As the church and the rest of the world become more accessible and more connected—thanks in large part to the web, social media, and mobile devices—it’s more important than ever that our churches use informative, easy-to-navigate websites. But where does a congregation start? The idea of creating a new website or updating an existing site can be overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips:
Where Should We Start?
When creating or updating your church website, think first about what you’re trying to achieve with it. Is the site primarily focused on educating readers? If so, emphasize key issues they’re facing and the information and resources they need to address those issues. Is the goal of the site to raise funds? If so, focus on sharing stories of impact and inspiring readers to provide financial support. The content of the website should be focused to reflect your goal.
Once you’ve established the goal for your website, start thinking about the kind of content you’ll share. To get started with content development, consider the following:
Who is your audience? This should tie in closely with the goal of your website. Are you providing content for current members of the congregation? Are you providing content for those you seek to draw in to your congregation?
Keep content short and easy to understand. The web is international, and people around the world can find your site. So keep insider language to a minimum, avoid slang and acronyms, and write at a level that can be easily understood.
Write stories and updates in an “inverted pyramid” style. Put the most important information at the top of your story and then provide additional details for readers as the article progresses.
Provide content, not fluff. Provide value on every page of your site. If you’re valuable to your readers, they’ll keep coming back.
Use images strategically. Select images that enhance the text or compel your reader to click to read more. The images should be relevant to your audience and to the text. Use images that depict what your church environment and congregation are actually like; avoid using stock photos or generic images. The best photos will be candid “action” shots, not posed group photos.