These days, church websites are a must. In order to interact with your current congregation and engage new potential members, you need to have excellent church website design that looks appealing and creates a great experience for visitors. But rather than focusing on cutting-edge components or slick visuals, it’s important to focus on some core features that will help make your website easy to navigate and will clearly highlight your beliefs and values. Although there are other points to keep in mind, we think these five features are among the most valuable:
- Mobile Friendly
According to comScore, internet consumption via smartphone grew by 78% in just two years, from 2013 to 2015. Furthermore, mobile devices account for every two out of three minutes spent online. That’s why it’s so important that your church website design is mobile friendly. If your website isn’t easy to navigate via mobile devices or isn’t structured to look great on a phone screen, you may end up inadvertently turning people away from your site — and therefore, from your congregation. In order for even small church websites to be successful, you need to ensure that the website is just as useful when viewed on a phone as it is on a computer.
- Cohesive and Clean Design
Although your content is of the utmost importance, you need to make sure it’s displayed in a pleasing way. In order to effectively communicate information and draw visitors to your site, you need to have a fresh and engaging home page that is neither cluttered nor dated. Your church website design needs to accurately reflect both the church and the people in it. If you think you have one of the best church newsletters around, make sure people can find the sign-up for your church email newsletter. If you want people to notice your listing of Sunday school activities, don’t bury it with other content or a too-busy design. There are even church website design companies out there who can help you make your site look the way you’ve always envisioned.
- Statement of Beliefs
This might seem obvious, but you need to highlight your belief statement. Don’t make people go searching for it. Potential new congregants want to make sure their beliefs align with those of your church, so you need to make this easy to find. To that end, you may even want to think about adding some materials that will give new members insight about what they can expect in terms of services and education. You may want to put up a Powerpoint sermon outline, video from a recent service, or a personalized message to give visitors an inside look. This can help them to determine whether the church might be a good fit for their family.
- Contact Information
Believe it or not, 51% of people think that thorough contact info is the most important element that’s missing from company websites. In fact, 44% of visitors will leave a site if there is no phone number or general contact information. It’s imperative that visitors feel like they can connect with real people. Visitors tend to crave a personal connection, and this is especially true with any type of religious website. Make sure you have up-to-date listings for staff members and current contact information — preferably for several people. Don’t forget to include your street address and relative location! If you don’t feel comfortable listing personal email addresses or private numbers on your site, create an address specifically for website purposes or use a general church phone number. Make sure to check email inboxes (including spam folders!) regularly so you don’t miss an important message.
- Current offerings
Make sure all your content is relevant to what’s happening now at your church. If listings are out of date or visitors see you’ve stopped updating blog posts or the school activities PDF, this may cause an influx of questions and concerns. Although updating can take a significant chunk of time, it’s important to devote your energy to it. By creating posts regularly, keeping offerings current, and engaging on social media, you’ll increase your credibility and will be able to communicate more easily with visitors.