We all instinctively know the importance of first impressions. We’ve all had job interviews that have required us to manage our appearance and approach so as to make the best impression possible. We also understand how quickly we make snap judgments based on our own first impressions.

How does this principle apply to your church website? How do you make a great first impression with your church website? Why does it matter so much anyway?

Just as first impressions play a huge part in job interviews or dates, they are important for websites too. According to Sweor, most web visitors encounter their first impression of a website within one second of visiting. These snap judgements are not rational decisions. They are split-second decisions made based on the sum of a lot of details. In this article, we’ll explore some keys to making a great first impression with your church website.

#1-Get your logo right.

Your website’s design and visual aspects are one of the most important elements contributing to a great first impression. If the design is clean and aesthetically pleasing, you’ll be better positioned to attract web visitors to favor your website. Alternatively, if your logo is outdated and your website’s design is messy and disorganized, most web visitors will be inclined to leave your site. Your logo is particularly essential to get right. A great logo should clearly communicate what your church or organization is about. It should also look nice! Develop a logo that will catch people’s eye in a good way.

#2-Make your website easy to navigate.

If a web visitor can’t find their way around your website intuitively, they’re not going to stay very long. With the whole web at their fingertips, people don’t want to waste time figuring out one confusing website while hundreds of other options are available. Therefore, you should make the layout and structure of your website and its menus as easy to navigate as possible. Think about what web visitors coming to your site will be looking for. They’ll want to see what your church’s vision is, who’s on your leadership team, what events you are hosting, and what programs your church provides. Your pages should provide this information in a way that makes sense so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for on your website.

#3-Display eye-catching homepage slides.

Chances are high that your homepage will be the first introduction visitors will have to your website. If you add eye-catching homepage slides to greet your visitors, you can draw them in to explore the rest of your website. Great homepage slides have a similar purpose as welcome videos when it comes to the design of your website. They help engage the visitor and offer them something dynamic to look at besides just text, convincing them to stick around and see what else your website has to offer.

#4-Optimize your website’s load time.

Few people are patient enough to tolerate a slow website on their first visit. There are a vast number of alternatives so why should someone wait for your website to load if they can find one that loads much faster? A sluggish website doesn’t make a great first impression. You can improve your website’s load time by managing the size of your files and keeping your site secure. A faster site is more likely to make a great first impression on web visitors than a slow one!

#5-Create an engaging welcome video.

Videos generally grab and hold people’s attention better than text. Most web visitors prefer getting information through video if given the opportunity. One way to impress your web visitors and convince them to stick around and explore your church website is to feature a church website welcome video on the homepage. This gives the visitor something dynamic to engage with and provides them with a reason to continue reading the rest of your content.

Broad Vision + Attention to Detail

You don’t have complete control over how your web visitors perceive your website. You can’t guarantee their first impression will be a great one. However, you can implement these key elements to create a website experience that puts your best foot forward. Making a great first impression with your church website is a combination of establishing a broad vision and attending to the little details. Every detail will contribute to the general design of the website which most visitors will judge their first impression on. Having a general vision is important but so is implementing that vision through the details.

Do you want to learn how to go beyond the first impression? Download our free ebook to find out how to make your church website an effective tool for outreach.

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