21 common mistakes on church websites

Did you know that most church websites fail to achieve their goals unless they are planned, designed, and executed well?


Do you want your church website to be an effective ministry tool? Do you want to connect better with today’s digital generation?

If you do, what would you like your church website to accomplish? Maybe you want it to draw new visitors to your weekend services. On the other hand, you might use it to keep your congregation connected and informed. As a pastor you want to equip and empower your sheep through resources and contents on the site.

Regardless, is your church website meeting its goals? If you’re pausing to reflect on this question, there’s a good chance that your website can be achieving much more for your church!

Well, we have some good news! We have compiled a list of 21 common mistakes that could be preventing your church website from being a useful ministry tool. Check out this list to identify the online transgressions that your website may be guilty of, and learn how to redeem them.

46% of people decided to visit a church after checking out its website.*

*Source: Network – Church Website Statistics

Not praying for your website

Like most other churches you probably uphold all your ministries in prayer. What about your church website? When did you last pray for your website? Your church website is also a tool for your ministry. So, don’t forget to uphold it in prayer as well. God used a donkey, handkerchief, and mud. He can surely use your website too.


Not specifying website goals

Do you know what the goals of your website are? Perhaps you want your church website to offer visitors information about your service timings and location. Or, maybe you would like it to offer recent sermons, resources, and more. Clearly write down the goals and objectives of your website before you start to build it.


Getting your website built by an amateur

Your church website plays a crucial role in your outreach efforts because it’s the only 24/7 source of information about your church. So, don’t just ask anyone in your congregation who is good with computers to build it. Instead, ensure that your website is designed by skilled professionals, be it in-house or out-sourced.


Focusing on the building instead of people

Remember, it's less about you and more about ministering to people. Focus on how to add value to your site visitors. Isn’t it more impactful to read about people’s testimonies or encouraging blog posts. Ensure that real stories of people in your church are given more visibility than your church building and its history.


Designing website for regular attendees only

Most churches make the mistake of assuming that their website’s target audience is just their congregation. Did you know that over 17 million non-churchgoers visit the website of a local church or place of worship in a year? Therefore, remember to include sections like ‘Plan Your Visit,’ ‘I’m New,’ and ‘What to Expect’ on your website.
Source: Great Matter Research - Online Church


Neglecting the importance of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) enables your website to show up on relevant searches on search engines like Google. Without correctly implementing SEO, your church website will not be visible to anyone looking for a church in your city or area. Therefore, it is essential that your web pages are SEO optimized.


Lack of content to feed on

Pastor, do you minister to your sheep after Sunday through social media and website? Short blogs, short videos, testimonies, and prophetic words encourage, equip and empower the sheep. They help to establish and ground truths into the believers life as you communicate it repeatedly using these channels. You can also recommend books, share clips of other preachers on social media.


94% of people cited poor web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website.*

*Source: Forbes – Full Impact of Web Design

Ignoring mobile users

Do keep in mind that the number of mobile Internet users is growing everyday. In fact, figures show that as of February 2021, 55.56 percent of all web traffic comes through mobile phones. Fancy layouts and effects may not work well on mobiles. Is your website as functional, easy-to-read, and pleasing on mobiles as it is on desktops?
Source: Statista - Mobile Internet


Leaving out the ‘Meet Our Members’ page

Let’s be honest - most websites don’t make people feel welcome. People who are looking for a church, are looking for a community. How can your website show visitors a glimpse of church and community life? You can start by introducing a few families from church. In fact, a short video clip or an image with a few members inviting newcomers for coffee will make your website more inviting.


Highlighting donations at the start

Is a ‘Donate’ or ‘Give’ button the first thing that’s visible on your website? You need to establish a connection with your visitors, before you can ask for any money. So, don’t put a ‘Donate’ button prominently on your home page. Instead, include such a CTA in a section where you explain how you are serving and impacting the community.


Having an uninspiring contact page

Most contact pages on websites don’t inspire people to reach out to their company or organisation. Don’t make the same mistake! Your contact page gives you another opportunity to connect with the visitor. Therefore, personalise this page to make it inviting. Encourage new visitors to contact you so that somebody from the church team can either call them or meet them for coffee.


Using stock photography

Have you noticed how many church websites use the same pictures? The use of stock photography on your website will fail to capture the unique character of your church. Instead, hire a good photographer to capture images of real people and moments in your church. And regularly upload few candid moments to your social media too.


Your church website only has 8 seconds to make a good first impression on a visitor.*

*Source: Social Media Contractors

Not having an engaging home page

Did you know that your home page has around 8 seconds to captivate the first-time visitor? In a matter of a few seconds, visitors should be able to assess what your church has to offer, how it fits into their lives, as well as what action they should take instantly (CTA). Does your church website pass this ‘grunt’ test?


Putting all your theology on the home page

Pastor, how do you greet people in real life, especially for the first time? Surely not with your statement of belief! Similarly, your church website should greet and welcome your visitors before it shares your theology. Therefore, do not place your statement of belief on your home page, but in another tab or page.


Using ‘churchy’ jargon on the website

Remember that your target audience may include the unchurched. The language and tone usage on your website also needs to address this group. Avoid typical ‘churchy’ jargon that can be unfamiliar and make non-Christians feel alienated. Engage your visitors by using language that is simple, succinct, and easy to understand.


Giving an unclear message

Make sure that your website conveys the right message about what a typical church day would look like. Often, churches only talk about special Sunday services. You want first-time visitors to know exactly what to expect. So, remember to include a ‘What to Expect’ or ‘Plan Your Visit’ section on your website.


Not including clear call-to-actions

A call-to-action (CTA) nudges visitors to take an action instantly. Have you placed relevant CTAs on different sections of your website? If you have, are these CTAs pointing to clear destinations? A ‘Join Us For Coffee First?’ CTA on your ‘Plan Your Visit’ page will encourage the audience to take that next step.


39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or pages take too long to load.*

*Source: Adobe – State of Content

Hosting website on a slow server

People don’t like to wait for a page to load on their screens. Avoid using unnecessary special effects and heavy images to ensure that your website loads faster. Never compromise on speed by choosing cheaper hosting services. Host your website with professional and credible hosting service providers such as Siteground and Kinsta.


Asking for funds without providing details

Are you asking for funds on your website without telling people where you will be spending it? Many churches use the ‘Give’ or ‘Donate’ button without mentioning how and where those funds will be used. Mentioning a specific goal for funds may prompt people to give. It creates a sense of partnership and purpose.


Neglecting website maintenance and updates

Pastor, doesn’t leading your church to healthy growth require a constant investment of time and effort? Similarly, your website needs constant upkeep. Review all your Web pages, including blogs and events, periodically to ensure that the information is up to date at all times. In fact, consider assigning this responsibility to a particular person on your team.


Approaching your website as a one-time effort

If you want your website to continue to bear fruit, you will need to frequently measure and improve its performance. Do you have monthly meetings to discuss the effectiveness of your website? Use tools such as Google Analytics to get insights about the performance of your website. These insights will enable you to periodically tweak the website content for better effectiveness.


We use a lot of creativity and new technology in our church, but really what it comes down to is God changing a life.


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Turn your website into a strategic ministry tool. Connect better with today’s digital generation!

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