Time for a quick church website audit. If you’re not in charge, send this to whoever is.
Your church website doesn’t need to be flashy. It just needs to work. People come for information. That’s it. Really…that’s it.
These are the 7 things every church website needs to pass the Stuff Christians Know church website audit.
1. Can I Get There From Google?
Guess what? No one knows your church’s web address. Everyone uses Google to find it. Even your own staff members. Check and see just how easy it is. Type your church’s name and the city and state into Google and see what happens. Try different variations. If your church doesn’t show up in the top spot, update the meta description of your website to include your city and state, and add your church to Google Maps and Yelp.
2. Where Is Your Church?
This sounds obvious, but it’s something that can be easily overlooked if you’re too concerned with making your website look cool. Make sure the location of your church is prominently featured on your homepage. It should take less than 2-seconds to find your church’s address.
3. What Time Does Church Start?
This is another question that should pass the 2-second test. Your service times should be prominently featured on the homepage.
4. What About Events and Registration?
We’ve all heard this phrase: “Get registered for this event on the church website.” Then, we spend 5 minutes fumbling around the website to find the registration page.
Events and registration pages should be easily accessible from the homepage (as well as the specific area of ministry page). Your church should have a master calendar of events with links to registration and more info.
BONUS STRATEGY #1:
If your church has a men’s event, it’s fairly obvious to promote it to men. But, a wise leader will also find ways to promote it to the women. If women know what’s happening in the men’s ministry, the participation will double.
“Hey honey, I really want you to go to the Men’s worship night.”
5. How Many Clicks Does It Take to Find Contact Info?
If I’m a Children’s Ministry volunteer, and I need to contact the Children’s Ministry leader, I’m going to use the church website. Can I get their phone number and email address in one click? Two clicks? Three clicks? More?
Don’t make people go on a scavenger hunt to find contact info for the people they need to reach. This is one of the main reasons people will actually go to your website.
6. Is Online Giving At the Top?
Online giving is one of the top reasons church members will visit your website. A big button for online giving should be in the upper right hand corner of every page of your website. The online giving process should be as simple and easy as possible. And, don’t forget…giving is an act of worship, so don’t make the giving page feel like you’re filing tax papers or registering a vehicle with the DMV.
7. Does It Pass the 2-Second Sniff Test?
The sniff test is this: Can outsiders get an accurate idea of what your church is like in less than 2 seconds on the website? Things that help your website pass the sniff test are:
- Name and location of the church
- Service times
- Picture of the building
- Picture of the lead pastor(s)
- Picture inside the church
- A visual map showing the church’s location
- Size of the church
- Student and Children’s Ministry info
- Something special about your church
- A link to find more information about the church’s history and beliefs
Ask someone who’s never been to your church to visit the website. Have them give you their first impression of the church. This will help you see your website through their eyes and give you insights into what might need clarity or be missing.
BONUS STRATEGY #2 & #3:
Don’t get caught up in trying to make your website look cool.
No one cares. You have probably used Google 100,000 times. Have you ever given much thought about how cool Google’s website is? Probably not. Google is a tool that you use, and your church website is no different. Spend your energy on functionality…not on design. Designs come and go.
Avoid insider language.
Most websites use insider language on their websites. This is a huge mistake. Small groups should be called small groups. Missions should be called missions. And so on. Put on the glasses of someone who has never attended your church before and look at every page of your website. Make sure there is no insider language.
Examples of insider language:
- Covenant groups
- Send team
- C.A.R.E. hour
- Grow outreach
- Forge night
- Connect breakfast
- Financial Peace
- Perspectives meeting
Outsiders don’t know that your Student Ministry is called “Thrive.” So, as far as the website goes you should call it “Student Ministry.”