A church website is a pretty big responsibility. Thankfully, it’s not impossible to keep up with the responsibility. It just requires a clear head about a few things. Here, we’ve collected a list of ten things that you absolutely must not do. After several years of making websites, and watching people commit nearly every violation in the book, there are the ten most-violated and most-important commandments of church websites.
Here is what you should never do with your church website.
Ten Things You Should Never Do With Your Church Website
1. Leave out your logo.
As a church, people want to know who you are and what you look like. Your logo is the key to making this happen. One of the first things you should do with your church website is add your logo to the header. Thankfully, Sharefaith church websites make this easy to do. You can even edit, resize, and move your logo around in the header, allowing for easy customization and enhancements.
2. Don’t update it.
A church website that is never updated is a church website that is virtually nonexistent. You need to update your church website for three main reasons.You need fresh and updated content in order for people to find you. When your website is regularly updated with good, solid content, your site is more likely to appear in the search engines when people search for relevant information.
- You need regular content in order for people to ensure that you’re present and active. When a website lies languishing in a status of never being updated, it begins to look like a vacant house. After a while, it becomes evident that no one is at home. This is precisely not the image you want to feature on your website. To people who don’t know much about your church, your website is the only sign of life and activity that they’ll see. Make sure it presents your church as it really is — active, engaged, and alive.
- You need good content in order to use your website to its maximum potential. The Internet is driven by content. A church website plays a valuable role in your ministry. You have a chance to tell the world what you’re about, and to present powerful truth. Use it to its fullest by featuring solid, high-quality content, posted frequently
A good rule of thumb is to post new content at least once a week. The best way to feature new content is on a blog. You can easily create a blog, add users, and update it frequently using the features of a Sharefaith church website.
3. Mispell alll kidns, of wourds and ahve . typos
Misspellings are one of the cardinal sins of Internet copy. When you allow misspellings or grammatical errors to creep up on your content, you’re sending the wrong message. It’s a good idea to get a second set of eyes on anything that you publish. Know any grammar cops, English teachers, or “detail-oriented” individuals? Recruit their help, and get them to check your work. There’s a good chance, they’ll catch something that you totally missed! Nothing destroys credibility like a big fat typo on a church website. Avoid it at all costs.
4. Use a website service that nickels and dimes you to death.
A church website is important, and you should be prepared to spend money. But be careful about using website services that want to charge you for every little change you make. A church website should allow you the maximum amount of flexibility, power, and versatility for every tiny change you make.
Since we’ve been a major player in the church website industry for a while, we’ve seen church website companies come and go — companies that use unscrupulous means to make a buck at the expense of gullible webmasters and church volunteers. We’re here to warn you, and to help you, and to ensure that you can protect your budget and still have a powerful web presence.
Check out this list of things that Sharefaith websites provide at no extra charge:
5. Leave out important information.
I look at a lot of church websites. In the process, I see some good ones and some not so good ones. There are four things that your website should make totally clear. These are commonly considered to be the most essential pieces of information for a church website.
- Church name – This one is obvious. You’d be surprised at how many church websites accidentally hide or conceal this information. Refer back to number one — that bit about the church logo — to emphasize this point.
- Church address and directions. Clearly place your physical address on your home page. This is not only church website best practices, but it’s also a courtesy. When people go to find your church, they need to know where to go. Most people these days aren’t looking for a map and detailed driving instructions. It’s pretty easy to just plug an address into a smartphone or GPS, so be sure you keep the address front and center. Maps are optional.
- Church phone number. In search engine parlance, your site should feature the NAP – name address and phone number. A legitimate phone number is a must-have for the homepage.
- Service times. Churches are organization that have activities at certain times of the day. Make sure that you make it obvious when your church meets. If visitors don’t see service times, they won’t show up at all.
If in doubt, err on the side of too much information rather than too little. Featuring your church doctrinal statement, history, leadership bios, all your ministries, and pictures from the latest deacon’s retreat is all fine and good. But make sure that you have the four essentials listed above.
6. Become part of the ugly church website crowd.
“Church website” is sometimes used as a byword for ugly web design. Seriously, some churches just don’t get it. As you work at designing a website, please invest in a service that has done this before and can do it again. Amazing Flash designs, stunning gifs, and garish fonts are not necessary. If you really struggle with design best practices, just go with a template. Boring is better than ugly.
7. Delegate nothing.
A church website is a big task. From creating to sustaining it, the project can take hundreds of man hours. Simply put, it’s a big job. If you’ve been involved in any phase of website design or content creation, you’re probably familiar with the kind of time it takes. A church website ought never to be a one-person job. There are plenty of website tasks that others can help with — designing graphics, writing content, updating, installing plugins, proofreading, copyediting, changing the theme, etc. Find qualified people who can help you successfully carry out the work.
8. Have zero pictures
Ah, images! Pictures are what make the web world go round. Eye-tracking studies show that the most interesting feature of a church website are the graphics. Your church website should make frequent use of really nice photos. Fresh, professional stock photography is a good option. Large hero graphics make it enjoyable to view your website.
Sharefaith uses cutting-edge technology in their graphics editor to make the process of adding and editing graphics really easy. You can upload an image, and instantly make changes to virtually every aspect of the photo. One of the most powerful graphical features of the websites is the ability to use photos and designs from Sharefaith’s vast library of graphics. With more than 50,000 designs, you’ll find something that is perfect for your website.
9. Try to use the homepage for all the wrong reasons.
Of all the pages on your church website, the homepage is most important. This page is your first impression, and first impressions truly matter. Thus, there are few things that you should put on your homepage, and a few things you shouldn’t put on your homepage.
What to put on your homepage:
- Church name
- Church logo
- Church address
- Church phone number
- Church service times
- Images of some sort.
What not to put on your homepage:
- Defining positions. It’s fine if you’re a virulently pre-millennial, pre-tribulational, and dispensational church. However, it may be best to put this information on a subpage, perhaps in your statement of faith.
- Church history. Your church history is, no doubt, an integral part of your church life and identity. However, unless this is the central most distinctive feature of your church (e.g., a historical landmark) then it may be best to place this information on a separate page.
- Pictures of the pastor. As wonderful as your pastor is, he or she is not the most important feature of your church. Featuring photos of the pastor can send the wrong message, but suggesting that your church is personality-driven. Focus on community, but don’t feel the need to feature lots of pictures of your pastor.
10. Lose the password.
Please keep your website as secure as possible, but don’t lose the password. Give enough people access to ensure that you’ll never be locked out. But if you do lose your password, we’ll do what we can to help. Our customer service is pretty good with stuff like that.
The more familiar you become with your church website and church website best practices, the better it will go for you. Web practices are always changing, so it pays to keep your ear to the ground for things will enhance or detract from your web presence.
If you’re looking for cutting-edge websites that allow you to save money and time, Sharefaith church websites are the answer. We’ve just updated our websites with some of the most advanced features in the industry. The latest tools — theme generator and an improved editor — make it fun and easy to update your church website. There has never been a better time to start your church website, or swap your old website out for something even better.