Some church website homepages feature just about every piece of information a visitor could possibly search for, while others look like barren wastelands. So which way is right? What actually should be on this page?
Before you start throwing pictures and calendars and links up on your homepage, consider the overall function of your church website.
Who is your church website for and what is its purpose?
Your website primarily has two audiences: the people who are already a part of your church community and those that are checking you out online before visiting. Which category they fit into will determine what they’re looking for. Your website needs to serve all these people—but especially potential visitors—starting with the homepage.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span is now just 8.25 seconds—down from 12 seconds in 2000, and even less than that of a goldfish! That means your church website has only a few seconds to provide visitors with the information they need, or they’ll likely take off.
What your homepage should be
These items should be included on your homepage or just a click away through obvious links:
- Location and campus information
Visitors can only attend your church if they know where to find you. If you’re a multisite church, provide details about each campus.
- Service times
List the times for all your weekly services. Multisite churches should also make differing service times at various campuses extremely clear.
- Contact information
Don’t force people to spend ten minutes trying to reach you with questions about your church. Include your phone number, email address, and a contact form so visitors can quickly communicate with you in the way that’s most convenient for them.
- What to expect
Some type of “I’m new” button should lead visitors to a page that tells them what to expect at your church—how people typically dress, where to park, what the worship style is, if you provide child care, etc.
- Portal login
If you have an online portal where people can give, sign up for small groups, and update their personal information, a link to a login page on your homepage will help them quickly access this tool.
- Social icons that link to your profiles
Make it easy for people to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network where your church is active.
- Last-minute updates and changes
If you adjust service times for the holidays or need to cancel a program due to weather, keep those temporary updates front and center.
Although these items should all be present, you should still try to keep your homepage simple and avoid clutter. A simple menu and clear, easy navigation will help visitors find any additional information.
What doesn’t belong on your homepage
- Give, give, give!
While online giving should be a function of your church website, it shouldn’t be the most obvious call-to-action on your homepage. Keep this within your online portal or link to the tool from within a menu item.
- Doctrinal dissertation
Don’t delve into deep theological issues on your homepage. A “What we believe” page is appropriate within your website, but it shouldn’t take over the first page visitors see.
- Music, GIFs, and stock photography
Your homepage shouldn’t automatically belt out Amazing Grace when visitors land on your website or include religious GIFs or be plastered with stock photos. These are the online equivalent of cheesy church signs and won’t create the positive first impression you want.
What do you think? What should or shouldn’t be on a church website’s homepage?
Check out these other resources for more church website tips:
3 Questions to Ask When Building a Church Website