Monk Development, Inc.
14488 Old Stage Road
Lenoir City, TN 37772
(877) 452-0015 Toll-Free
8:00am - 5:00pm
Mon - Fri (CST)
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1 (877) 452-0015 x2
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Your website is too complicated. There, I said it. But deep down, you know it's true.
If people can't figure out what you want them to do within 30 seconds of coming to your church website, you're on your way to becoming a ghost town. The average surfer has a short attention span (anywhere from five to 12 seconds, depending on who you ask), so your site has to provide users what they want, when they want it.
If you don't, well, you're asking for trouble. Why? According to our own research, 27% of people we polled found their church online. That means over a quarter of folks said, in essence, "if we didn't like the church website, we didn't go to the church."
In our work with churches, ministries and nonprofits, we have found that users of church websites are almost always looking for the same types of information. Here's a list of the four questions your site should answer on the home page:
5. What is your church like? In other words, what are people to expect when they come to your church? Yes, we know you're Gospel-centered (so are most other churches!), but what makes you, you? Tell people who you are, what you believe, who works there, and what visitors can expect when they show up. (And make sure you have pictures from real people in your congregation. Stock photos, though pretty and sterile, are a no-no.)
4. Do you have child care? Admittedly, this question applies to churches that have a younger demographic. But when it applies, oh boy does it apply! If you have a young mom or dad check out your website for the first time and they can't find out if you'll watch their little ones during Bible Study, you might as well have a big, "GO ELSEWHERE!" sign on your home page. Parents want to know their kids will be safe at your church. Go out of your way to answer this question.
3. When are your services? I know what you're thinking: "DUH!" But you'd be shocked at how many churches bury their service times three-, four-, ten-clicks deep! It's like they don't want you to come to their church. Make it easy for folks to join you. Not everyone is an "Every Sunday" church goer. Some folks like to plan out their day and need your service times to do that. Make it easy for them.
2. How do I contact you? Having a contact form doesn't count. That's like the automated phone system of the online world. People want to talk to real people, not contact forms. Give website visitors a real email address, a real phone number, and a real picture of the people they will be contacting. You might get a little more spam than normal, but spam filters are eay to configure and it might mean the world to someone who's never been to your church before.
1. Where are you located? Again, this comes of out of the, "Well, duh!" file. But you wouldn't have to search long to find a church website that hides their location. These churches don't do it intentionally, of course. They (wrongly) assume people want to know about the Underwater Basketweavers Ministry before they want to know the location of the church. If people can't find you, they can't attend. If they can't attend, they can't join. They can't join, they can't volunteer, tithe, contribute, etc. You get the idea. Make sure folks know how to find you.
You'd think these were obvious, but you'd be amazed at how often these basic question get overlooked. Those of us who are stuck in the day-to-day details often forget how vital this basic information is to people. Make sure your church website answers these five basic questions and you'll be set.
If you're not sure these five questions apply to you, set up Google Analytics for your site and look at the data 30 days from now. Take notes on the top ten pages people visit and form questions of your own.
Whatever you do, make sure you give people what they want, not what you think they want. You'll thank us for it later!