Your church likely has plenty of opportunities for members to get involved with your church. But how do you make it clear how visitors can become members and how members can further get involved? How do you customize your website to guide website visitors to different opportunities?
With the right church website design, including content and design elements, you can encourage people to take action towards growth. Follow these best practices to create powerful "next steps" on your church website.
How to Create Powerful 'Next Steps' on Your Church Website
1. Identify Who
Establish ‘who’ will be taking each step.
Do: Have someone in mind when writing out your content. Empathize with their needs, think about their questions, and speak into their growth. If you don't know the answers, don't be afraid to ask people in your congregation, even if it's very informal.
Do Not: Assume the person viewing the page has a background in the church. The first step for someone may be to find out they are welcome to visit on Sunday morning.
Example: Here at Monk Development, builders of Ekklesia 360, we think about 4 different personas in the church.
- New - I’ve just found your site and looking to visit.
- Regular - I’ve come a few times and am starting to feel comfortable. I really want to know more about small groups.
- Engaged - I’ve been actively involved on Sunday mornings, my kids love youth group and I’m looking for information on membership.
- Mature - I really want to start mentoring young families. Can I lead a small group?
Tip: Speak to the "New Visitor" first. Someone who has been coming regularly will have some prior knowledge. you want to focus on people that have very little information.
2. Identify Each Step
Once you’ve figured out the ‘who,’ then organize the ‘what.’
Do: Jot down every event, class, and opportunity. Group them together based on the personas from step 1.
Do Not: Write a novel. Use detail pages to get into the nitty gritty of each step.
Example: Port City Community Church has 5 simple steps with clear definitions and engaging images.
Tip: Check out Ekklesia 360's brand new Next Steps layout. It allows you to offer multiple next steps in a clean and easy to digest layout.
3. Create a Low Barrier to Get Involved
Now that you have each step laid out, define your ‘calls-to-action.’
Do: Include an actionable next step at each point. For example, provide contact information, an event link, or "signup" button.
Do Not: Give the work to the visitor. If the next step requires a person to fill out a giant form, you are assuming they want to scale a wall.
Example: Fellowship Nashville makes connecting easy by highlighting the next community event and listing how to ‘Grow’ and ‘Serve.’
Tip: Use buttons with contrasting colors to link to an actionable next step. Keep the call-to-action short (1-3 words) and make sure the words are action-oriented.
4. Keep it Human
Your next step is to curate the content.
Do: When writing the descriptions, speak in an encouraging tone. Be passionate because each step is a way to grow closer to Christ.
Do Not: Make visitors feel like they are a number. If the point of a step is to take another step, the process can start to feel like standing in line.
Example: Fellowship Little Rock uses quotes and images to give a personal touch.
Tip: Don't use words that only a theology major will understand. A simple title, basic info, and a call-to-action will go a long way.
5. Tell a Story Visually
The last step is to inject your process with design.
Do: Include images or icons to tell a story and lead visitors through the content.
Do Not: Make the design so complicated that it is difficult to digest.
Example: Grace Church invites visitors to ‘L.I.V.E’ out their faith by connecting with people who motivate each other towards a deeper relationship with God.
Tip: Graphic elements can help explain each step before reading the description. Design is a tool that can be used create interest and clarity, and should always be shaped by the content.
Your ‘Next Steps’ are done! Now what?
Plan to review your next steps every few months to make sure the content is up to date. Check analytics to make sure the page is being used and try different calls-to-action if any numbers seem low.
Looking for more ways to make your church website more fine-tuned? Download our eBook, A Practical Guide to Church Website Features. Click below!