Christmas is a busy time for churches, but you should take time for a simple church website fix before the end of the year. Why? This one improvement will make your website instantly better.
Your church website should be the center of all your communication. The website serves as an online hub to inform your congregation and attract your community in the long term.
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many website homepages (the first page a visitor sees when going to your church’s website) became a bulletin board, similar to the one many churches used to have in the lobby.
Those bulletin boards started out organized until someone decided to post a random announcement. Then a business card was tacked on. Then a Post-it note got added. Soon, old things got covered with newer things. Finally, the clutter became an eyesore that became difficult to take in. The bulletin board soon didn’t make sense.
A similar thing might have happened with your church website’s homepage. The goal was to give everyone the information they needed in the “lobby” of the church website — such as random announcements like “watch online” and “important dates.” And like the old bulletin board, over time your homepage has gotten cluttered.
1 simple fix
If that describes your homepage, here’s one simple church website fix to implement before the end of the year: Calm down the homepage.
Research gleaned from analytics across the internet tells us most people don’t stop long on a homepage. Most people spend just 2 or 3 seconds on the homepage. They are not there to find information, but rather to discover the main menu of your website and find the content on an inside page. So putting a lot of content on the homepage hoping that someone will peruse through the clutter isn’t a great idea.
Calm everything down.
Have the menu as the key item on the page. The ideal placement is to the right of the logo at the top. Use the top portion of the page to show who you are and what you’re known for. That usually is a large image (called a hero picture) or video combined with a few words that start telling a story about your church and why someone would want to visit or attend.
It’s OK to have one or two important links near or below that banner to take someone to another page for the specific information they need.
If you have two buttons linking to other pages or content, don’t have them equal in size or color. Make one primary (give it more contrast in color or font or make it larger) and the other secondary (make it a link in a complementary font or color rather than a button).
For those buttons, evaluate what your audience will look for most often. Will church members want the staff page, event listing or calendar? Choose one to be the primary button and one to be the secondary link. Is your goal to engage the community with your website? Think about their needs. They’re looking for something that says “new” or “about us.” Choose one of those to be the primary button and one to be the secondary link.
Then calm everything else down. Clean up the digital bulletin board look! Allow whitespace, establish the look of your inside pages and keep all of them clean, easy to scan and organized.
Need a website?
If your church needs an affordable, easy-to-maintain website, Hosted Church is a great option. Find more information on the service here or call 205-870-4720, ext. 108.
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.