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Welcome to September! It’s that season when everyone is back from vacation, kids go back to school, and other activities start back up. Many churches recognize this and focus their efforts on outreach.
To help, we are making our theme this month Church Outreach Month, and we’re kicking off a new blog series designed to help you better use your website and other online communication tools to support your efforts to reach people in your community.
Now more than any time in history, potential visitors to your church start by visiting your church’s website before visiting the actual church (in person).
Your church website is your church’s front door. It is absolutely crucial that your website is accessible, attractive, and includes all the information that first time visitors are looking for when they come to your site.
They want to see what the church is about, what the people look like who attend and work at the church, when services are, and where you are located.
Below is a list of 6 elements your church must have on it’s homepage in order to give a great first impression to those who are considering visiting your church in person:
1) Logo: Many church websites have the name of the church in plain text in the header. However, it is becoming more important to have a logo on the church website that incorporates the church name name, style, and key elements of the church’s personality. In addition, once you have a church logo, you can use it on all other print and digital media to create a brand that will be recognizable in your community. Click here to view some of the logos we have created for clients.
2) Large image or image slider just below the navigation menu: Whether you use a single image or have an image slider, having a visually appealing element just beneath the navigation menu is important.
3) Welcome message: Every church homepage should have a written welcome message or a welcome video. If a written welcome message is used, it should be accompanied by a picture of the pastor, so the visitor can associate the welcome coming from the pastor.
4) Pictures of people who go to your church: We are a visually oriented society and most people would rather look at an image that read text. Also, before attending a church many visitors want an idea of what the congregation looks like. This means that you should use images of people who actually attend your church and stay clear of using stock images on your homepage, unless it is just the background to text that is trying to convey a message.
5) Service times: One of the main reasons that a visitor comes to your church website is to see when the services are. Make it easy for them to find this information and include it on your homepage.
6) Contact information: For someone to visit the church, they must know where it meets. Include the physical address and phone number on your homepage. If possible, also include a map (embed a Google map) of where the church meets.
In addition to the above 6 crucial elements to include on your homepage, here are 2 bonus elements that would be extremely beneficial to have on your homepage:
- Most recent sermon: Have a section on the homepage with your most recent sermon or service. This can be in either an audio or video format.
- Testimonials: Many new website designs offer a testimonial slider. Even if your design doesn’t have the ability for a testimonial slider, a single testimonial that is changed out every few weeks is a good alternative.
The website is the church’s front door. Keep it clean, well maintained, and easy to access. – Mark Steinbrueck
What do you think of these elements for your church’s homepage? Are there any others you think are important to have on the homepage? Post your comments below.
If you are interested in talking to someone about a new website or logo for your church, please contact us here.
More Articles in the Church Outreach Series
- Could This Be Killing Your Church Outreach?
- Too Many Churches Make This Mistake with Their Website
- 7 Online Strategies for Your Next Church Outreach Event
- 7 Things on Your Church Website that will Scare Visitors Away
- How Online Reviews Help Offline Church Outreach
- 7 secrets to keeping your church informed
- How to Add Joy to Your Church Outreach