Your church home page is arguably the most important page on your entire website.
Think of it as the equivalent of saying “hello” to someone and shaking their hand for the first time. If that introduction doesn’t make a great first impression, visitors to your site may not stick around to see anything else.
Creating the perfect church home page takes a little planning, but the results are well worth it when you see more visitors not only coming to your site, but staying on your site.
1. Describe Your Church In A Single Headline
Have you ever noticed how most home pages have a single headline to instantly grab the visitor’s attention? While this is usually tagline or slogan for a brand, your church can do the same thing. Some brands change the tagline out depending on their current campaign or goals. Once again, you can do the same.
Brandon Gaille lists 35 catchy church slogans. While these probably aren’t the best for your church home page headline, they will give you an idea of how to create a relevant church slogan.
Of course, creating your own will require some brainstorming. One great way to get ideas without spending weeks pondering over it is to get your members involved. Ask them to submit potential headlines for your website. You even ask for taglines for different ministries to use on ministry specific pages.
Church Leaders says the number one step towards finding the right tagline is to revisit your vision. They’re exactly right. Your home page headline should reflect your church’s vision and values. This is your handshake moment.
Your headline doesn’t have to be long, but ideally, it should be the largest font on the page and typically it’ll go over an image of your church to help connect your message with your church.
2. Include An Image From Your Church
No matter what else you do on your church home page, please include an actual image from your church. Some churches use a picture from their church for the full home page background. Others use it as the header image (where your headline would go). Either way, it should be a clear image of the church so anyone wanting to actually visit your church would recognize something immediately.
If you want to get fancy, you might consider using a 360-degree video to let site visitors explore the inside and/or outside of your church. For instance, take a look at the 360 degree video of the Church of Maria Anzbach in Austria. It’s as close to a tour as you can get without coming to the church.
Of course, your home page isn’t the only place you could do a video tour. If you want, you could place a video like that on your About Us page instead. However, you should link to the video (or About Us) page on your home page and say something like “we’d love if you’d take a virtual tour of our church.”
3. List Your Location
One of the first things visitors look for on your home page is the location of your church. Often times, this is how someone found your church’s site to begin with.
They may be looking for churches in a specific area and clicked on your result. However, if the location isn’t obvious in just a few seconds, visitors will move on to other results.
Where you list your location is up to you, but a few of the best places to list it include:
- List the address within the header
- Add the address (with an interactive map) to the footer
- Have a special Visit Us (or something similar) block on your home page with the location
If you want to make this even more helpful to your visitors, add in a map to help people see where you church is relevant to other roads and buildings. You could also add some quick directions from common roads and surrounding areas.
4. Add Social Links
If your church is active on social media, add your social profile links to your church home page. Using social media icons under a “Follow Us” heading works well.
Some churches who are active may put a social media feed on their home page. Usually, it’s limited to just one or two networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. However, if you only post once a day or less, it’s best to just use social media icons versus listing your latest posts on your site.
If you have multiple Facebook pages or groups, you may want to list these on your home page too. Alternately, you could list these other pages or groups on the site pages they’re relevant too, such as a youth ministry Facebook page on your youth ministry web page.
5. List Latest Blog Titles
While this is optional, it’s a good idea to list a few of your most recent blog post titles on your home page. You can devote a small section of the page to your blog feed or place it in the footer.
This encourages visitors to explore more than just your home page, keeping them on your site longer. This is great news for you as it decreases your site’s bounce rate, which improves your overall search rank.
6. Add A Simple CTA For Your Newsletter
Obviously, you’ll need a church newsletter for this one. However, if you do have a newsletter, add a call-to-action to encourage visitors to sign up.
If you want to keep connecting with your visitors, you should consider having a newsletter or at least offering them something in exchange (Bible studies, stories collected from members, etc.) for their email address. You can then message them about upcoming events or your latest blog post.
If you’re not sure how to write and design a great call-to-action, use the proven tips from:
- 6 CTA Best Practices to Push All the Right Buttons for Your Audience
- 17 Best Practices for Crazy-Effective Call-To-Action Buttons
- 31 Call-to-Action Examples You Can’t Help But Click
7. Add Relevant Contact Details
Much like the location, your church home page must have contact details. What if a visitor has a question and wants to call or email your church? They shouldn’t have to dig around to find out how. In fact, if they do have to search for it, they’re not likely to even stay on your site.
You want your church to come off as friendly and welcoming. Putting contact details front and center shows that you’re always happy to talk with your visitors.
Most of the time, contact details are either listed with the location information or in a separate Contact Us section. Some churches even include a contact form or the link to a contact form on their home page.
No matter where you list your contact details, list the hours you’re available or when the person can expect a reply. For instance, how soon are emails answered? What hours is someone available to answer phone calls? Do you have a live chat option and if so, when is it available?
8. Offer Testimonials From Members
Since you’re trying to make a great first impression, you need to describe your church in as few word as possible. While your About Us page works well to explain more about your church, you have to keep your visitors around long enough to want to visit that particular page.
One way to quickly describe your church is to let your members do it for you. Many brands have a series of testimonials that scroll or rotate around the middle or bottom of their home page (just above the footer).
These testimonials are typically just one or two quick sentences explaining why a person likes that brand. Your members know why they love your church, so let them share their experiences with your site’s visitors. Adding several testimonials gives site visitors more insight into your church.
9. Establish Your Church’s Personality
This is one of the hardest things to do on your church home page. You don’t want to include too much content or you’ll overwhelm your visitors. The best ways to establish your church’s personality quickly include:
- Using testimonials
- Using engaging colors that match your church’s personality
- Establishing your message in your headline
- Showing images of your church in action
10. Keep The Page Uncluttered
No one likes a cluttered home page. It’s too hard to navigate and absorb. Even though it’s tempting to put all your content on this single page, don’t!
White space is your best friend. Some church websites just have one full page image of their church along with a headline, menus and a few links, such as a New Here or Learn More About Us. They place all other content in the footer.
Others use a hierarchy structure. Think of it like a newspaper. The main story is the largest. This would be your headline. The next set of stories are slightly smaller and include the next most important content. This might be your location, service times and contact details.
Organize your home page based on importance. The only real exception is details often found in footers, such as social media links and contact details.
11. Make Service Times Highly Visible
Outside of your location, the most searched for item on most church home pages is the service times. After all, if someone is wanting to visit your church, they need to know when to come.
Always list your service times and make them easy to see. Even if you list these in your footer, which is a good idea if someone sees a blog post before your home page, list them on your home page too.
12. Spice It Up With Real Photos
If you’re not using a full page image, spice up the rest of your church home page with real photos of your church in action. This could include an actual service (ideal for your Service Times section), volunteers working (could introduce member testimonials or your top community volunteer activities) or special events (good if you’re listing upcoming events on your home page).
Real photos perform better than stock photos. They also help showcase your church’s personality. Use real photos to start building a genuine relationship with your site’s visitors.
13. List Upcoming Events
Have a special event coming up? Add it to your home page. Often times, churches only put events on an Events page. While you should definitely have a separate page to list all your events, add any that are coming up in the next week or month to your home page.
Maybe a visitor is looking for a new church and they notice you’re hosting a gospel group next Thursday. They see that and decide it’s a great time to visit your church in a more relaxed atmosphere. Just make sure to keep this section updated so it doesn’t make your site seem outdated.
14. Include What’s Special About Your Church
Some might consider this a sub-headline. Other churches actually have a short paragraph on their home page to quickly say what’s special about their church.
For instance, if you could name one or two things that set your church apart from others, what would they be? Maybe you have a few families that have attended your church for three or four generations. You could say your church is the place where age doesn’t matter and even four generations of members call your church home.
It might be hard to sum up your church in a single line or a few sentences, but that small group of words could be just what it takes to grab a visitor’s attention to make them want to interact with your church.
15. Ensure It’s Easy To Engage With On Mobile
Finally, make sure your church home page is easy to engage with on mobile devices. Even if you have a responsive design, too much content on a page may make it hard for visitors to tap the right button or menu. Plus, they have to scroll too much to read the content and see the images.
Test out your home page to ensure it’s mobile friendly in every way. The easier it is to navigate, the more likely visitors are to keep exploring.
Your church home page is just the start to building a lasting relationship with followers online. Contact us today to learn how to start your church site off right.