When was the last time you performed a major upgrade to your ministry’s website? When was the last time you completely rebuilt your website? How about the last time that you checked that the information all the way at the bottom of your “Our Story” page was still accurate, or the last time you asked yourself, “How do visitors perceive our website?”
Website changes and upgrades can seem daunting to a lot of us. It takes a lot of work, and it is extremely important to make the necessary changes correctly.
Think of your website as your ministry’s online front door. It’s the spot where first impressions are made. It’s where you welcome your guests. It’s one of the things that first-time visitors will judge you on. This means that among the top priorities, your website needs to be welcoming, authentic, and user-friendly.
Take a look at the actionable points below to consider as you reevaluate your website and work on prioritizing those characteristics mentioned above.
AUTHENTICITY Who you are as a church is your brand. Every church has its own unique brand. When people hear the name of your church, see your logo, visit your website, or engage with your church online or in person, how do they feel? The impression you have left on them is your brand ‒ it is important that your website is authentic and accurately reflects your ministry.
SIMPLICITY When visitors come to your website they want to find answers quickly and easily. The most common questions for churches are service times and location. To accommodate this, keeping your site simple so that your visitors find information quickly and can familiarize themselves with your brand is key. They then feel a sense of freedom to navigate to additional information like upcoming events and your ministries.
CALLS TO ACTION Every page on your website should have a call to action. Examples include giving, newsletter signups, watching online, and registrations. Giving your visitors action items helps them to interact with you, which leads to you creating pathways within your community.
SECURE Nothing drives off visitors to your website faster than the red triangle next to your domain name saying “Not Secure.” If you are hoping to use your website as a digital collection plate, be sure to take the time to secure your website. If you’re having trouble with this step, give us a shout at ConnectionalRelations@gcfa.org – we’re happy to help you troubleshoot!
YOUR AUDIENCE Who is your audience? The answer: visitors and members; and yes, in that order. Remember, your website is your digital front door. Your first goal is to get people to come and join your community. Your second goal is to provide a great platform for that community to find out information or be invitational to others.
REFRESH Congratulations, your website is built and up-to-date! Now what? Refresh! Try your best to update your website weekly with new information, pictures, and sermon graphics or feeds. Refreshing your website keeps people coming back time and time again. This also helps boost where you show up when someone uses a search engine to find your church or a church in your area. Easy ways to continually update your website are adding sermons each week to your homepage, staying consistent with your events, and creating a blog or podcast that continually receives updates.
SOCIAL MEDIA As you continually update your website, keep your social media accounts updated as well. Share activities, services, and as many faces as you can. You don’t want to bog your social media down with announcements and graphics; make it more personal! The more you update your website with current pictures of members of your congregation, the more those people will click on your Instagram or Facebook icons. Pro tip: these icons should be located on the header or footer of your website for easy access.
MOBILE FRIENDLY Once you have built your website and are working on keeping it updated, you want to be certain that your website is mobile-friendly. A majority of first-time visitors will view via their mobile phones. Since all websites are created on a standard computer screen, the default ratio is set to match that computer screen, not a mobile phone. It doesn’t take too much time and effort to make the adjustments necessary to have a mobile-friendly website, so be sure to take that final step!
Having a quality website that attracts visitors, tells your story, and looks professional should be every church’s goal. It will allow you to build bridges with your community and strengthens you to do excellent work through Christ. Our goal at UMC Support is to walk with you as you go on this continuous journey and assist you as needed. Our success is proven in your growth and the lives you impact for Christ.
If you need assistance with any of these topics or would like us to build you a completely customized website for your ministry, email us at ConnectionalRelations@gcfa.org or call us at 866-367-4232 to get started today!