Does it seem like your church website is a digital trampoline where visitors come and immediately bounce away?
Maybe it’s just eerily quiet and no one’s finding your site. No matter what the problem, improving your church website means more visitors, long visits and even growth in the physical church.
Despite some of these tips seeming simple, they’re powerful and highly effective at transforming your church’s website.
1. Add A New Visitors Page
Where should new visitors go first? A lively church website is filled with information and resources and it can be a bit overwhelming to someone new. If you want to grow your repeat visitors, consider adding a Start Here or New Visitors page that includes a step-by-step guide of which pages to visit first, how to interact with your site and who to contact if they have trouble.
2. Guide Visitors On What To Do Next
You might think it’s obvious, but you’re probably a little biased about your church’s site. One of most important steps in improving your church website is to ensure you’re guiding visitors naturally. From getting them to sign up for your church’s newsletter to immediately understanding how to navigate the site, your visitors need guidance.
We’ve written on the importance of having a great call-to-action before. If you’re completely new to CTAs, HubSpot offers detailed steps on how to write highly effective, engaging CTAs.
The other half of the equation is to ensure the design is intuitive. Think of it as the difference between a simple 25-piece puzzle (intuitive and easy to use) versus IKEA furniture (complex and confusing to put together).
3. Ensure It’s Responsive
Several years ago, the future of web design was responsive design and today, the future is here. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors will leave. With mobile searches now accounting for 57% of Google searches and Google pushing sites to be mobile-friendly or risk a lower search rank, it’s more important than ever to ensure your site works well on all devices.
4. Eliminate The Excess
Improving your church website could be as easy as doing some spring cleaning. Just like with a closet, it’s easy to gradually dump everything on your site. Soon, your site looks cluttered. Of course, this works for background features too, such as having too many plugins running at once.
Take the time to go through your site and eliminate unnecessary plugins and bulky elements from your site that increase page loading times and make it difficult to use the site.
5. Add Real Visuals And Videos
Your church website is supposed to help visitors get to know more about your church. Go beyond stock photos of smiling people who don’t even know your church exists. Take pictures of your members, your church, community events and more. Use those for your church visuals.
Don’t forget to add video content. A quick welcome video or inspirational messages are always a great way to engage visitors. There’s a reason YouTube is so popular. People love video content.
To make the most of visuals on your site, use Google’s guidelines for optimizing image-based content.
6. Add Regular Content
Google likes site with regular content. One of the simplest tips for improving your church website is to add content on a regular schedule, such as weekly. A new blog post, a new sermon, a podcast or any other type of content works well as long as it’s engaging, useful and relevant. For instance, creating quick fluff posts just to fill up your blog won’t give you the results you want.
While it’s a long, technical read, Google does have in-depth guidelines on what’s considered low, medium and high-quality content along with how content is ranked.
7. Make It Easy To Interact
Is your site just there to look pretty or can visitors interact? For instance, are they able to comment on blog posts? Is there a forum to introduce themselves and ask questions? What about an online giving form?
Offer your visitors several different ways to interact with your church directly from your website. This helps them build a relationship with your church and encourages them to keep coming back.
8. Optimize For Local
A large part of improving your church website is making sure it’s easy for visitors to find your site. This means learning a little about SEO, including optimizing for local search. Always list your address on your site along with using local keywords, such as your city name throughout your site.
9. Explain Who You Are
Finally, don’t forget to have an engaging About Us page. It’s easy to put up a bland bio, but this is your chance to improve your site drastically by making it more personable. Talk about why the church was started, what makes the community so close, any personal struggles and anything else that truly helps create a bond between your church and website visitors.
Is your church’s website ready to engage members and the unchurched? Try our free website analysis to learn more today.