Sadly, common mistakes abound on church websites. If we correct these online errors, our audience will find solutions and discover the information they need.
Today, many people prefer getting church information online. They don’t want to carry around a printed bulletin, or they forget where they put it. They want to find information and details when they’re ready, and they want a trusted source to conveniently find everything. Your church website should be that place.
Let’s fix these common website mistakes:
1. No location or service times on your homepage. People visiting your website need to quickly know where you’re located. Google also wants to associate your website with searches for churches in your city. When your community decides to visit, they will need main service times. SIMPLE FIX: Add this information as high up on your homepage as possible. Make the location a link to get directions. The service time also can be a link to get the details that a visitor needs to know.
2. No email address or pictures on a team page. Members wonder who’s in charge of ministries when they need to contact them with a concern or request. Your community also loves this team page to see if they’ll fit into your church from the pictures. They look to see people similar to them (gender, diversity, age, etc.). SIMPLE FIX: Add a team (or staff) page under the “About” menu. Ensure each person has a picture. Ideally, those should be similarly cropped headshots featuring friendly expressions. Clearly describe what everyone is in charge of and have an easy way to contact them (phone or email).
3. Improper headline tags on each page. Google wants to deliver search results to your internal pages but may not be able to determine the focus of these pages. SIMPLE FIX: Write page headlines appropriate to the page content, and ensure it’s what would be searched to find the information. For example: use “Kid’s Activities” instead of a branded name like “Awana.” PRO TIP: Place your keyword-rich headline at the top of your page (with keystroke characters/type and not just a graphic). Highlight those words and format them as an H1 headline (usually the largest headline styling) in your content management area. Ensure it’s the only H1 tag on the page, and then use those exact headline words in the first sentence of the first paragraph too. Continue to use those same words 2 or 3 times on the page. Google will love your content!
4. Not enough links on every page. When someone gets to your page for information, they subconsciously ask “now what?” but often have to figure next steps for themselves. It’s frustrating. SIMPLE FIX: Provide 2 or 3 links throughout each page that connect to other information on your website. Near the bottom, think about their next probable step and suggest a link to it. For example: if someone’s on the “Kid’s Activities” page they probably will want a link to the “Kid’s Safety Procedures” page. Bonus: Having a link allows access to the information without taking up space on the page.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, & social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.