I am teaching a Communication in Ministry graduate class this term, and we recently spent an entire class session talking about church websites. Why all that attention? Because data shows that 80 percent of potential visitors will visit your website before ever visiting your church—and some never may visit based on what they find at the website.
In a recent article by Brian Dodd for Pastors.com, he points out 10 common mistakes found on church websites. Here are four of the worst:
Not mobile friendly. This is likely the hardest mistake to correct on this list but it’s by far the most important. Research is coming out saying that 60 percent of the Internet is viewed on a mobile device. Other reports tell us that 80 percent of Internet users own a smart phone. To reach people in 2016, your website needs to be optimized for mobile viewing.
Focused on your current attenders. Does your website focus on what your ministries are doing next week? Or does it focus on what the potential guest will experience on a weekend service? Your ministries exist to serve the people already attending your church. Your website exists to attract people to your church. This year 17 million people who aren’t regular church attenders will visit church websites. Having information about your ministries on your website is important, but it shouldn’t be the focus. Your focus should be on what the potential guest will experience when they visit your church. This leads to the next mistake:
Service Times and Location Aren’t Prominently Displayed. I once did an audit of a church website to see which pages were getting views and which ones weren’t. The leadership of the church was surprised to see that over half of the traffic went to their Times & Location page. When potential guests visit your site, they want to know when and where you meet. This should be displayed up front so guests don’t have to go searching for the information.
No Email Addresses Listed. I understand not displaying your lead pastor’s email address on your website. Having e-mail addresses that lead to actual people are a good thing though. When the only contact info listed is a phone number and contact form, your website gives off the vibe that you don’t want people to contact you. By displaying contact e-mails of your staff, you are telling the potential guest that you want them to reach out to your church.
(Read Brian’s full article and all 10 website mistakes.)