The homepage of a great church website is likely someone’s first impression of your church. Likewise, if your homepage frustrates them, they’ll never visit. It’s important that you nail this first impression.
Look at your homepage and ask yourself: “If this is the first time someone visits my website, what do they need to know about me? What do they need to do next? What do they need to immediately understand about our church and its culture?” Your homepage should include the following criteria:
1. Church name, location, and phone number: This seems like a no brainer, right? I’ve been to many church websites where the address and phone number were not on the homepage. You had to go to a contact or location page to find out where the church was located. You want this information prominently displayed on the front page. There’s a high probability that this is the only reason someone is coming to your site.
2. Service times: The second bit of information that’s so important is service times. People will be checking out your site to see what time they need to show up at church. This is a high-profile bit of information. I’d strongly suggest getting it into:
- The first banner in your slider.
- Your website footer (so it’s accessible from every page)
- Your website header
Bottom line: when someone gets to your homepage, the service time should always be visible. Do NOT risk hiding this information in a slide that is only visible for a few seconds.
3. Photos of your people, pastor, and environment: This is one area I feel like the best church websites struggle. I’ve seen websites from prominent churches where, instead of images of the church, they feature local landmarks on the homepage, or just big aerial shots of a worship band. People want to get a sense of your church. Is it casual? Traditional? Does it have people from many demographics? Ultimately, they want to know if it’s a place where they’ll fit in. Think through what your imagery is communicating.
4. Information about the current sermon series: People might not be coming to your website to see what you’re preaching on, but it’s a fantastic way to bait the hook. If you can communicate why they’d benefit from hearing this series, it’s going to be a strong incentive for getting them to visit.
5. Email signup form: Even if they don’t visit your church after coming to your website, you can make it possible to keep communicating with them. Give them an opportunity to sign up for your email list. You can incentivize it by offering things like special sermon series, ebooks, or devotionals. You can use your email list to promote upcoming events, outreach events, and sermon series.
6. Link to download your church app: A church app is another powerful way to communicate what makes your church special. If you have a church app (and you really should), make sure that your encouraging them to download it from the home page.
Giving them ability to watch your sermons on the go, read church blogs, and listen to podcasts can help draw them in. The icing on the cake is that you’re also giving the opportunity to make donations to your church without having to visit.
Plus, this gives your mobile website visitors an opportunity to get a much, much better experience. Instead of keeping them in their phone’s browser, give them a way to quickly download your app and engage with you there.
7. Link to your online giving form: They don’t need to be able to give from your homepage, but if they can give online, make sure the link is prominent. You want it to be as easy as possible for people to give!
8. Links to your social media profiles: Next to your church app and website, your social media profiles are the best way for people to get to know your church. It’s also another way to ensure that you can interact with them more. They might not come back to your website after your initial visit, but if they like your Facebook page you have more opportunities to communicate with them. For example, you can invite them to Facebook events, boost blog posts and videos to them, etc.
Social media can be another opportunity to drive people toward downloading your church app. If you can’t get them into your church, you want them in your app. Not only does this extend your ministry to them, but it also gives you the best chance of getting non-attenders personally invested in your church.
Are you ready to optimize your website? This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a church website that attracts visitors. If you’re ready to learn more about create the best church website possible, download a free copy of The Ultimate Church Website Blueprint.