Toolkit Bann3r

Church Websites

 

Website on PC Screen Vector Graphic

 

Your website could be one of the greatest evangelism tools and has the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands, of people who do not go to your church yet.

The internet is integral in today’s society. It is one of the main ways in which people find a new church. When moving into a new area many, including the author of this piece, will search for a local church online. Your website can help your church to grow!

One essential element to think about in the creation and altering of a church website is the audience that will be using it. Some common members are:

  • Members of the church
  • Christians moving into the area
  • Local non-Christians

These audiences all have different requirements, for example using religious terms will mean little to local non-Christians and Christians moving into the area don't want to see a comprehensive list of who does the flowers or welcomes newcomers. 

Consider what your audience wants and needs and how you can best meet those ​things.

Key items in the planning of a church website

Having too many pages is something to be aware of, especially as it impedes the usability of the website. Aiming for 6 – 10 menu items doesn’t limit the content you can post and makes it easy for the user to navigate. Other important pages are:

  • Welcome. Introduce new users to the Church. What do you believe?
  • Location. How can they find you? Without this you’re unlikely to have first timers arriving.
  • Sunday Service. What happens and is available on Sundays? Where is the service held?
  • Weekly Activities. Which activities and groups run throughout the week?
  • Events. When and where are your important events?
  • Sermons. Recording sermons and making them available through the website is a great way of including people who can’t make it to church and opens up your teaching to thousands!
  • Contact. Who should people contact for more information about your church?
Communicating Church

As a Christian organisation your website is an opportunity to share the Good News of the gospel with your audience. Someone who is exploring Christianity may first go to your website as a starting point. It is a good idea to include some details of what you believe and what Christianity is all about on your website to cater for that audience.

View a guide on providing information about faith.

Things to avoid
  • Out of date pages. In addition to looking rubbish having out of date pages may mean that people don’t trust the rest of the website content
  • Adverts. Adverts may not fit the ethos of the church and impede usability.
  • Animated GIFs. Often found on social media animated GIFs look out of place and add very little to a church website
  • Auto playing items. It can be very beneficial to have videos or audio clips on your website but making them auto play can startle and irritate someone into leaving the website.
  • ‘In Progress’. If your website or webpage isn’t ready to go live to the public then don’t publish it. No ‘Under Construction’!
Some other important things to bear in mind are available below, please click on the relevant tab for further guidance.
 
  • Important Church Website Considerations
    View some important tips to consider when creating, or editing, a church website by clicking on a title for further information. 
  • Homepage

    The most important and obvious page to include is the homepage. It is the first impression someone may have of your church! Again consider the different people who will be using the website and ensure that the information they want is clearly laid out and accessible from the homepage.

    View some useful tips on what to include on the homepage.

  • Images

    People are very visual and respond more to images than to text. Using well laid out and real photos from your church can dramatically increase how visually appealing your website is to the user.

    View some useful tips on using images on websites.

  • Finding You

    Your website will hopefully encourage people to attend church. As such it is essential that it is easy for someone new to know when your services are held and how they can find you on a Sunday.

    Not just relying people to follow instructions on how to find your church is also useful. Embedding a Google Map onto your website is a great way of telling people your address as it allows people to plan their route to the church.

    View a guide to embedding a Google Map.

  • Page Ownership

    Having a consistent style throughout your website is important. However having just one website administrator is inadvisable. There have been many examples of a tech-savvy churchgoer setting up a church website before leaving with no one able to update the website.

    It can be useful to encourage those closest to the content on the page to keep it up-to-date. For instance having the Alpha course leader update the page about the alpha course. This ensures that the page is kept up to date, cuts down on unnecessary emails and shares the workload.

  • Website Content

    Events, News Stories, Sermons and Blogs all make for engaging web content.

    Your website can be a great method of advertising your events and then posting news stories to share how they went. By having a news and/or events page you can have a central hub of information about events, booking onto events and having people viewing your website for regular content.

    Blogs and opinion pieces are another form of regular content that can be hosted on a website. You never know what interests and talents you may be able to discover in your church by giving people a platform from which they can share. Ensure that you identify who the author is, add a disclaimer and bring the content into your house style before posting.

    Sermons can make an especially helpful regular feature on a website. Not only will it inform potential visitors about the type of church they will be visiting but it also helps those regular churchgoers who were unable to visit that service be a part of church.

    View a guide to posting sermons.

  • Privacy Notice

    Particularly with the new General Data Protection Regulations it is essential that we are as transparent as possible with why and how we process people’s data. It is good practice to write and make a privacy notice available on your website.

    View some useful GDPR Resources and Webpages.

  • Search Engines

    Once you have created your website people need to find your website, this applies particularly to search engines and boosting your website to the top of the search results. The use of key words and other websites linking through to your website may boost your position in the search results.

    View a guide to increasing your website awareness.

    Diocese of Guildford Google Card

    Claiming and improving your Google card is another central method of boosting your church website’s web presence.

    The Google Card for your church shows key information about your church, including opening times and contact information. As a primary
    source of information potential visitors see it
    is essential for this to be up to date.

    Setting up the google business card is free and is
    fairly easy to do.

    Churches will need to create a Google My Business listing (or get access to one, if it already exists). Visit the Google support page for help with how to do this. Not claiming this card also leaves churches vulnerable to someone else doing it and providing incorrect information.

  • Accessibility

    Another important consideration for a church website is accessibility. It is essential that your website is easy to navigate your users, especially for those who are visually impaired. Always ensure that your images have an informative text name and that all web content is uploaded in large enough font.

  • Mobile Friendly

    Another important audience to cater for is those who access through mobile devices. In January 2017 there were 4.917 Billion unique mobile users – 66% of the population and a growth of 5% from the previous year.

    View a guide to making your website mobile friendly.

  

Further Assistance

If you would like any support on church websites or social media please get in touch with the communications team as below who will support you however we can.

Where do we go from here?

If you are looking at updating your website or creating a new website the communications team can help provide some advice and providers to develop your ideas. Please contact the team as below for further assistance.

Robert Hargrave Robert Hargrave

Director of Communications

robert.hargrave@cofeguildford.org.uk

01483 790360

Cat Payne Catherine Payne

Communications Officer

catherine.payne@cofeguildford.org.uk

01483 790316

MaryPetersWeb Mary Peters

Information Officer

mary.peters@cofeguildford.org.uk

01483 790355

DanielWeb1 Daniel Taylor

Digital Content and Communications Officer

daniel.taylor@cofeguildford.org.uk

01483 790314

OutOfHours Out-of-Hours Urgent Media Enquiries Contact
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Communications Team

07500 042769

SAFEGUARDING The Diocese does not tolerate abuse of any kind. Enquiries
YOUR DATA PRIVACY View the diocesan general privacy notice and data protection policy.