Church Website Faux Pas
by Rick Guilfoil, Founder/CEO, LogixStreet
Most churches have websites. I think it is safe to say that all churches need a website. However, having a website can lead to making some faux pas along the way. In this blog post I will discuss a few common faux pas so you can take note and try to avoid them on your website.
1. Mobile device compatibility - Is your site optimized for mobile devices? It should be. People are using their mobile devices to access websites more than ever. If your site does not scale well for the smaller screen it may become super difficult to navigate and your message will be lost in the user’s frustration.
2. Inward focused information - Your website will obviously contain some information for the current congregation. It is important to make sure the site isn’t so inwardly focused that a new visitor doesn’t feel like they are excluded. In fact, I would say your website should be more outward facing than inward. There are other ways to communicate with your congregation about insider information ( I will discuss that in a future blog post).
3. Service times and locations not obvious - One of the main reasons someone would access your website is to see what time your services are and where you are located. This information should be very obvious on the home page and can even be included on every page of the site (usually in the footer).
4. Inaccurate Images and incomplete content - Many church websites show a completely different face on their website than what is reality for their church. This is misleading to visitors and should be avoided at all cost. Sometimes, in addition to inaccurate images, you find incomplete or incorrect content. Make sure the content is up to date. Make sure your staff page is accurate so people can put a face with a name when they arrive at your church.
5. Make it easy to contact you - Many times people will have a question or concern that they need to contact the church about. I suggest having a contact form on your website. This form would ask for their name, email address, and include a way to enter their question or message. This form would be forwarded to the main church email address so someone could then respond to the contact personally.
6. Too Much or Too Little Content - I have seen many church websites and this is very important. If you have too much content the site is hard to follow and can be overwhelming. If you have too little information, people can’t learn what they need to know. Unfortunately there is not a formula for how much content your site should have. I advise to be as concise as you can and still give all the information that is necessary. Sometimes this could be a blurb on the website with a link to a much more thorough explanation of the topic. The info is there if the user wants it but is not overwhelmed with it as they navigate the site.
7. Huge file sizes - Most of us have cell phones with high resolution cameras. In the recent past, phone images were very low quality and small files sizes. Not so any more. If you take a picture on your iPhone and then post it directly to the site, the file size is most likely going to be too big and downloading the image may take longer than it should. Also, not to open another bag of worms, but there are also search engines you need to be concerned with. If Google finds large files on your site and the load times are long, it will affect your Google rank when people search for your church.
I could go on with additional faux pas but I think these are some of the most common and the easiest to correct. What are some faux pas you have seen on church websites? Have you learned the hard way on your own site? Please share your stories in the comment section.