Building or improving your church website may feel daunting.
What should you include?
What details are most important?
What design elements do you need to take into consideration?
There are countless tips, tricks, and hacks you can use.
But there’s one thing you cannot afford to miss:
Make sure your website is simple and easy-to-use.
An easy-to-use church website with clear messaging will make your visitors’ experience more enjoyable and help them to find the info they need.
This also means visitors to your site will be more likely to return and interact with your church community.
To help you get started, here are six ways you can improve your church website to boost engagement.
Let’s get to it!
Make navigation easy-to-use
Keeping things simple starts with the navigation of your site.
Make sure that labels are clear, words aren’t confusing, and there are not too many options.
Ask: “What’s the simplest way we can get a visitor from point A to point B?” And then plan accordingly.
Make navigating your website easy, and your visitors will be able to find what they need AND they’ll be less likely to leave in a hurry, buying you those few extra minutes to connect and share your vision.
Create a clear call to action
It’s important for each page of your site to have a clear purpose or call to action.
To illustrate this point, I like to use the example of Google versus Yahoo.
Remember the days when Google and Yahoo were competing search engines?
Yahoo’s homepage, if you remember, was filled with 90 different things you could do.
Google had one.
Today, there’s really only one major search engine people use, and that’s because Google made things really simple for us.
Your church website should aim to do the same.
Ask: “What’s the one thing people came to this page to do?”
Then make that task easy to accomplish.
Keep text brief
Too much text on a web page can feel overwhelming.
In fact, the reality is that the more you write on a page beyond four sentences, the less likely people will actually read it.
A good rule of thumb for creating web page content is to write out everything you want and need to say. Then cut it in half … and then cut it in half again.
You’ll likely be left with just the most important pieces.
Run with that.
Another great rule of thumb is to use as many photos as possible to complement your copy.
Words on words on words can feel dull, and it’s easy to skip over.
Mixing things up with images, icons, and your church’s photography are much more engaging.
Including images and photos is also a great way to share your church’s vision, convey stories, and foster a sense of community.
Establish your priorities
Simplicity on a church website can be tough, because one of the issues that often comes up is the need to communicate so many different things.
You can’t possibly make everything primary, because at the end of the day, there’s just going to be too many options. And that’s where visual clutter starts to creep in.
So how do you please everybody and still make a simple church website?
Establish your top priorities.
This may look like a conversation with you and other leaders in the church, asking, “Well, if we could only pick two things that people could do on our website, what would they be?” Once you’ve agreed on those two priorities, make everything else secondary.
Then, when it comes to questions of layout and of what content to include on your site, think back to your priorities. Focus on making sure it’s simple for visitors to accomplish those main goals.
Test your site
Alright, you’ve simplified your site’s navigation. You’ve established your priorities and each web page has a clear focus and call to action, along with plenty of photos and great content.
You’re all set, right?
It’s now time to test out your site to make sure it’s really working the way you want it to.
Bring in different demographics: bring in some young people, some old people, and everyone in between. Ask: “Can we watch you go download a sermon on our website? We want to see if you can do that. Can you subscribe to our events calendar or sign up for our newsletter?” Then follow along as they do those tasks. Is the site as simple as you think?
If your testers can’t accomplish those tasks, then you need to revisit the tips above and find a better way to make the website work. This is your chance to see where some of the bumps in the road might be, so don’t skip this step.
Over to you
Whether you’re just starting out building a church website or you’re looking to improve engagement with your existing site, keep in mind this overarching theme:
Keep it simple.
The reality is that a simple website is more enjoyable to navigate than a cluttered one.
So by simplifying your site, you increase the likelihood that a visitor will want to hang around for that extra few minutes to catch your vision, hear more about your ministries, and learn about ways to get involved.