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What the Photos on Your Church Website Say About You

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Previously, I wrote about the Number One Reason Church Websites Fail – problems with images.

In a future article we’ll address the most common image problems and how to fix them. But before we get to that, I think it’s important to take a step back and address two questions…

Why are images so important? And what is the purpose of using images on a website?

There’s a rule of thumb that states in a face-to-face conversation with someone, only 7% of the communication is the actual words spoken. This came from two 1967 research studies done by Albert Mehrabian in which he found 55% of communication is body language and 38% is tone of voice.

Whether those exact numbers are true in all circumstances is debatable, but I think we can all agree that in a conversation with another person, body language and tone of voice communicate a lot.

What does this have to do with websites?

Your website is an attempted conversation with your website visitors, and the text on each web page is only part of what is being communicated.

While a person is reading the text of your website, they have all these questions running around in their head, some conscious, some sub-conscious…

  • Who is “speaking” to me?
  • What are they like?
  • Do they understand me?
  • Are they trustworthy?
  • Do they really care about people like me?

And it’s not just the words on the web page that are speaking to these questions. The colors and layout of the website, the formatting of the text, the tone of voice used in the text, and the images are also speaking. Therefore…

The purpose of placing photos on your church website is to show people who you really are.

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They should demonstrate you understand your visitors, you are trustworthy, you care, and that whatever else you say about yourself in the text is supported visually.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • If you say the church is the people, does the first picture a website visitor sees support this by showing people rather than a building?
  • If you say everyone is welcome at your church, do your pictures support this by showing people of different ages, ethnicities, and physical abilities?
  • If you say you’re a warm, loving church, do your pictures show people acting in warm, loving ways?
  • If you say your church cares about missions, refuges, the poor, kids, or any other group of people, do your pictures show you caring for them?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you now have the opportunity to correct any inconsistencies between your words and your images.

Post a comment and discuss:

  • What’s your single biggest takeaway from this article?

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.