I’ve spent the past 5 years as a worship leader in various small to mid-sized churches. Like a lot of creative types in the church, I have often ended up being the guy in charge of church communications, including the website. Thus, after designing numerous church websites, observing the web design trends of growing churches, and designing websites for other industries and businesses, I've compiled the following list of the most common mistakes committed by church websites. As you read, consider how these mistakes might manifest on your church website and maybe even be open to making some changes.
Mistake # 1 - Information overload
Hello, and welcome to the age of SnapChat, Instagram, and the Facebook news feed. We have entered an era where the human attention span is less than a goldfish. People do not take the time to read paragraphs worth of text on your website. It's time to stop putting them there.
Mistake #2 - Home page sliders
It’s not 2005 anymore. Stop using photo sliders on your home page. They do not work. If you want the data to prove it, just check out this article.
Mistake #3 - “Our church is amazing”
The copy of your website should not be self-promoting. When visitors land on your home page they want to know in a couple seconds how you can help them. They do not care about eloquent mission statements that make your church sound epic. They want to know if you can help them find life, community, purpose, a second-chance, etc. Do not position yourself as the hero who has come to save the day. Instead let visitors know how you can guide them through their relationship with God and others.
Mistake #4 - The “Give” call-to-action
Imagine having greeters stand at your church’s front door on Sunday with the offering baskets and asking people to give to the church on their way inside. Super welcoming, right!? As ridiculous as that sounds, that is what so many churches are doing on their website when they make “Give” the primary call to action. It should be easy to find, but do not place it in the upper right corner or in the middle of the banner image. There are other effective and more welcoming call to actions to put in those places.
Mistake #5 - Newsletter sign-up forms
No one is going to sign up for your church newsletter. It's possible you'd get one sign up a month or so, but it’s just a waste of space. Find a creative way to have people opt-in to your church email list, such as providing them with a 7-day devotional in exchange for their email address. That way you have their email when it comes to time to share important content or church-wide opportunities.
Here's the good news,
There's grace for your web design mistakes
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I'm just super passionate about churches getting their website right. The world of online marketing continues to evolve and the church needs to keep up if we want to effectively reach more people.
Are there any other web design mistakes you’ve seen churches make? Let me know in the comments.