Gospel Driven Websites — Welcoming your Visitors Part 4: Some Other Useful Content
This is part 5 of a 6 part series on developing better church websites. Catch up here: • Post 1: Gospel Driven ideas • Post 2: Welcoming your Visitors: Location & Times • Post 3: Welcoming your Visitors: What the Church Does • Post 4: Welcoming your Visitors: What the Church Believes
We’ve spent the last little while looking at the main things that enquirers look for on a church website. But, there are also other useful content that enquirers might be looking for on your site.
An easy way to contacting the Church
We’ve looked at 4 areas where enquirers are looking for information. But what if they have questions or want to ask about something else? Making sure there’s a easy way to contact you to ask more information can really help.
As a bare minimum, make sure you have a general email address & a church phone number on your site.
If you can, it’ll help if you have an easy-to-use contact form on your site, which sends responses to your generic email address. You maybe tempted to ask lots of questions, but it’s best to keep the form simple: Name, person’s phone number, email address, and a text box for their query. I’d also recommend that you include a Captcha as well.
Leadership and Staff
Staff Pages are a bit weird. It seems you need a page where there’s a big picture of the Senior Pastor with their family, with a long, & glowing biography! Or, you need the page where you list every paid staff member on the site with the photo, their role, and their contact information. And, it has to go on and on and on!
There’s aways something between, or something completely different. Whatever your church needs is the most appropriate.
One of the ministers at my church stated “Why do we need to show individual members? Why can’t we show ourselves as a united team?” So, we’ve opted for the Team staff page. This is a page with an image of all ministers in 1 team photo, and a brief sentence on each staff member. We’ve found this to be the most useful format. We’ve also got individual photos if some leaves.
Why do we show us as individuals instead of as a team? Showing your ministers &leadership groups as a team maybe a better way.
Unfortunately, in some places in the world, there is a perception that churches do not properly protecting children & vulnerable people in their ministries. The Australian Royal Commission into the way institutions respond to Child Sexual Abuse has been in the news for for the past 5 years. The institutions included showed the minor and major failings of churches of all denominations. It is now the no. 1 blocker behaviour that puts off non-believers to be involved at any church.
In response, it may be worth including a short statement on the way in which your church handles Safe Ministry. This may include the training done for volunteers in this area, and how your church deals with issues where Safe Ministry protocol has been not followed.
Charities and Missionaries
You might support a local charity, or even support your own church based charity. You may also support missionaries — both local and abroad. There’s nothing wrong being up front of any local charities or Missionaries you support.
Having our sermons available on our site allow for enquirers to have a taste of who we are and what we do at our church. There are some local bible studies in our church who use the sermons, where they listen and discuss the past Sunday’s sermon. So we continue to include our sermons onto the new site.
We did look at many different options which a wide variety of church work for other churches. These may be seperate sites that allow you to host the large audio files, or something you embed on your own site. It may also include installing a plug-in. I’ve recently went back to that research, and released it on my own site for you to have a look.
In the end, we decided on was to continue using a different Wordpress plugin for Sermons, and hosting all our audio files on our site. We are looking to have our sermon files hosted on a different cloud storage space other than our own FTP server. But we’ll look into other options later.
Sometimes, there’s special events that happen in the life of a church, where enquirers are welcome to join. It might be a Fete, a seasonal service, dedication, teaching seminar, or an evangelistic social. Whatever the event, it your site would be a good place to showcase when those events happen. Most Website builders will have a place to put events, either inbuilt, or added through a plug-in.
There are other places you can go to advertise your events. Google Maps (or Google My Business) allows you to advertise your events on your Maps listing. And, it may even show up on enquirer’s search.
Some churches are active online with their Facebook & Twitter pages. If you’re church active on Social Media, remember to link those accounts on your website. Some themes will have a social bar somewhere on the page, with each of the logos appear for each of those sites.