If you think your church website looks (or feels) outdated, doesn’t work right, or it’s just plain bad, you’re probably right. And we’d bet other church members or staff think so, too. Some of them might have even told you themselves that they think it’s time for a church website makeover.
You know this already. It’s been on your mind for months, and you’ll get to it when you have the time, money, and energy to do it. Someday.
This is where so many of our ministry partners start out! You’re not alone.
But today, we want to urge you to get that website redesign into gear––because the longer you wait, the more it hurts your overall church mission.
Here’s why it’s worth the time and money to revamp your website.
An old website design isn’t suitable for mobile devices.
Did you know that 80% of those who use the Internet on a regular basis own a smartphone? By using their phone to surf the Internet, smartphone users can easily find information from virtually any location or while they are on the go. While 80% seems like an impressively high number, what's even more amazing is that that number continues to grow. In fact, one statistic shows that by the year 2020, 5.4 billion people around the world will own a cell phone—that's more than the number of people who will have electricity!
If your church website design isn't formatted to respond to the types of devices most people are using, you will lose engagement from that many people.
To ensure your website is suited for mobile devices and that you have a website that keeps up with mobile trends, you'll want to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- How easily can the content be read on a phone or tablet?
- How long does it take for information to load? (Hint: Anything longer than a few seconds is too long.)
- How easily can the user navigate the website on a mobile device and find what they’re looking for?
By answering these questions, your mobile-friendly website will give Internet users a positive experience while keeping them connected to your church.
Your current design isn’t engaging visitors.
In case you don’t have the time to keep up with it, there are lots of new and changing trends in website design. You'll want to be sure to incorporate some of these trends into your website to engage your visitors and make a great first impression. Here are just a few of the latest church website design trends you'll want to be sure to use:
- Captivating images and videos
- "Smart" content
- Updated social media feeds
Remember how important first impressions are in social settings? They're just as important online for the simple fact that they can be nearly impossible to reverse. When a visitor comes to your website and they get a negative or vague first impression, they might decide not to grace the doors of your church.
One more thing––it's 2016! If your website looks like it's 15 years old (and yes, people can tell), your church has already lost the attention of people who are looking for a modern, exciting community to be a part of.
Your church doesn’t think it’s reliable.
How reliable is your church website? Do you hear comments from your members that they don't bother going to the site because it's not reliable or current anyway? It really is worth it to take the time to go through your entire site to ensure everything is correct. This builds your website into a reliable source of information, and it lends credibility to an institution that is supposed to be credible and trustworthy. As you're perusing your website today, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Are the staff photos all current?
- Are there staff pages for people who no longer work there?
- Does your events page still list last year's Christmas celebration?
- Have you relocated but haven't changed the address yet?
- Is all the contact information (phone numbers and e-mail addresses) correct?
If the information on your church website is out-of-date or even worse, incorrect, your members won't think of your site as a credible hub of information.
One of the main goals of your website is to strengthen the mission of your church. If it looks broken or old, your members will not only lose that much opportunity to contribute, they might lose some interest in your church along the way. Keeping your website up-to-date only needs to take a few minutes of your time.
Your website doesn’t allow members a convenient way to give.
Back in 2014, statistics showed that 1 in 10 Americans no longer carry cash. And in other news, writing checks is becoming even more obsolete, especially for those in the age bracket of 18 to 24. In fact, 61% of these young adults never write checks. So while many church members don't carry cash and even fewer write checks, they most likely do use credit cards.
One rule about church websites is that if something can be done online, do it online. And with an increase in the use of credit cards, you'll want to ensure your members have that option. Because of this growing trend of using cards over cash or checks, online giving can increase your donations by 32% (pssst. You can do it with our giving tool)!
One more added bonus about allowing members to give online is that this option makes your website look and feel like it truly belongs in the year 2016.