Your church website should be a welcoming home for anyone wanting to learn more about your church and build their relationship with Jesus.
However, certain things on your site could drive visitors away. No matter how great your content might be, all it takes is a single mistake to make visitors form the wrong first impression.
Before you do anything else on your site, make sure it doesn’t include any of the following eight things that could ruin even the best church site.
1. Personal Opinions
While it’s okay to put some personal opinions on your church website, it’s not a platform for broadcasting every opinion and rant you have. This is why it’s important to ensure any volunteers that help with blogging leave out their own opinions too.
Your church blog should focus on faith, church updates, inspiring messages, answers to questions you’ve recently gotten and similar topics. When a church’s blog is too opinionated, it may make potential new visitors feel judged or intimidated before they even step through your doors.
The same rules apply to social media. Opinions are best left for those closest to you versus placing online where you can never delete them.
Politics are always controversial and they’re not a good fit for your church’s website. Think of your church as a safe haven from the chaos and anger that typically surrounds political opinions. Sadly, if your church suddenly comes out as supporting one candidate in an election over another, you could find yourself losing members and any potential visitors that find your church website.
While it’s okay to speak about certain political issues, such as talking about programs that help the poor in your local community, it’s best to avoid most political subjects. Church leaders are trained to guide people in their faith. Politics is a minefield they aren’t trained to navigate.
3. Numerous Grammatical Errors
No one’s perfect and no one expects your church website to be perfect. However, if it’s filled with grammatical errors, you’re telling your visitors that you’re too busy to care about your website. This translates into them thinking you don’t care about your church either.
A few misspelled words or a dangling participle isn’t the end of the world. When it becomes difficult to understand the content, visitors leave. After writing any content for your church’s site, take a few minutes to read back over it. Better yet, have a second set of eyes check too. Those few minutes could help save your site and church’s reputation.
4. Cluttered Homepage
A cluttered homepage isn’t appealing. When someone visits your homepage, they want to see the most important details first, such as contact details and worship hours. A page filled with announcements, social media feeds, blog feed, calls-to-action and more is overwhelming. Instead of finding anything useful, visitors leave. Ideally, separate your content into different pages and place the most crucial information on the homepage.
5. Auto-Play Anything
Auto-play content might sound like a great idea in theory. However, no one really enjoys bringing up a website only to be bombarded by someone talking or music playing unexpectedly. It’s great to place videos on your church website, but give the visitor the option to play them.
With Google Chrome blocking autoplay content as of 2018, now is the time to remove it from your site. If Google’s blocking it, your visitors definitely won’t like it.
6. Numerous Calls-To-Action
Your church website does need a few calls-to-action. For instance, have a CTA to sign up for your church’s newsletter or to donate. When visitors see more CTAs than actual content, they might think your church is too focused on getting their information versus engaging them.
Focus on a select few CTAs and you might just see better conversions. After all, visitors are more likely to see two or three versus a dozen.
Pop-ups are almost as annoying as auto-play content. For instance, imagine a visitor trying to read a blog post on your site for the first time, but a full screen pop-up appears almost immediately. It’s distracting and could cause them to leave.
If you do use pop-ups, place them on a delay, which gives visitors time to view most of a blog post or get the contact details and hours for your church.
8. Generic Images
Stock photos are easy to obtain, but they’re not always best for your website. After all, if a visitor sees a group of smiling people on your homepage, visits your church and doesn’t see any of those people, they’re going to wonder why your site lied to them.
Your church and your members give you ample photo opportunities. Fill your homepage and about us page with photos of your actual church. If you have a blog post that talks about recent events in your church, use photos from that.
If you do use stock photos, use ones that seem more realistic versus a cartoon or generic smiling person. It’s far more personable and welcomes visitors in.
Is your church website ready for visitors? Try our free website analysis today to find out more about your site.