One of the best ways to see if a church is right for you is to check out the latest sermons. This is why it’s important to create the perfect church Sermons page.
By having a dedicated page, it’s easy for your site’s visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for.
While you do have quite a bit of leeway with how you set up and organize your sermons, there are a few things to keep in mind to make it more engaging for your visitors.
Ensure It Loads Quickly
Your Sermons page can often be your most sluggish page, especially if you have numerous videos embedded in the page. However, the most important thing to remember is your page has to load quickly, no matter how much media is on it. Otherwise, visitors will leave.
Google continues to push faster page loading speeds. In fact, Google refreshed efforts in 2017 to create a faster Internet. Every second
Of course, you have to ensure this page loads fast on all devices, including mobile. As of 2018, the average page loading speed for mobile was still 15 seconds, which is still far too long.
A few ways to prevent this page from being sluggish and hurting your church site’s rank include:
- Limit the number of videos on the main page
- Link to the videos versus embedding them, at least for older sermons
- Upload to YouTube and link to them from your site
- Ensure your web host has the bandwidth to support simultaneous streaming without any lag
Start With A Sermon Image
You might have realized this is a common theme between all of your main church website pages. Your church Sermons page is no different.
Yes, visitors will see your sermons in action when they watch a video, but it’s always nice to welcome visitors to your page with a friendly image. In this case, you want an image from a sermon.
It can be something as simple as the pastor standing at the pulpit talking. You could showcase the choir behind the pastor. You could even have members coming up to the pulpit to interact with the pastor. As long as it’s actually your church and your service, you’re good.
While it’s not required by any means, you could go a step further and add scripture or a friendly message in the header with your image. It’s just that little something extra that helps your church’s site stand out from the rest.
Showcase Your Featured Sermon
Some churches just have a long list of sermons and leave it at that. While that does get the job done, it just looks kind of plain and boring, not to mention outdated.
Instead, showcase your featured sermon, which is usually your latest sermon. If you’re opting for the list format (completely fine), having your featured sermon listed at the top along with an image or the video itself makes your page seem more engaging.
If you’re doing a sermon series, you might feature one or more of the sermons and link to the rest. Or, you can feature the entire series. The idea is to draw the eye and make visitors want to start interacting immediately.
Organize Your Sermons
You’ll likely find this is the most difficult part of putting together the perfect church Sermons page. With so many possibilities, it’s hard to choose which one is right for your church. Before we get into some of the more popular options, here are few ways to determine what might work best for your audience:
- A/B testing – try different layouts to see which gets the most engagement. You can try this on your live site or with a group of beta testers, such as your members, who fit your desired audience.
- Let your members vote on what they like best.
- Base it on how many sermons you want to list at a time.
- Adjust based on the feedback you receive from visitors.
- Check out other church Sermon pages from fellow churches.
Of course, personal preference factors into the decision to. Just be sure to continuously measure the performance of your Sermons page to see if you need to change anything.
Honestly, there isn’t a right or wrong way to organize your sermons as long as they’re easy to find and interact with. Some of the most common options include:
- A long list of links with zero to a few videos on the main page – This can be highly effective and increase page loading speeds. However, ensure you have a search function if you have numerous sermons. Times Square Church does this well.
- A featured sermon with a blog – This option starts with a featured or latest sermon along with details about the sermon. After this is introduced, other sermons are listed in a blog-style format. Broadway Baptist Church has a good example and even allows you to filter sermons by
preacher, which is an added bonus.
- A sermon index – This can be effective or overwhelming, depending on how the page is laid out. Your Sermons page functions as a large index, listing all of your sermons. Hinson Baptist Church does a surprisingly good job of this layout and includes a search and date filter, along with adding the latest 12 sermons at the top.
- A blog format – If you just want to keep it incredibly simple, list your sermons like blog posts. It is a bit harder for visitors to dig through past sermons, but if you use clear categories/tags, this can work well for you. Christ Church Fox Chapel organizes their sermons well in this format.
- A visual organization – This one can be combined with any of the above, though it can make lists too lengthy. Simply adding an image or a video still helps to grab attention.
Naturally, these aren’t the only options. In fact, Godspeak Calvary Chapel does something completely different, but still has one of the most engaging layouts.
This church starts off by asking you to choose between Sunday AM, Sunday PM and Wednesday PM sermons. Or, you can just jump to the sermon archive. No matter what you choose, you’re presented with well-organized visuals that group sermons into themes, such as different books of the Bible.
It’s only when you’ve chosen the type of sermon and theme that you’re taken to a blog-style layout. What makes Godspeak Calvary Chapel so unique is the layout makes it easy for mobile users to navigate.
No matter what type of organization you choose, keep the following in mind to make it better for your visitors:
- Make it mobile friendly – no one wants to try to tap tiny links on a phone.
- Make it easy to choose between multiple sermons at once.
- Provide a date and descriptive name for every sermon.
Consider Different Sermon Formats
While most people might default to videos, this isn’t the only type of sermon format you can offer on your church Sermons page. For instance, Times Square Church does more than just list a bunch of links to sermons. Instead, the church includes multiple ways to interact with the sermon.
Most sermons are available in audio only and video. Plus, you can also download the audio or video to take with you on the go. This is a convenient option for visitors who might want to listen while driving or watch when they don’t have Internet access.
Considering many mobile data plans are still limited, it’s a good idea to at least offer an audio only option to help visitors save on their monthly usage. Going the extra mile and providing downloadable options is nice too, though it may mean you’ll need more bandwidth and storage from your site host.
One final option is to include a transcript. Visitors can save the transcript, highlight certain portions and use it as part of their own Bible study. You’d be surprised how many people want to save transcriptions of their favorite sermons to their phones or even print out to put with their Bibles.
Offer A Search Function
The more sermons you have, the harder it becomes to find anything past the last few weeks or months. The last thing you want is endless page numbers or an infinite scrolling page. After all the hard work you put into recording the sermons and uploading them, you want to make it easy for your site’s visitors and your church’s members to find all of your sermons.
The best way to do this is with a search function. All your site visitors have to do is enter a keyword, pastor name or guest speaker name to see a filtered list of results.
Another option, and one that works well alongside the search function, is a filter. People who are new to your church or site may not know exactly what to look for. Offer filters based on speaker, topic, book of the Bible and any other relevant criteria.
One thing to keep in mind is you have to add keywords to your sermon titles and descriptions to ensure they can be found via your search function and filters. At the very least, have tags or categories for every sermon.
Include Upcoming Sermons/Events
Many churches only list their current and previous sermons on their church Sermons page. While this is obviously good, take it a step further and start building excitement for upcoming sermons and speaker events.
It’s usually a good idea to add the upcoming events to the right side or bottom of the page. If you’re planning on having a guest speaker or pastor, include a quick bio or a link to their bio. This will help bring more people not only to your site, but your church too.
If you have a sermon series coming up, list an overview of the entire series along with the start and end dates. Think of your sermons as a major product release. It’s all about getting people eager for more. Teasing what’s coming next encourages visitors to make visiting your church’s site a weekly thing. Even if they don’t have a home church, your site becomes their place to worship.
Name And Describe Each Sermon
You might have noticed that some of the churches we referenced above didn’t follow this rule. However, to increase views, sharing and overall engagement, don’t stop at just the name of the sermon. Sadly, some churches just list the date and nothing more.
One main reason to add a name and description is for search purposes. First, the keywords in the names and descriptions make it easier for your on-site search function to bring back the right sermons.
Second, the names and descriptions are indexed by search engines. If someone is looking for a sermon via Google, your church’s site could be one of the top results.
You don’t have to use long descriptions, especially if you’re using a list format. In some cases, a longer sermon title also serves as the description. However, if you want both a name and description, opt for one or two short sentences to quickly sum up the sermon’s purpose.
One note about improving your search rank – name your sermon videos and audio files. Using a descriptive name for the upload helps search engines to better index non-text components.
Offer A Way To Subscribe
Even if you don’t have a church newsletter online, your church Sermons page is the ideal place to ask visitors to subscribe to be notified of new sermons and blog posts. This makes it even easier for visitors to worship on their schedule without forgetting about your church’s website.
Some churches place a call-to-action on the side or footer of the Sermons page. For those with a blog-style layout, adding a link to subscribe within the post works well.
If you upload multiple sermons weekly and even have guest speakers/pastors often, you might want to include a verbal call-to-action at the end of the sermon to sign up to avoid missing out on any sermons.
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I think that our church has truly mastered this to the core and their live church sermons has nothing been short of spectacular! Big thanks to Keion Henderson and his church staff and volunteers for really giving their best for us in the community!
Now I see how much effort is put into stuff like this. A church sermon must be well thought of and reflected on and I think one outstanding example of a great Pastor on this is Keion Henderson. I just get so hooked on his sermons.