
Show a few Sunday morning photos. Bonus for creating a welcome tour video.
Steven Gliebe - ChurchThemes.com
Andrew Peters specializes in church website design at The Reach Company. He offers these helpful tips to make your websites more effective.
The first few seconds REALLY matter. Focus on a call to action that engages visitors and funnels them to where you want them to be (whether it be a plan your visit page or a sermons page, whatever communicates best what you're like) without using 'aint we something' undertones.
Get rid of sliders (because they stopped working like 4 years ago) and focus on accurate pictures/video and a headline that stirs the feelings you want stirred in website visitors.
Andrew Peters - The Reach Company
Jason Alexis is the administrator of the Facebook group WordPress for Churches. He gives some great tips about church website security.
Fair or not, Internet surfers who find a website that ‘turns them off’ or is ‘turned off’, almost never visit that website again.
So, it is obvious that all church websites need to take steps to reduce their chances of being hacked.
Here are some ways to do that with your existing website… Is Your Church’s ‘Underwear’ Dirty? Find Out in 30 Secs!
Michael Terndrup from the WordPress for Churches group on Facebook gives this church website tip.
A picture of the church must be on the front page do not make the website about the pastor. Also make sure the menu bar has everything in the right order
Joe Campbell, founder of Praise On, a Christian lifestyle website gives these tips about image optimization.
For most modern websites, images account for over 60% of a page file size. You can drastically improve your website performance by properly optimizing images (especially ginormous headers). Here are a number of tools and techniques to help make your church website load faster for desktop and mobile visitors:
- Photoshop Save for Web and Devices
- Desktop Image Optimizers
- Online Optimization Tools
- WP Image Optimization Plugins
Pro Tip: save original images at the highest quality (100%) before using a third-party tool for optimal optimization.
Joe Campbell - Founder - PraiseOn
Dan Newman over at DL Church Websites gives a great tip for beginner church website designers.
I think the number one question a new church webmaster should keep in mind is does the website reflect your church? It is very important for the website visitors get a feel for what they will be experiencing when they physically visit the church.
Make sure as much as possible to include actual church pictures - not stock photos.
Are the things that are most important to your church prominent on the home page?
Dan Newman - DL Church Website Design
My Personal Tip For Church Websites
Whatever you do, don't use a free website builder like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Wix.com, or Weebly.com. These sites may be free, but the trade off is that they have control of what is put on your website.
They may put inappropriate ads on your web pages. They may decide at some point that your content does not comply with their "community standards" according to their terms of service. Your pro-life event might violate their so-called standards and your website will be deleted without recourse.
So, don't out cheap yourself. You paid for a yellow pages ad back in the day. Spend the money to have a great church website that you are in full control of.
I hope that these church website tips have helped you have a more effective online ministry for your church. I suggest you read our other article on how to make your church website work for you.