It’s easy not to think of your church website. A church website is kind of an out-there-floating-in-cyberspace thing. It’s not as obvious as five-foot weeds in the church lawn. Weeds are obvious. Rain dripping from the ceiling during Sunday worship is obvious. A big fat coffee stain in the lobby carpet is obvious. But a shoddy, nightmarish website? Not as obvious. It’s not staring you in the face every time you come to church.

Bad Website? Big Turnoff.

Although weedy lawns, leaky roofs, and coffee carpets are negative church advertising, a bad website is even worse. This, my friends, is a problem. More people will see the decrepit church website than get rained on through your roof. I’m not saying that you should let your lawn become a trackless wilderness or simply spread a towel over the coffee stain. I’m simply saying that by comparison, a church website is important. Very important.

The truth of the matter is, a bad website is a big turnoff.

Churches Already Have a Bad Reputation

Churches are notorious for having shockingly abhorrent websites. Church website design is the stuff of legend—broken links, garish fonts, annoying flashing pictures, and a logo at the bottom that tells you its a “TOP 500” something website. Some graphic designers have been known to keel over in a dead faint due to the poor design of church websites (possibly). People love to dig at churches for something…anything, and in the age of Web 2.0, church websites are a mighty fine whipping boy. To find out if your church website is in danger of ridicule, check out this article:   a list of common church website iniquities. Admittedly, any church with less than plenteous means is up against a financial Goliath when it comes to trying to make a decent-looking church website. But still…

Quote:  “I’d sooner not have a website than have this representing my church.”

Consider this rant from a frustrated church website user. This is a real life comment:

“May the HTML gods have mercy. Every last element on that page is an absolutely-positioned div (which is why things are overlapping all over the place); the line breaks are hard-coded BR tags; and is it just me? I can’t find a single blessed hyperlink on the entire page. I can’t navigate anywhere. I have this pimply-faced kid staring at me and I can’t change what’s on the page. THERE ARE NO LINKS. ANYWHERE. How are the rest of you guys navigating around the page? Seriously – I’ve tried in both Firefox and Safari on my Mac and it’s nothing but text, no interactivity whatsoever.

I’m sorry – I sometimes give passes to churches because they don’t have money, and a lot of older churches just don’t have anyone in their church that they can guilt into making a decent website. There are some badly-designed sites; this is so bad it’s off-putting. Do they not realize this? How can they look at this site and think, “Yup, that’s acceptable!” I’d sooner not have a website than have this representing my church.”

<Ouch!> Harsh? Yeah, maybe. But does he have a point?

Yes. Indeed.

Bad websites are indeed off-putting. They are a big turnoff. They are a bad way to represent your message. And that is precisely why I say that this is a problem.

No More Excuses

In all understanding, I admit that church websites are a tough row to hoe. They 1) cost money (usually way too much), 2) take time (pastors don’t have much of this), and 3) are complicated for the uninitiated tech newbie (web design isn’t in the secretary’s job description.) I truly understand.

So, without trying to induce any more shame and guilt, I’m going to introduce a solution: Sharefaith church websites. They’re free (for Sharefaith members). They’re easy (even for the newbies). And they automatically look very cool (they’re professionally-designed).

Check out these awesome websites.

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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