If the numbers are right, just under half of all churches have websites. The estimates of churches with websites ranges from 43-49%. Effectively, however, far fewer churches have functional websites. According to a Lifeway report, a whopping 42% of churches with websites update those websites only once every month or less. In other words, there are a whole bunch of church websites that are caught in the deathly lurch of seldom being updated.
On the one hand, statistics look good for the number of churches with websites—around half. That’s fine. But a closer look at those statistics makes it apparent that there is still a real problem. Even though a church may have a website, there is no guarantee that their website looks good, works well, and is a useful tool for the church. If you know anything about the stereotypical church website, you would probably agree that the majority of church websites need a major makeover.
We think that every church should have a website. Furthermore, we think that every church should have a good-looking website that is easy to update. I know, we’re crazy.
Now, think about your church website (if you have one). Here are some compelling reasons for considering a church website makeover.
Signs That Your Church Website Needs a Makeover
Church websites are notorious for poor design. Web designers joke about the awful design style manifested by many church websites. The list below should serve as warning signs for a church website that is in need of a makeover. If your current church website has one or more of these signs, it’s time for a makeover.
- The design looks like it’s more than five years old.
- The design or template has HTML or other coding errors.
- There is content that is outdated or irrelevant (e.g., an announcement for an event that has already taken place, an incorrect phone number or service times, etc.).
- The “last updated” date is more than one month ago.
- The design makes use of flashing fonts.
- The design makes use of fonts that appear as if they are flaming.
- There are some fonts that are hard to read due to poor color choice or wacky font choice.
- There is a lack of cohesiveness from page to page.
- There is no clear menu bar.
- There are no photos or pictures.
- There are too many photos or pictures.
- Clipart is overused.
- The landing page is text-heavy, and is longer than two screens of information.
- Important information such as service times, contact information, etc., is either not present on the landing page or is “below the fold.”
- TEXT IS IN ALL CAPS.
- TEXT IS IN ALL CAPS AND HAS MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!
- The picture or biography of the pastor is featured prominently on the main page. (Why this is a problem: a church should not about a personality, unless that Personality is Jesus Christ.)
- The content or text of the website comes across as bragging or holier-than-thou.
- The name of the church is not present on the landing page.
- There are ads.
- The church website is hard to update.
- There is only one geek who can work on the church website.
- The design can’t be easily changed or updated.
- There is no media available on the website (e.g., welcome video, recorded sermon, pictures, etc.).
- The site is impossible to find by searching for it in a search engine (assuming relevant keywords are entered).
- There are more than ten menu items for the main menu.
- There are too many links in the web copy.
- The background image of the website is too eye-catching and/or distracting.
- It is not obvious what the website is trying to promote or announce. In other words, the website has unclear purpose. For example, is this website for a church, or for promoting a particular strain of end-times-prophecy interpretation?
- There are errors of design.
- Text or images are not aligned properly.
- You have to scroll horizontally.
- There are widgets that announce that the website is a TOP-500 or TOP-1000 website of some particular organization.
- There are other banners or awards that declare the website’s top ranking status.
- There are typographical errors, grammatical errors, or other errors with the text.
- There is the presence of Papyrus font.
- There is the presence of Comic Sans font.
- There is a general sense that the website is uninviting, unprofessional, or behind-the-times.
Admittedly, this is a long list, but each one of the errors above are serious enough to warrant consideration of a website makeover. Some of the errors are easier to fix than others (e.g., a typo, Papyrus font), but what we’ve found in our research is that church website errors come in groups. In other words, if a church website manifests one of the egregious errors, they are likely to manifest several others.
Signup for a Sharefaith membership today and get a professional church website, plus 38,000 worship media templates—all for one ridiculously low yearly membership. That will do it for a church website makeover, don’t you think?
If there was ever a time to remain or become a Sharefaith member, it is now!