’Tis the season to get techy! Christmas is not only an important season for planning your Christmas Eve worship service, but it’s also an important season for welcoming visitors to your church. We know that the first place many first-time guests will look before coming to your service is your website.
So in the spirit of Christmas, here are our Top Five things on the "naughty list" to avoid on your church website.
Large Blocks of Text
Nothing screams “click off this page” like a large block of text. It’s easy to go on and on about the things we love. If you love your church, it’s almost hard not to tell the entire story! But if we don’t keep this in check, we find ourselves publishing way more content than readers will actually take in.
As citizens of the Information Age, we all know that the only way to survive in this terrain is to scan webpages for the chunks of information we actually care about. It’s rare that any of us sit and linger on any webpage to take in everything that’s written.
So this Christmas, let’s consider our newcomers and trim, edit, and reduce the amount of content we’re expecting them to read on our sites.
Let’s go back to that wordy page. A common mistake on these long-form written content pages is that they don’t end with a Call to Action. So not only do we force the reader to go along with us longer than they intended, but we also fail to reward them with a well-guided next step.
As church website administrators, it’s important to architect every movement the user makes across your site. How are you leading them to take a tangible step of commitment? Are you asking them to fill out an online visitor card? Are you offering to pray for them if they leave their request? Is it easy for them to sign up for an event?
Imagine every click through your site like a stepping stone across the river of uncertainty to the shores of committed involvement with your church community.
We all know this, but I say this to remind us all. This is important. When a newcomer arrives at your site, if the first thing they see is outdated content, especially ads for events in the past, it communicates loud and clear that your church website (i.e. your digital front door) is not a priority for you.
For the first-time visitor, it throws into question how much you’re anticipating their arrival.
If users have to click and dig for your livestream page, especially on a Sunday morning, you’re already setting them up for failure. This will encourage users to leave your site (bounce) and look for that content elsewhere (including another church).
Make your livestream link hard to miss on the top part of your homepage, so when the panicked church-goer hits your page two minutes before the service begins, they can find what they need easily and continue in an attitude of worship.
This is easy to overlook, but take a second right now and go to your site to make sure there is a little lock icon in front of your URL. If it is locked, your site is confirmed to be secure; yet if it is unlocked, your site is flagged as unsecured.
The danger in this is that it discourages users when they come to give online or offer their personal information on a registration form.
You can take care of this by contacting your support team (if you’re an Ekklesia 360 client) or by going to your domain provider and looking for this option: Renew your SSL certification. Then, mark on your calendar when it expires next so you can keep it up!
As we take time to architect our sites well, we can create an online experience that encourages engagement, not only with our digital presence but also with our actual community, making it easy for people to belong and grow in their faith.
Want to make sure your church website makes the "nice list"? Download this free guide on the 3 things your church website needs to attract and engage new visitors.