The Biggest Mistake On Your Church Website Homepage

by Bobby Gilles

in Church Communications

Locations and Service Times page for Sojourn Community Church website (sojournchurch.com)Churches, unfortunately, make a lot of mistakes on their websites — particularly the home page: For instance:

  • Cheesy clip art
  • Photos of smiling faces … who have never actually been to your church
  • Sensory overload – every bell and whistle that every staff member could dream of

But one issue flabbergasts me. I can’t tell you how many church websites I’ve visited that had one certain problem. And this isn’t a matter of including the wrong thing on your home page. It’s about what some of you are leaving out:

Your Location And Service Time(s)

Your church website is like your billboard, and like the old Yellow Pages listing. People may be checking out your website for lots of things, but for sure you need them to know where and when you meet. Don’t make them hunt all over your website to find this information.

Include contact information too — email, office phone number and your major social media accounts.

The Multi-Campus Conundrum

What if you’re a multi-site church? What if it’s not feasible to include the street address and service times for every campus on your home page?

We had this problem at Sojourn Community Church, where I am Director of Communications. Our solution was to create a major tab header called Locations And Service Times. This is one of several main headers that appears on every page of our site, not just the home page. Clicking on our Locations And Service Times tab takes you to a page with complete listings for each of our four campuses, as well as a customized Google map of the entire Louisville/Southern Indiana area, with markers showing each of our campuses.When users click on a marker, they can get directions to that campus from their own address.

If you’re a multi-site church, have you chosen another way to communicate your individual campus service times and locations?

Include Your City

Some church websites list their street address but not their city or even state. The reasoning might be, “People in our town already know what town they’re in. They just need our street address.”

The first problem with this is you’re shooting yourself in the foot with Google and other search engines. For instance, if you’re a church in Boston, you want people to be able to type “Boston churches” into a search engine and find you. Make sure you mention Boston on your website.

The second problem is that we live in a mobile society, where people move often and where they have friends and family in many locations. So let’s say I am looking at a church website — maybe I arrived there from a link on Twitter (a friend posted the link to the most recent sermon by this church’s pastor). The sermon is great and the website leads me to believe this is a good, gospel-centered church.

Then I notice the church is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. No way! I was just talking to my cousin on Facebook, who is moving to Cedar Rapids next month and will be looking for a home church. Now I can send her the link to this church website.

But what if “Cedar Rapids” wasn’t listed on the site, or at least wasn’t listed on any main page? What if the only address listing was “123 Main Street”? There is a 123 Main Street everywhere. Now my cousin still doesn’t have a head start on finding a good church in Cedar Rapids.

Not good.

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— Bobby & Kristen

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