Want to know the secret behind some of the top church websites? They all have fantastic church website copy.
Yes, their sites are also filled with useful resources, but their website copy is what draws in visitors to begin with and helps search engines rank their sites.
Thinking of just uploading some basic FAQs and an About Us page? Skip basic and generic and write copy that will actually help you grow your church.
1. Know The Difference Between Copy And Content
Often times, you’ll hear the words “copy” and “content” used interchangeably. While most of the tips here apply to both terms, they’re technically two different animals.
Content applies mainly to content that’s added regularly, such as blog posts or sermons. It can be much longer. While copy may draw visitors in and inform them, content keeps them on the site and engages them.
Write both of these well and you’ve got a combination that’s hard to beat.
2. Determine Who You’re Writing For
The first step to writing fantastic church website copy is to know who you’re writing for. Before you say Christians, you’re going to need to be much more specific.
Since your copy is often the first thing visitors see, it needs to appeal directly to the type of people that would fit well with your church’s purpose and goals. For instance, your copy would be different for reaching different denominations or even non-denominational.
Every audience needs slightly different content. If you’re mainly trying to reach a younger audience, you might even use slang that helps them connect with your church. For an older audience, that slang wouldn’t work at all.
Creating personas is a great way to determine your audience. You should get your members involved here to learn more about why they love this particular church. Personas are fictional representations of who would benefit most from your church and your church’s offerings.
3. Write For Short Attention Spans
As a church leader, you already know people have short attention spans. If you don’t grab them from the first moment, their attention is going to drift in and out at best.
When it comes to church website copy, if you don’t grab their attention immediately, they may leave your site and never come back.
Forbes asked experts for advice on creating more engaging sites. John Leo Weber of ProjectManager.com had some sobering news about attention spans based on data backed by Google:
- Millennials have an attention span of up to eight seconds (that’s actually less than a goldfish)
- Gen Z has a shocking
2.8 secondattention span
- The purpose of your copy should be obvious within four seconds
Weber recommends having someone open your church’s website, look at the copy for four seconds and close the window. They should have a general idea of what the content was about in that short span. Otherwise, it may need work.
4. Place Your Most Important Information First
Since you only have seconds to grab attention, your most important information should come first. You don’t want your website copy to ramble on for four or five paragraphs before you say what’s unique about your church or when services are.
In fact, this is why lists are so popular. It’s easy to rank what’s most important. While you don’t have to use a list for all of your copy, at least make a list in order of importance of what you want to say on each page of your site.
Having this list will make it much easier to write more effective and engaging content that will pass the four second test.
5. Ensure Copy Is Easy To Scan
Whether it’s copy or content, it needs to be easy to scan. This means using different headings and font sizes to ensure the most important parts stand out.
For instance, if you’re writing a FAQs page, you’d want your questions to be larger than the answers. This makes it easy for visitors to scan to find the question that’s most important to them.
HubSpot took a single paragraph and changed it based on the rules for scannable content. The same applies to website copy. Take a look at the difference to see what visitors prefer most.
Spoiler – it’s short, concise and easy to scan in a few seconds.
6. Make It Pretty And Engaging
You see a church site that’s just a bland background and a lot of text. Do you stick around?
What if the site had images of the church and members having fun or helping the community between blocks of text? Sounds more engaging, right?
That’s how your visitors feel too. Yes, it does take extra time to find the right visuals, but consider these statistics HubSpot rounded up about visual content:
- People retain 65% more information when it’s paired with an image
- 32% of marketers say visuals are their top type of content with blogging coming in second
- 54% of people wished they could find more video content (another form of a visual) from brands they like (and that includes your church)
If you want to make your church website copy easier to scan, add in visuals. It makes the page more visually appealing and engaging. Plus, it makes the content easier to remember later.
Just add relevant images. If you’re talking about volunteering, add images of real volunteers from your church. Make sure you get permission from the volunteers first.
7. Persuade Without Nagging
Website copy should be informative and persuasive. However, it shouldn’t nag the reader. For instance, it’d be far more effective to say “we know you’d love our church because” and list the reasons versus having a list where every item starts with “go to our church because.”
The first sounds inviting and persuasive. It’s also informative due to the list. The second sounds like you’re being punished by a teacher and having to write the same phrase on a chalkboard over and over.
Since you’re not trying to hard sell a product, you just want to gently persuade visitors to give your church a chance. The more friendly you are, the more likely they are to stick around longer.
8. Inject Some Personality
Church can be incredibly serious, but that doesn’t mean your church doesn’t have some personality. Something as simple as adding an exclamation point here and there on things you’re excited about makes a major difference in how the copy is perceived.
For instance, if you’re trying to encourage visitors to your site to come to a special event, you’d probably list it on your homepage or Events page. You could write “We’re holding a special event Thursday at 7 PM. Please come join us.”
Or, you could write “We’re holding a special event Thursday at 7 PM. Come on out and join us!” The first
9. Answer All Questions And Then Some
Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in formatting, tone and images, but there’s more to your church website copy. Remember the informative part we talked about earlier?
Your website copy should always strive to answer all questions a visitor might have and then some. For instance, if you’re listing your church’s address (which is a must), go a step further and provide tips on how to find it based on two or three different approaches, such as from two surrounding cities or highways.
Suddenly, you’re going the extra mile to help visitors find your church. This speaks volumes to how helpful your church is and makes people want to visit more. Even if they can’t visit, this is a sign your church is focused on the people, which is always a great thing.
If you need help, ask your members to submit questions they had before visiting or even still have. You should also walk around your community and ask people who aren’t members what questions they might have.
10. Add In Proof From Others
You might think testimonials and reviews are only for products and services, but doesn’t your church provide a service? You provide spiritual guidance, counseling, community service and more.
Depending on your church, you may also offer child care, sports and various ministry groups. So, why not let visitors hear about your church from the mouths (or fingers) of your members and visitors?
While you’ll obviously want to focus on the more positive testimonials, adding those into your website copy adds more value to your words.
Why is your church the perfect spiritual home for someone? List your reasons and then let your members provide their reasons. Plus, as Forbes points out, testimonials aren’t carefully crafted web copy. They’re written like a person would actually speak, making them seem more friendly and credible.
11. Use Keywords Naturally, Yet Infrequently
Keywords will remain a highly controversial topic until the end of time. Should you use them? How often? Long or short-tail? That’s just a few questions and you’re probably already feeling confused.
Let’s make it simple. You should use keywords, such as the name of your church, the denomination and the location, naturally.
For example, don’t do this:
“Welcome to My XYZ Church in Somewhere, USA. We would love if you joined us at My XYZ Church in Somewhere, USA. If you’re in the Somewhere, USA area, you would love the friendly atmosphere for My XYZ Church.”
That’s how you don’t use keywords. You don’t have to drive it home like a jackhammer. Instead, only use keywords like you’d naturally speak. You may only use them a few times throughout a page’s copy and that’s fine.
12. Tell A Story
Remember how you loved being read a bedtime story? What about watching a great movie? How are those the same? They both tell a story.
That’s what your church website copy needs to do. Stories are things that engage people, draw them in and help them relate. Make your church sound more like an old friend versus a company.
After all, you’re trying to build a lasting relationship with your visitors. Start off with storytelling and you’re well on your way to succeeding. Use WordStream’s tips to master storytelling and better reach your church’s audience.
13. Keep It Simple
Much like the heading, we’ll keep this simple. Website copy doesn’t have to be complex. Get to the point without much fluff. Your blog is a great place to get more in-depth and share your thoughts. Imagine someone is only giving you 30 seconds to tell you what’s most important.
Keep it simple, make it scannable and keep it relevant.
14. Showcase The Benefits
This one might sound obvious, but it’s well worth keeping in mind. Your church website copy should showcase the benefits of your church. What makes you different? Why do your members love going there? What do your website visitors love most?
This is also a good way to utilize those testimonials. Let your members and site visitors speak for themselves about the benefits.
15. Spy On Others
It’s not cheating if you take a look at other churches’ web copy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. However, your copy should always be unique. Just pay attention to formatting, how visuals are used and even the tone of the copy.
This gives you a great start on figuring out how to write your own. Remember, don’t copy, just get inspired.
16. Skip The Gimmicks
As a final bit of advice, skip any gimmicks. A flashing image might be eye-catching, but it just distracts from your website copy. Stick to relevant visuals, different size headings and engaging, informative text. Your church doesn’t need gimmicks. You just need to be yourself and speak to your audience.
Is your church’s site ready for fantastic church website copy? Check out our website analysis to see if your site needs any improvements.