Your website can be a great asset, or a horrible liability. It can draw people near and be a resource to them, or it can cause them to walk away and never consider your church again.
With such high stakes, we need to make sure we aren’t turning away non-Christians from our churches right out of the gate.
Here are four thing to change on your church website to encourage non-Christians to pay attention and stick around.
- Get Rid of Jargon
One of the biggest turn-offs to non-Christians is the use of jargon on your website. Jargon is defined as “Special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.” Although jargon will make you sound smart or holy or better-than, it has no place on a website, especially a church website! When we use words such as “intercession”, “glorification”, or “creed” without defining what we’re saying, it makes people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. It makes it seem like your website is only for an elite club, of which, they are not a part.
There are two ways fix jargon:
– Remove all jargon (especially in the navigation/menu bar)
– Define what you’re saying. Makes sure that you always define in context and NOT with a definition section at the bottom of the page. A separate definitions page or section will make people, again, feel alienated and stupid for not previously understanding what you said.
- Create Easy to Find Staff Bios/Pictures
Some churches don’t post pastor’s bios or pictures as a way to keep from the church becoming all about the pastor. Sadly, this well intentioned act leaves website visitors wondering if they can trust the church’s leadership. There’s so much distrust when it comes to religious leaders, and one way you can help dispel this is by being upfront and open about who the leaders are.
I write on both of the issues above, and eight others, in further detail in my FREE ebook which you can download at travissinks.com/ebook.
- Explain the Gospel
One of the biggest turnoffs a non-Christian when looking at a church website is that there’s nothing specifically “Christian” about it. Without an explanation of the Gospel, a non-Christian will look at your website and simply see a club full of self-righteous people. Here are three main locations you can emphasize the Gospel:
– On your statement of faith/belief page.
– Scattered throughout the explanations of why you hold your worship services, mid-week Bible studies, and outreaches.
– A whole page dedicated to explaining the Gospel and what it means for the reader.
- Create a Call to Action
As I’ve written before, (http://www.travissinks.com/blog/how-to-create-a-call-to-action-for-your-church-website/2015) some people will leave your website and never think of it again simply because you haven’t asked them to.
Our church websites can, and should, be much more than a mere flyer. Every page should offer the visitor some compelling thing to do. Marketers call this a “call to action.” A few examples for your church could be:
– Giving their email to receive updates on what’s happening at the church
– Giving their contact info to be followed up with
– Signing up to serve
– Signing up to join a mid-week study or group
– Sending in a prayer request
There are many ways we can ask our visitors to engage with us through our website. But we also have to make sure that we’re doing so wisely. Here’s three guidelines to follow when creating a “call to action”:
– Just a Few: A good call to action has ONE option for response, or two at max.
– Be Precise: What is the EXACT thing you want them to do? Tell them that.
– Stay Relevant: Don’t put a call to give on your about page. Instead, offer for them to join the mission of your church, or to receive updates on what God is doing at your church.
– Make it Obvious: One fault of most designers is that they work so hard to make it beautiful that you don’t even really notice the call to action. However, every marketer will tell you that your call to action needs to be big, bold, colorful, and obvious to make sure your visitor sees it.
I hope this helps you attract and keep non-Christians on your website in order to best reach those who don’t yet know Jesus. Do you have any ideas you’d like to add? I’d love to hear them!
Travis Sinks lives in South Florida with his wife and son. He is an assistant pastor and a freelancer for churches in web design, marketing, and graphic design. You can read his blog aimed at encouraging and equipping ministry leaders at www.travissinks.com and can learn more about his service for churches at www.tnsinksdesigns.com/churches.
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