Congrats! You finally have a church website! It has been in-the-works for a while, but it is now a reality! What an enormous step to celebrate - - but, guess what? You’re not done yet.
I know it took a lot of work just to get your church website approved, and as much as you would love to have a party right about now, you need to stop and put some serious thought into your content. What is it that people will want to see when they find your sparkly, new website?
There is actually a term for this thought process: “Content Strategy.” It sounds a little fancy, doesn’t it? Like something that needs a committee of eight people and a pile of paperwork. But not to worry - we know that it’s probably just you working hard to utilize this wonderful tool of the world wide web. So, let me explain a bit more in-depth.
Content strategy is oftentimes one of the most forgotten aspects of any church website. In many instances, content isn’t considered until the design is complete, and the programming has been wrapped up. Suddenly, the next question is: “Now what content should we include on our site?” Followed shortly thereafter with, “Now who can we find to write the content for that page?”
We’ve all been there! You may be there right now. The good news: you’re in the right place. We’re going to share several practical tips to ensure your church website has the correct content and is launch-day ready!
Before you start writing content, it’s important to answer a few questions about your church website as a whole, and thenconsider these questions for each individual page. These questions to ask when developing content for your church website are as follows:
By clarifying your audience and placing yourself in their shoes, the answers to these planning questions will help guide you to the specific content that should be included on your church website.
It feels a little overwhelming, doesn’t it. We thought so! Here is a bit of help… thefollowing are 10 of the top pages you should include or add to your church website.
The “I’m New” or “Start Here” page is one of the most important pages of your church website. This page will share what guests need to know when visiting your church for the very first time.
As human beings, we all like to get a feel for what we’re going to be experiencing. Visitors to your website and your church are no exception—that is for certain. Be sure to set the expectation in regard to service times, worship style, programs available for children, and any other items specific to your ministry.
A welcome video from your pastor is a great addition to your church’s “Start Here” page. This video will set the visitor’s expectation as they can do a virtual meet-and-greet with your pastor prior to attending a church service.
This is a great example of a welcome video. It takes some of the “scary-new-kid-feel” away from your guests - and who doesn’t appreciate that?
Your “About Us” page should share general information about your church. Think of this page as your virtual introduction to your website visitors—an online, “Hi Mary, I’m Rohn. So nice to meet you” type of experience.
Your “About Us” page should answer the following questions.
By answering these questions, you can create content that introduces you to new visitors and welcomes them to your site.
Be sure to include a “Contact Us” page in your church website to make it easy for website visitors to engage with your ministry. Yes, this page seems pretty self-explanatory. However, you would be surprised how many churches forget about this page and the important elements of their “Contact Us” page.
Forgetting just a few of the “Contact Us” page key ingredients will leave visitors feeling lost and will drive them to leave your church website. Make the following items a priority on your “Contact Us” page:
Phone Number. Yes, in the digital world in which we live, it is still important to include the
phone number on your church’s contact page. You may have visitors that would prefer to call
in with questions or ask for directions.
Address - email and snail mail. It is important to make your ministry as accessible as
possible, so don’t neglect the basics of your physical address and your virtual address.
Contact Form. There may be those who would like to reach out to the church and prefer not
to make a phone call or must communicate outside of normal church business hours.
For this reason, and many others, it is recommended that you include a simple contact form
on your church website. This form should include capturing information such as name, phone
number, email address, and include a general message box. Once filled out and submitted,
the information from this form will be sent by email directly to your staff from your church
Your “Contact Us” page will be one of the main ways your website visitors can and will
engage with your church. Make it easy for potential guests to reach out and get their
questions answered prior to joining you for your next available service.
Your leadership sets the tone for your church, and so your leadership page should be an accurate reflection of your church ministry. This page gives visitors the opportunity to virtually meet your leadership team prior to visiting your church for the very first time.
While there are many things that can be included on this page, it should not come across as a job resume by including every ministry in which your leadership team has been involved. Include some of the following information:
You may want to be cautious of including your leadership’s young children’s names (guests can meet them at the church). Blood type, driver's license, and social security numbers are also not recommended, but I’m sure you knew that. ;)
Always keep in mind, it’s okay to be human. Yes, you will want your leadership page to communicate effectively and be presented with excellence, but it is also imperative that this page not come across as stuffy, impersonal, and a turn-off to potential visitors. Be yourself, smile, and crack a joke (if that’s who you are). Just be real.
Your leadership and staffing pages provide crucial information regarding the people serving at your church. Take the time to make an engaging page that creates a connection and portrays a welcoming environment for your ministry.
Everyone likes to be “in the know,” and because of this, your church calendar will be one of the most viewed page(s) of your church website. There is a lot to consider when you plan your website calendar.
The church calendar is important as it will communicate to both visitors and current members
regarding upcoming events, as well as how potential church members can engage when
visiting your church. An effective church calendar should be up-to-date to portray a vibrant, active, local church.
Because your church calendar is such a vital aspect of your church website, it is important to
keep a few great features in mind when choosing the church calendar management system you
Don’t take the selection of your church calendar lightly. Be sure to do your research and
select the church calendar that will provide the most flexibility while also being super easy to
view and manage.
Your sermons are a huge part of your ministry—as is your website. So, naturally, having your sermons on your website just makes sense. It’s the perfect way to reach both current and potential members in a variety of ways.
Putting your sermons online plays a different (but important) role in the experience of your various audiences. Whether you post a video, written transcript, or audio recording of the sermon, you have the opportunity to make a big impact.
According to Jonathan Howe, an author for ThomRainer.com, “There should be no hesitation in posting sermons online, not only to inform potential visitors, but also to benefit those who might not be able to make it to the service each week.” (Read the full article here.)
Mmmm… can you smell it? Fresh baked cookies! Believe it or not, your new blog posts are like fresh, homemade, chocolate chip cookies. Now that’s a powerful tool for bringing visitors to your website! Blogs are like cookies because:
Although it sounds delicious, we wouldn’t recommend actually trying to eat one of your blog posts—unless you’re extremely talented and very hungry—well, you get the idea. (And if you don’t, here are ten benefits of blogging on your website!)
Remember, blogs act as an online journal that can document everything from the week’s happenings to personal testimonials about how God has worked in the lives of your church members. Of course, you will want to get written permission to use these personal testimonials before posting.
Good, consistent blog posts also make your church more personable, giving voice and character to everything you’re doing and the things you believe. As conversation is generated by each post you create, you can respond to questions and comments left by readers.
“What do we believe?”
It might sound intimidating to answer, but your statement of faith is crucial to those who are trying to decide whether your church fits what they’re looking for.
When writing these beliefs, it’s important to notehow they are written. Talk to your pastor and leadership to make sure that this page contains all the main points of belief in your church.
Keeping these few points in mind will help:
As a church, and as Christians, sharing what we believe is part of who we are. This page should reflect the beliefs you have, as well as how excited you are to have others be part of them. After all, sharing beliefs is one of the greatest gifts we have!
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” - Psalm 105:1 (NIV)
You have worked hard to reach your community, but if the community doesn’t know what you have, they can’t participate. A page for ministries lets you paint a detailed portrait of everything your church offers. Show visitors your weekend services, weekday Bible studies, children’s programs, community involvement, and any other programming you have.
Even more importantly, this page will house the information needed to get involved. After visitors get excited about all you have to offer, they can call, fill out a contact form, or just show up at the next available opportunity.
Since this page will showcase your church’s activity, consider including:
This is yet another great way to personify your church and make you more relatable. When people see you in action, they are more likely to want to be part of it!
It’s as much an invitation as it is useful content for your website. The “Meet Jesus” page puts all of your other pages, content, and mission into action. Key elements of this page include:
This page encourages visitors to get to know Christ through your church—either in person or online.
With these 10 pages and this information in mind, you are ready tocreate a solid foundation for your church website, complementing all the pillars of your ministry. Get started on your website today—or, if you already have one, see whether there are any content gaps that need to be filled. Try creating a new page (based on these 10) or composing a new blog post.
There are so many ways to improve your content strategy, and all of them are important to your site’s performance. Using this guide, you can optimize your site to its fullest potential!
Content strategy is a big topic. If we left anything out, or if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below!