Ekklesia recently partnered with the First Impressions Conference to connect and brainstorm with church communicators around the country. As a follow-up to the conference, Ekklesia’s content strategist Ashley Samuelson held the Church Website Revival to help churches identify issues and optimize their website for visitors.
Four churches were chosen and received advice on things like:
- How visual elements like videos and images can capture your visitors’ attention
- The importance of a strong tagline
- Tips to update written content on your website
- Best practices for pathways and landing pages (especially for multi site churches)
In case you missed the video, we have recapped Ashley’s findings below. We hope this advice can help your church alter your website to create the best experience for your members and potential visitors.
Church on the Rock
Ashley started her evaluation with Church on the Rock, located in Lubbock, Texas. The website opens with a great splash page where visitors can choose their preferred location. While this landing is great for people to be able to choose their location, they should only have to land on this page once. Ashley recommended for Church on the Rock to install cookies so that the visitor’s preferred location is stored for future visits.
The church website also features well-designed graphics and consistent fonts and branding. However, the homepage features a slider. According to recent studies, image rotators on homepages can actually deter clicks. Instead of having this slider of events on your homepage, use this space to tell your visitors who you are. Add a short tagline with an image that reflects your church brand.
Additionally, Church on the Rock had quite a lot of text on their supporting pages. Ashley recommended to add accordions where applicable, like for FAQs, to make the pages more mobile-friendly.
Resurrection Church Orange County
Ashley’s next evaluation was for Resurrection Orange County in California. The first thing the viewer sees is a great headline. This is perfect for visitors who are trying to understand the mission of your church, while showing your personality. It’s important not to get lost in the content and be creative with your website. Resurrection’s website features great pictures (not stock!) that shows who their church is.
One area Resurrection could improve on is with their calls-to-action. It’s important to keep your CTA’s short and action oriented. Make sure your CTA’s are buttons, not linked text.
The Christian Church at Cogan Station
Ashley then moved on to evaluate The Christian Church at Cogan Station’s website in Cogan Station, Pennsylvania. The first thing a website visitor notices is a great tagline at the top of the screen. But the graphic has a white background, which can easily be updated by changing the format from a jpg to a png. This will change the background to transparent instead of white.
The Christian Church at Cogan Station also had opportunities for improvement in their text on their website. Large blocks of text will often be bypassed. Instead, shorten your copy and keep your text action-oriented. Instead of writing “We invite you,” try “Meet a friendly face at the welcome center.”
To help break up the large blocks of text, Ashley also recommended to add more images. If you are going to add text on top of the images, make sure the background is muted enough to be able to read the text (don’t have white text over a white background).
The final church Ashley evaluated was Southwest Church in Indian Falls, California. As soon as you enter the site, you are greeted by great graphics, icons, and branding. The website is clear and consistent.
The home page features a slider of events. If you are going to add events on your homepage, try to make sure these events are visitor-centric. This creates a good “on-ramp” for visitors to get involved with your website.
One opportunity for improvement is with their calls-to-action. You need to make the next steps clear for the visitor. By taking a look at your website’s analytics, you can find out where people are clicking, where they are getting lost, and how you can create an easier path for them.
What Changes Should Your Church Make?
Thinking about making adjustments to your church website? You first need to identify the problems. Is your copy misleading? Do you have a lack of staff to keep your website updated?
Once you have identified your problems, you need to sit down and define what success looks like. You need to decide on a measurable “win” where you can track your accomplishments. Be sure to write this down and go back to reflect on these wins periodically.
Once you have your plan of action, it’s time to execute. Hold each other accountable and track your success. If you find that you aren’t hitting your goals, it’s time to reevaluate and figure out what’s impeding your success. We hope these real examples can help you find other opportunities for growth on your current church website!