One thing brands spend a lot of time on is a headline or tagline. It’s a one-liner that helps describe the brand and why the audience might like it.
A church headline does the same thing. In fact, you can call it a tagline or slogan. However, many churches use “headline” for their main website headline and “tagline” or “slogan” for various campaigns or on church signs.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s an important part of your church’s website. However, creating the right one for your church might take a little time.
Why A Church Headline Matters
Your home page is often the first page visitors see on your church website. You obviously want them to read more than just your home page. This is why your church headline matters. It takes them from simply a visitor to someone who’s eager to learn more.
According to Copyblogger, 80% of people read a site’s headline. However, only 20% read the rest of the site copy. You definitely want more than 20% of your visitors to stick around to read more.
If you don’t have a headline, visitors might not see a point in sticking around. If you have a bad headline, it could easily give the wrong impression of your church.
Your headline matters because it can make all the difference when it comes to keeping visitors on your church’s site longer.
What Is A Church Headline
With all this talk about church headlines, you might still be wondering exactly what a headline is. It’s usually one sentence that encompasses what you offer to others. It can also be something inspiring or motivating, such as Nike’s “Just Do It.”
In some cases, a headline can be two or three short sentences. By short, this means only two or three words each. Your headline should fit across the top of your website without using a tiny font that no one can read.
It might seem impossible to grab visitors with one sentence, but brands have been doing it for years. Nonprofits have been doing the same, which you can see from these examples.
Since “tagline” and “headline” are often used interchangeably when it comes to the main welcome message on your website, you can also think of headlines as taglines.
Of course, headlines are also used to describe email subject lines, blog post titles and landing page titles. For the purposes of this post, headlines apply to the first major line on your church’s home page. It can also serve as your church’s tagline or slogan.
Focus On Your Audience
The most important thing to remember when creating the perfect church headline is to focus on your audience. It’s easy to think more about your church versus your members and site visitors. After all, the headline is going on your church’s home page, so it should be mainly about the church, right?
Yes and no. It can be about your church, but describe what your church offers versus the history of your church or what your church needs.
For example, a church-focused headline might be “A growing church that’s eager to welcome new members.” It’s welcoming, but more about your church’s need for members versus why people might want to become members.
A more audience-focused headline might be “Offering a hand to hold on your new journey.” This is still welcoming in new members, but saying that you’re their to guide them as they start a new journey with your church. It also inspires people to want to start a new journey and proves it’s safe since you’ll be there to help them.
When your church headline focuses on the audience, it’s far more engaging. It draws them in and shows that your church just wants to help them versus your church needs them to boost member numbers and tithing. Obviously, the latter is important, but you gain more members by helping people.
Address A Problem
If you’re scratching your head and trying to figure out where to start, try to address a problem. The best headlines look at common problems their audience has. For instance, your site visitors might have doubts, fear not being welcome in a new church, think God won’t forgive them or any number of problems.
Create a list of common problems you hear about from members, random people you talk to and even reasons people give for not going to church. Think about faith-related problems you have yourself.
Every great headline starts with a problem and then moves on a how the brand can solve that problem.
Provide A Solution
That leads to providing a solution. Visitors already know they have a problem they want solved. Now, they’re searching for that solution. Does your church have it?
If the answer is buried on your about page somewhere, they might never find it. If it’s displayed prominently on your home page, they’ll see it right away.
So, how can you solve the problem you came up with in the previous section? Let’s take a common problem – doubt. Many people struggle with doubt, no matter how faithful they might be. Perhaps they’ve tried other churches, but were made to feel like if they had any doubts or questions, they weren’t Christian enough.
Your job when creating a church headline is to show that your church can help them solve their problem. A headline that address this problem might be “Easing doubts and answering questions on your journey with God.”
You’re telling visitors that it’s okay to have doubts and questions. You’re also saying that your church helps with that and that it’s a natural part of your own personal journey with God.
Yes, it says a lot in a few words, but it solves a problem and encourages the visitor to see exactly how your church does this.
Leave The Mission Statement For Later
Your church headline isn’t the same as your mission statement. However, you can use your mission statement to as inspiration for your church headline.
Typically, your mission statement is what your church wants to accomplish. Of course, this can also be a way to solve the problems of your members and visitors.
If you’re trying to come up with a place to start, look carefully at your mission and transform it into a solution for your members. Then, you’ve got something close to a great headline. A little tweaking to make it engaging and catchy and you’re all set.
Condense Your Site To One Sentence
Another approach is to condense your entire church website into one sentence. This isn’t exactly the easiest method, but one you might find effective if you’re struggling to figure out your church’s purpose and how your church truly helps others.
Start by summarizing each page of your church website. Break down each page into two or three sentences. Then, start condensing those sentences until you’re down to one.
This exercise is courtesy of Pro Church Tools. The idea is to imagine if you had to condense your site into one page and then into one sentence. This is the core of what your church offers to members and visitors.
Think About Member Questions
Not sure what types of problems to solve? Think about the questions your members have asked recently? What about new visitors?
While all the questions won’t apply, many will. What seems to be a common theme? You can also look at testimonials. How has your church helped members? If your site visitors leave comments or followers on social media talk to you, what positive change has your church brought to their lives?
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just members. Talk with people in your community. Ask what they’re dealing with. If they don’t attend a church, ask why. You don’t have to be pushy. Instead, just explain why you’re asking. You may find that many members of your community are interested in church, but just aren’t sure what your church can help them with.
While you don’t have to get overly creative, skip generic. It’s all too common for a church headline to say something like “A place to worship God.” That’s definitely true and to the point, but that’s also the exact description of every other church. Why would someone choose your church over another?
Your headline needs to be meaningful. Skip basic and go with something that truly embodies what your church does and offers. It’ll resonate more and bring more people to your site and church.
Some of the most effective church headlines have something in common – they provide hope. Sometimes, people begin looking for a relationship with God during the darkest time in their lives. They want to find a church that offers the promise of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Let people know that there is hope for better days. While your church can’t magically fix whatever might be going on a person’s life, you can help guide them as their grow stronger in their faith. Having someone there to help is often all someone needs.
They work through their problem or problems by learning how to talk with God. Having a church family supporting them along the way is the hope they need to start on this new journey.
Outside of hope, people want to feel welcome. This is actually a large part of what your church website is meant to accomplish. Welcoming people to learn more. Welcoming them to worship with you. And, welcoming them into a loving church family, wherever they might be in the world and on their road to growing closer with God.
The headline from earlier about those with doubts and questions is an example of a welcoming headline. It shows that everyone, no matter where they are in life, are welcome to your church to worship together. It makes everyone feel equal
Use A Corresponding Image
Nothing makes your church headline stand out more than a corresponding image. It sets your headline apart from any other text. Plus, images are always a great way to grab a visitor’s attention.
Try to find an image that fits with your headline. This might be a picture of some of your members, volunteers hard at work, a pastor hugging a member or anything else that fits.
Thanks to free online tools, you can create your own church graphics to use. The great part is you can use the same tools to create graphics for your church blog posts, social media posts and even worship slides in church.
Keep It Simple
One of the biggest things holding churches back from creating a great headline is churches think they need to be literary geniuses. However, headlines are simple. You don’t need to be Shakespeare. You just need to be authentic.
The irony is your church headline may actually be harder to come up with than your next blog post. However, a simple headline that grabs a visitor’s attention could be exactly what leads them to read that next blog post.
Ask For Help
Creating a church headline isn’t a one-person job. Meet with your church staff to discuss ideas. You can even ask your members and local community to submit ideas. Holding a contest is a great idea if you’re having trouble.
Often, it’s easier for a third-party to create a great headline. They see your church in a different way that a staff member does. They’ll describe your church based on how you’ve helped them or the area, which is exactly what your church needs.
See What Others Are Doing
The best source of inspiration is often other churches. Pro Church Tools has a list of 19 church headlines from real churches. They describe why the headline is so effective, which can be helpful in trying to come up with your own. As always, be inspired, but never copy.
A church headline needs a great home. If you need a church website or your site needs some upgrades, contact us today to let us help while you come up with your headline.