At this point, we all know that every church needs a website. It is the first impression of nearly everyone who visits your church. If we really believe it’s a first impression for most visitors, we have to be careful not to fall into some of the most common church website mistakes.
Studies show that you have less than three seconds to make a first impression online. Churches today must be careful to not drive visitors away by making some of the following mistakes.
Church Website Mistake #1 – Pastor Focused Homepage
This is the homepage where the main image is a picture of the pastor of the church. While this may help to build your personal brand, we have seen this to be off-putting to most website visitors.
While it is true that the main reason someone becomes a member of a church has to do with the connection they feel with the pastor, your first-time visitors don’t know you yet. Their first impression should be tied to the vision of your church, not the personalities of your church.
Church Website Mistake #2 – Building Focused Homepage
Like the first mistake, this is when the imagery on the homepage is all tied to the building where people meet for 75 minutes each week. Unless you have an iconic building that everyone in a 30-mile radius will recognize, you need to use imagery of people instead.
Even worse is the empty sanctuary photo. People will always engage most with imagery of people. Look for candid shots of life happening in and around the church.
Church Website Mistake #3 – Mobile-Unfriendly Website
Mobile browsing has surpassed desktop based browsing. If you do not have a mobile responsive website, you are making a bad impression on the majority of your website visitors.
A mobile friendly website will give visitors a great experience on any device and will lead many more of them to make a decision to be a first time guest.
Church Website Mistake #4 – Flash Based Slide Show
Stop me if you have heard this one – Flash is bad. There was a time when it was king. It was created in a time before smartphones, and it should have no place in your website.
There are many ways to get the effect of motion without using flash. Video backgrounds and zooming photography can make a great first impression, but whatever you do, don’t use flash.
Church Website Mistake #5 – Hidden Service Times
People can’t visit your services or events if they don’t know when and where to show up. This info needs to be everywhere on your site.
Most sites allow for you to have this information in your header and footer. Even with that, you should have a page of your website dedicated to contact information and service times. Make it hard to miss.
Church Website Mistake #6 – Auto Playing Worship Music
There is no good reason for your site to have background music. We did that back in 2004 and called it MySpace. It is time to let that die because it is only annoying people. Annoyed people don’t visit on Sunday.
Church Website Mistake #7 – Out-Of-Date Information
Is your Easter graphic still rotating on your homepage in July? Your last sermon, is it one you preached 4 series ago? Is your latest blog post titled “Hello World?” If so you have an out of date website.
To visitors, this says something about your church. More often than not an out of date website belongs to an out of date church. The Gospel has no expiration date, but the events on your website do. Make sure you keep that up to date.
What Have You Seen?
These are just some of the many church website mistakes I have encountered over the years. I have seen each one of these more times than I care to remember.
Have you made/seen any of these mistakes? Have you seen any that I missed?
Are You Making Any Church Website Mistakes?
Want to make sure your site is attracting new visitors and not scaring them away? Check out our 100% free church website strategy review. It is full of practical advice to help you see more visitors each Sunday.