Some of you out there are striving toward making your website relevant. Last year I wrote about how your website is more important than you think. Your website is now your virtual front door. And, it’s your Yellow Pages. Wait, do they still publish phone books? Do some of you even know what Yellow Pages are? Ah, youth!
Once again (it’s that important), your website is both your front door and your Yellow Pages. I recently received an email from someone from a small church. She had both a comment and question – some of you may be able to relate.
We have an old website, cannot really afford to hire someone to take care of it. The person who is working on it hates it and wants to stop.
What can we do?
Here are five quick suggestions:
1. Stop trying to be like larger churches. You just can’t compete. And you shouldn’t. Instead…
2. Make your website more static. If there’s no one who is able to or wants to revise information on your home page, only have items that need to be updated (maybe) every six months. That means list your worship times, childcare information, contact information, welcome statement, directions to your church, and your mission. Boom. That should be enough information to get people through the door. Your warm welcome kicks in once the folks are in your presence.
3. Lose half or more of your “drop down” boxes. For the small church especially, there’s often way too much information to keep up with. If you only have one drop down to choose, list your staff (with a little bio info). Visitors like to know who’s in charge. If you don’t have a staff, list the Lay Leadership. If that’s too much, delete the drop down boxes all together.
4. Keep as much as possible on your website “date neutral.” This is a little like #2. Don't post your church newsletter or sermons unless you’re going to change them out every month. Don’t post your Christmas Eve services unless you plan on updating the website the following week. Think about your website through the eyes of a person who is solely interested in visiting you. In your case, less information may really be better.
5. Make the images/pictures you use on your home page count. I’ve written about this numerous times. United Methodist Communications (aka UMCom) has lots of very helpful articles on this as well. Here are two: Get tons of clicks: Choosing the right images and Breaking the chain of clip art for free. Take the time to get the right photos on your site and be sure they reflect who you are (i.e., don’t post photos of lots of kids if you only have two children who come regularly). Be authentic.
And yes, doing the above will take some time (and maybe even a bit of money if no one knows how to “do” a website). But just like the Yellow Pages, once the basics are in place, it won’t have to be changed every week or even every other month. Hallelujah!
Your website should be a sincere reflection of who you are – even at its most basic. Not everyone needs bells and whistles. Isn't that a relief?
Do you have a website you’d like to brag about? I’d love to see it. Send me a link.
This is an edited reprint originally posted February 21, 2018.
Photo credit Benjamin Lambert on Upsplash.