As a church, your mission in your community can be summed up in six words: welcome newcomers and equip the saints. With that in mind, how can your church website be used as a tool to help you accomplish your objective? Today we’ll give you five ways to move towards your goal by outlining the best practices for church websites.
#1: Use a Content Management System
What even is a content management system, and why is it important? Essentially, it is a system that allows you to manage or edit your content without coding. Many different companies offer this software, but our favorite is WordPress, which is what we use to build most of our websites.
In fact, many churches use WordPress. Several years ago, Five More Talents built software and conducted a study looking at the content management systems of 1500 church websites.
We found that nearly 30% of the websites that were analyzed used WordPress. In addition, more churches used WordPress than any other software. WordPress has plenty of great features that makes it a good choice for nearly any website.
No matter what content management system you use, make sure that it is easy to edit and modify. Your content is the most important part of your website–some estimates say that it makes up over eighty percent of your website’s value. So make sure that you have a good system in place.
#2: Prioritize the Needs of First-Time Visitors
Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you. (Romans 15:7)
Few people drop into a church without knowing anything about it. Most do some research online to find likely churches in their area. For this reason, building a page on your website specifically for newcomers is valuable.
Think about what things visitors might want to know about your church before they attend for the first time. Here are some things to think about as you get started:
- When are your services and how many do you have?
- Where is your church located?
- How does your pastor preach?
- What does the service look like?
- What is your church’s mission, and what do you care about?
#3: Make the Website Useful to Members
How can your website serve your congregation? What would be most valuable to them? Some ideas might be a calendar where everyone can stay up-to-date, a place for announcements and news from the district, or a page of service opportunities. One church built a “Connect” page that helps members find ways to meet, encourage, and fellowship with one another.
No matter what this looks like for your church, think about the options here and don’t waste this opportunity to help your current congregation as well.
#4: Update Your Website on a Weekly Basis
By constantly creating and posting new content, you can help both new and consistent church attendees. Provide a place for recent sermons, new content, and schedule changes. With a content management system, changes like these are simple and easy to make.
One church that we built a website for began to post a weekly note “From the Pastor.”
A little snippet like this could include information about upcoming events, next sermon topics, or devotionals. The important thing is to produce valuable content for visitors and members of your congregation.
#5: Implement Information Security
This may not seem important on a small scale. Who would hack a small church with no valuable information to steal? Actually, this does happen more often than you may think, and it’s not something to mess around with. Take security precautions, and use strong passwords. (WordPress provides a useful tool that ranks passwords strength.)
- Use a content management system like WordPress
- Prioritize the needs of first-time visitors to your church
- Make your website useful to your members, too
- Update your website on a weekly basis
- Implement proactive security practices
We hope you came away from this blogpost with some new ideas and inspiration. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can watch our webinar. Dig deeper by looking further back in our archives for posts on popular content management systems for churches, engaging potential church visitors, building an event calendar, updating content, and creating strong passwords. Whatever you’ve learned today, put it to use for the glory of God.