I heard a passionate minister talk excitedly and with great pride this morning about his new congregation, so I went to the congregation’s website to learn more.
What I learned is that, if I wanted to worship with his community I would have no idea where to go.
The website has all sorts of lovely words about welcome. It has a nice mission statement. It says, “Visitors, we want to know you!” in all verbal ways.
And yet the front page of the website lists only a mailing address. The site informs me that the congregation is in the midsts of a sanctuary renovation, but nowhere does it say if the project has been completed. I clicked and clicked in vain. One of their site pages was updated in November of 2011. No here there, and no address listed even if I wanted to take a chance on driving to an old address. Another site page about the sanctuary renovation was last updated in 2012. Still no street address.
Nowhere on the site does it specify the location for worship in 2013. Sermon titles are listed, speakers are announced. There is a whole page announcement by the leadership inviting input about when to hold summer services.
But WHERE? WHERE will you be holding summer services?
If the information is on the website somewhere, it should not take a seeker more than one click to find it.
Some tips for church websites:
Your congregation’s first page should have the street address of your worship space so that people looking you up on mobile devices (which is a huge majority of your potential visitors) can input your address into their GPS device. A Google map link does me no good if I’m in the car or have decided at breakfast that I want to come to church. A list of driving instructions is fine, but give me both.
Your congregation’s website should identify the year on the front page. As a frequent traveler, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up to an empty building for a community event that was held the previous year. That hurts.
More images, less text. Unless you worship a building (hey, we all know a few “Churchitarians,”) don’t feature a solo photo of a building on your front page. A congregation is people. And they should look engaged. And the photos should be good.
But more than anything, and right away, for heaven’s sake let people know where you are.