webpages

It’s 2018.  Your Christmas Schedule should be gone from your website and your Lent and Easter Schedule up.  It’s also a good time to see what else needs to be updated on your website so that visitors can find the information they are looking for and learn more about your congregation.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating.

If your ministry doesn’t have a presence on the internet it doesn’t exist.

A few years ago I encouraged congregations with no web presence to at least have a Facebook page.  Facebook pages will show up in Google searches.  If you have a Facebook page, but still no webpage, it’s time to change that and start with a simple webpage, even if it’s hosted on a free site.  Your goal is to eventually have a budget for a professionally designed website on your own site, but you need to start somewhere.  Get yourself a website. 

It doesn’t have to be fancy.

In fact, simple, easy to navigate sites are better than expensive designs with bells and whistles that clutter and distract.  It does need to have a modern look, which means simple, visual with a minimum of written content.   If you still have a webpage that looks like a written newsletter with lots of words, you give your visitors the message that you aren’t interested in keeping up-to-date with the trends in digital ministry.

Here are a couple of examples of free or inexpensive to maintain websites that are simple, modern and easy to navigate.

 

 

marblerockstpaulhamptonwp

What you MUST have on your first page:

 

wp

 

Current Worship Schedule  

 

lol

This should be the first thing the visitor sees as that is what most visitors are looking for.  Do not put it on a slider which requires the visitor to wait through several slides before it comes up.  Also do not put them in with other content as in “We hope you will join us for worship at 10 am on Sundays.”  Do not make your visitors work to find your worship times.

How can they find you? 

maps

You should have a contact page with all the ways people can contact you, including address, phone, and email. However, after establishing what time worship is, the next question visitors will have is “How can I find this church?”  Answer that question on your first page. “Contact information” doesn’t always translate to “directions.”   You can have a clearly marked tab or link “How can you find us” that takes you to a page with a photo of your building for recognition and a map, or you can include that all on your first page.  If you are out in the country, add additional instructions to make it easy to find your church.

Who is the Pastor?

staff page

This can be under a clearly marked tab for Staff or Leadership.  Include a photo, short bio, and links to sermons if you have them.

Other things to Include

Accessibility

accessiblity

Is your church accessible to people with disabilities?  Do you have large print bulletins or hymnals or equipment for the hearing impaired available?  If so, describe what you offer to make worship easier for those with mobility, sight or hearing issues.

Photos of real people from your congregation.

Not stock photos or clipart.

 

realpeople

stpaulmasoncity

St. Paul, Mason City includes videos of members talking about their church

Also – It must be Mobile friendly!  Most people are going to visit your website on their phones.

For more ideas to improve and update or even build a new website for your congregation for the first time, see the following:  Ways to Improve Your Website  and Will 2016 be the year you update your website?

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

Latest Posts By The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

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Digital Ministry