Who is Your Church Website For?

May 6, 2024

What if we told you that your church website wasn't primarily for your church? That instead, your church website is the front door to inviting more people into your community.

Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” We’re big believers in second chances over here at Sunday Best, but the heart of this phrase rings true: for both individuals and churches, first impressions matter.

For churches, a good first impression begins with a warm welcome. When newcomers evaluate if they’ll return the following Sunday, every thought will be filtered through how they were welcomed. The message, the music, the mission; these are all crucial components. But, without an invitation that tells visitors, “This is for you!” these crucial components will be inaccessible. Just like Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, “...and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” (NLT)

The Obstacles

This reality begs the question, “Where is the very first place churches welcome visitors?” The short answer? Your church website. This might sound obvious in 2024, but you’d be surprised how many churches undervalue the importance of their online presence. An ineffective church website creates obstacles for newcomers, and can ultimately dissuade them from visiting your church. In our time working with churches, here are a few of the most common church website mistakes we see:

  • Poorly Defined Audience: Many church websites are so steeped in “insider language” that they can be difficult to understand for those not already a part of the church. While it’s of course important for church websites to be functional for their existing community, the priority should be engaging and connecting with visitors.
  • Neglected Updates: A church website with photos and information that haven’t been updated in quite some time sends the wrong message. It can make it seem like the church is no longer active, or like it’s declining, regardless of what’s actually going on in the life of the congregation.
  • Confusing Navigation: Church websites that are difficult to navigate are the opposite of inviting. Visitors should be able to find the information they need quickly and easily. When this doesn’t happen it creates friction, and ultimately drives people to close their browsers.
  • Bland Design: You only have a few seconds to engage your audience when they visit your church website. Good design is a visual representation of all the intangibles that make your church family amazing. A lackluster design leaves out some of your church’s best qualities, and can even create negative assumptions for people viewing your site.

The Opportunity

Not that long ago, kids would run over to their friends’ houses, knock on the front door, and ask whoever answered if their friend could come out and play. There’s some risk involved with knocking; what if their friend isn’t home? What if they don’t want to play? Today, front doors look more like phones. Kids are much more likely to text their friends. It’s far less risky to receive a “no” over text than to your face.

The same shift is happening for visitors searching for their new church home: your website is the front door to your church’s community. It takes courage to step into a new group of people for the first time, and for most people, learning about a church’s identity and values through its website feels a lot safer.

A healthy, Christ-centered church should feel like a safe place for people to show up, regardless of where they are in life. But people are complicated, and even the most wonderful church communities have to build trust with new attendees.

In our time working with church websites, we have found that well-built websites build trust, and trust is the first step toward leading people to Christ. A finely tuned website that engages visitors will lead to more people joining your community and meeting Jesus.

How We Can Help

At Sunday Best, we believe great digital touch points will lead to more life-changing, in-person relationships. Our team has over a decade of experience in helping churches transform their websites into outreach tools that turn curious, online observers into excited, in-person visitors.

Each of our websites are custom-made to best reflect the heart and personality of that church, with a special emphasis on engaging and connecting to visitors. Every church is different, so we’ve made sure our model is flexible to fit your needs. You can view our different packages here.

Want to learn how to fix your church website today? We've got a free resource for you. Learn more here.

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“Not to be dramatic, but I’ve never loved a website so much in my life.”