The church website serves as a lead generator. It needs to fit into a larger digital ecosystem that supports your mission and vision. The goal is to encourage engagement through the website for both retention and spiritual formation. The key is whether your online visitors will permit you.
In The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier articulates the danger of bloating your website with unnecessary information. Studies show people give websites 3 to 12 seconds to answer the question: “What is in it for me?”
Marty mentions two words:
- · ‘Featuritus: Inexperienced communicators believe more is better.’
- · ‘Turfismo: Every department wants to be on the home page.’
Many of our church websites do just what Marty is warning us not to do. Behind every bloated website are leaders who have asked for it that way. Too much content is what you get as long as you treat a website like a glorified electronic bulletin. It is no longer 1990s. Our approach needs to be different.
Leaders need to remember:
- Half your audience is not going to go beyond your home page.
- 50 percent of all people who leave the website do it within 8 seconds.
- 90 percent of people will not come back to your website.
- 80 percent of people who visit your homepage are researching.
- Visitors are not reading your material. They are skimming the content while surfing the website.
Here are ten signs that your website needs to be changed:
- If you like another church website better than yours.
- If your website design is outdated.
- If your website is not compatible with modern browsers.
- If your website is not mobile-friendly.
- If your website has poor content. If your content is not geared for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and reflects a poor lead generation strategy.
- If your content is not optimized for Google Search Optimization (SEO). Copywriting, photographs, and videos should have the correct tine, look, feel.
- If your website is not visual (poor photographs) and lacks in beauty.
- If your website does not have the right type of videos. The era of Charlie Chaplin’s silent movie is over!
- If you are paying too much to update your website and find it difficult to make quick changes.
- If your website is unclear and fat (bloated with unnecessary information).
Your church website should tell an outsider how you and your services will solve their problem or meet their need. It is only then will the guest permit you by sharing their name and email with you.