One of the best ways to attract more millennials to your church is to create a church website for millennials. You don’t need a second website, but cater your current one to appeal to millennials.
Outside of bringing in younger members, you’ll also attract more people of all ages. Remember, millennials might be considered the digital generation, but the previous generations are the ones who created the Internet and social media.
If your church website meets a millennial’s standards, it’ll appeal to everyone who likes staying online and playing on their phones.
In the age of fake news, millennials want the truth now more than ever. Thrive Global takes a look at generations X, Y (millennials) and Z. What do they want most from interactions, brands, employers and more? They want honesty. This includes your church and your website.
When creating a church website for millennials, be honest. Don’t try to promote your church as something it’s not. Skip the gimmicks. Don’t try to sound cool or laid back just because you think it’ll appeal to them. Definitely don’t try to talk about causes that your church isn’t in any way involved in.
Be authentic. Be the same church online that you are offline. It’s fine to slightly adjust your church’s tone, both offline and online, to better engage a wider audience. However, honesty is what millennials crave.
A Professional Website
Your church website always needs to make a great first impression. Part of that is making sure your site is modern and professional. If your church’s site looks like something out of the 1990s, millennials will think you’re only interested in appealing to a much older crowd.
While attention spans aren’t necessarily shrinking, they’re pickier. With so much information available, millennials aren’t wasting any time on a site that doesn’t immediately fit their expectations. However, a millennial’s attention span is only 12 seconds, which isn’t much time to grab their attention.
Invest in a professional church website that you keep updated as trends change. A quick makeover every few years, along with regular content updates, is usually all that’s required.
Avoid Trying Too Hard
If you start noticing that your church doesn’t really have anyone under 40, outside of their young kids, you might panic. However, don’t! If your church website looks like it’s trying too hard, it could drive millennials away.
Remember, honesty really is the best policy here. Avoid trying to be the next Facebook or trying to appeal to their every interest. You’re a church and that’s what millennials need to see.
A few things you can do to attract more millennials might be:
- Speak more like a friend versus a pastor
- Talk about issues they’re dealing with in a Christian way
- Use more visuals versus just text (actually good for all generations)
You really don’t have to try overly hard. Be authentic and the millennials who are interested will find you.
It doesn’t matter which generation you’re trying to reach, you need engaging graphics. This doesn’t mean that your church website should like Pinterest or Instagram. Use graphics where it makes sense.
You can add graphics between content sections or to showcase something you’re talking about. A great homepage image that shows your church or your church in action is a great way to welcome all visitors.
If you’re presenting facts, consider using infographics. They’re easy to read and they make your facts easier to remember.
Any church website for millennials will need graphics/images to succeed. Otherwise, millennials will get bored and look elsewhere.
Plenty Of Videos
Along with graphics, use videos too. Millennials have made YouTube one of the most popular social networks and video platforms online. In fact, 70% of millennials turn to YouTube to learn something new or find out more about something they’re interested in.
If you want to welcome millennials into your church, use videos throughout your website. Your homepage could host a video that takes them through a guided tour of your church while you talk about your mission, volunteer opportunities, service type and more.
Add videos of your volunteers working and interviews from the people they’re helping. Show your services and special events. Millennials would rather see something than just read about it.
Content That Educates
Something that’s changed with the millennial generation is the content that brands put out. In this case, your church is a brand. Instead of marketing and promotional content, millennials prefer content that educates.
While they fully expect your church to post content asking people to attend a fundraiser or community event, they also want to see educational posts too. They want to spend their time reading content that helps them or makes them think.
Instead of just posting content asking for donations or inviting people to services, focus on education. Use your church website to minister to millennials. Teach them why having God in their lives is important. But, do it through educational and engaging posts.
Think of this type of content as a much more informal sermon. Odds are, it’ll be easy to put together and you’ll reach more millennials in the process.
A Clear Image Of Your Church
Millennials aren’t just searching for your church for the latest service times. They want to know exactly what to expect when they arrive. Use text, images and videos to make them feel like they already know your church inside and out.
Make them feel like the only thing they need to do is meet your members to be a full part of your church family. The clearer image of your church they have, the more likely they are to return when they visit for the first time.
A church website for millennials has to be mobile-friendly. It’s not optional. If it’s not mobile, they won’t stick around. In fact, Google might not even show your site on their mobile search results.
For years now, mobile and desktop browsing have been nearly the same, with mobile edging on desktop slightly. As of January 2020, mobile usage accounted for 52% of online activity, while desktop accounted for 45%. The rest came from tablets.
Since millennials are likely coming to your site from a phone, they expect your church’s site to work well on their device.
You could have the most amazing website design ever, but if the content hasn’t been updated in ages, it won’t matter. For instance, if it’s Thanksgiving, but you still have your special service times from Easter listed, millennials will know that you don’t put any effort into your site.
For them, if you slack on your website, you won’t put much effort into any other aspects of your church. While this probably isn’t the case, appearances do matter.
Putting in the effort to keep your site’s content updated makes a difference. Even if your site only lists your current schedule and upcoming events, keep it updated.
Ideally, you’ll also want a blog with regular content to keep your site fresh. Whether you post multiple times a week or once a month, you’re keeping your site and content updated.
In our 2020 edition of must-know church statistics, we pointed out that many people prefer to give online. Millennials are used to being able to do everything online, including giving.
Ensure your church website has an online giving option or a link to an app where they can give. Even if they never visit your church, but they love your website, they may help support your church through online tithing.
This is yet another reason to keep giving them educational content as it keeps them coming back.
Less Pressure, More Engagement
Millennials don’t respond well to being pressured. This is one of the reasons they hate sites with too much marketing content.
Take a look at your church’s site. Does most of the content feel like going to church is the only correct way to worship? Does it put pressure on them to attend every service or not be accepted as a member? Does it make them feel like they’d have to volunteer often to be a part of your church family?
Your church’s website shouldn’t put pressure on people. Instead, make it about engagement. Give them content and the tools they need to better understand God’s word. Giving them the opportunity to learn and decide on their own versus pressuring them will make more millennials engage with your church.
A Chance To Interact
Based on social media alone, you already know that millennials love to interact with each other and the brands they love. A church website for millennials should offer at least a few ways to interact.
Often times, a blog is enough. Turn on comments and interact with people who respond. If people abuse the system, you might have to turn off commenting, but add a note explaining why. Millennials do understand this.
Other ways to help them interact include online tithing, live streaming (with commenting), social media links, forums and online prayer requests.
Easy To Navigate
Whether millennials are coming to your site from a desktop, phone or tablet, they want it to be easy to navigate. It’s always a good idea to avoid new navigation methods until they catch on. Millennials are used to specific types of navigation and may get lost if you try something too new or too complex.
In fact, every generation might get frustrated if they can’t easily get around on your site, so the easier and more intuitive, the better.
Made For Everyone, Not Just Members
It’s a common mistake for churches to focus their website mainly on their members. This is especially true for smaller churches who might not realize that their site can reach millions online.
While your members will likely be your first visitors, your site will grow if you continue adding engaging blog content and building a social media presence. From there, you’ll start getting visitors of all ages and from all over the world.
Millennials want to see a church website that’s made for everyone and not just your members. Otherwise, they feel as if they’d be excluded if they ever visited in person.
While you should definitely post content that’s relevant to your members, such as reminders about upcoming meetings, include plenty of content that’s for everyone. You’ll keep visitors on your site longer and even turn some of those visitors into new members.
Details On Community Involvement
What’s important to your church? Who do you help? How active are you in the community? Millennials are more focused on social issues than previous generations. Community involvement and the things your church stands for is important.
Add a section to your site about volunteering and showcase what your church is doing. List past projects, ongoing projects and videos of your volunteers at work.
Not only does this show millennials what you do, but helps them to see if your church is a good fit for how they want to volunteer. Consider adding a form to your volunteer page for feedback about potential new opportunities to give millennials a voice.
Sermon Videos And/Or Livestreaming
Sermons are a large part of a church. If millennials aren’t sure about your sermons, they might go to another church. For millennials who travel often, they might actually be searching for a church to help them worship online.
Millennials often look for videos of past sermons or even the chance to livestream an upcoming service. You can offer one or both. Just ensure your site offers some way for millennials to check out your sermons before they visit.
Talk To Your Millennials
One thing churches often overlook is the millennials in the church and community. If you want to build a church website for millennials, ask them what they want.
Post a poll on your website. Reach out on social media. Ask members in your church. Even if you don’t have many millennials, ask the parents of millennials to talk with their kids to see what you might could do differently with your site.
The more feedback you get, the easier it’ll be to fully understand millennials and what they expect from your church’s site.
Interested in developing a modern, professional and engaging church website that millennials will like? Find out more about church web design services today.