Leadership

5 Common Church Website Myths Holding You Back

Leadership

5 Common Church Website Myths Holding You Back

Everyone has an opinion about your church’s website. Your pastor has a view, your church members have an opinion, so do your guests, and don’t forget about your staff. They all have an idea about your site and they're likely to voice it.

Those opinions likely don’t line up with each other, either! And if those opinions aren’t enough, there are hundreds of “church marketing experts” that also have a perspective that frequently complicates the situation further.

See why thousands of churches trust Tithe.ly with their online giving and mobile giving solutions.

This article will not give you all the answers to having a perfect church website, but I do hope that it resolves a few myths that you might hear.

Here are a few myths that I’ve heard about church websites that I’ve managed in the past:

#1. Website visitors know what they’re looking for

“If someone is coming to our website, they already know what they’re looking for.”

While this might be true of many website visitors, this is likely not true of many if not most visitors.

Your website needs to prioritize the first-time visitors and while they might be looking for some basic info about your church, like your location and the time you start, including additional information they might not even be thinking about, such as kids info, dress suggestions, and parking information.

Your website should be intentional in guiding visitors down a path rather than an encyclopedia of information.

Also, never miss a ministry opportunity.

You don’t have to wait until someone visits your physical campus to have a ministry moment with them. Consider adding a live chat feature to your website that allows for personal connection and even possibly a prayer connection before a guest attends your church service.

#2. Everything is important and needs a place on the homepage

“Everything we do is important and it should be prominent on the homepage of our website.”

It's true that everything your church does should be important. But this doesn’t mean that everything important requires homepage real estate or even a primary navigation preference.

Guard your homepage for first-time guests by providing crucial information and developing efficient navigation for users to find the core information they might be looking for with minimal clicks.

Your members will be willing to take the time to navigate to what they’re looking for, but your guests will move on quickly if they're overwhelmed with information and can’t find the critical information they're looking for to visit one of your services.

#3. Everyone knows your website domain

“Go to our website and get all the information you need.”

It might sound repetitive to list your domain in the bulletin, display it on the sign outside of your building, and have it available on every flyer and brochure, and then repeat it during announcements.

It’s not.

Those that know the domain for your website won’t be annoyed if you repeat it and those that don’t know your domain need to hear it consistently until they do.

#4. Because it’s important, you should pay a lot for it

“The website is the front door for our church, and we should value it enough to invest significantly into it financially.”

Yes, your website is the front door for your church, and yes it's incredibly important. But that doesn’t mean you have to or even should invest a lot of money in building it.

There are many affordable website tools available today, which means you don’t have to break the bank building your church's site. Understanding that development costs might be lower today, the time invested might be more significant and hopefully, you can spend some of that freed up budget on advertising efforts to drive traffic to your more affordable website.

#5. Once your website is built it's done

“Once we finish our new church website we can move on to something else.”

Your church’s website will never be “done.” While it doesn’t always have to change significantly, you should continuously be looking to improve your site. 

Related: SEO Basics: 7 Keys to Optimizing Your Church’s Website

Whether that’s prioritizing search functionality or design elements, your website can always get better and should continually be improving.

Over to you

As you navigate all of the opinions you'll continue to hear about your website, I hope busting a few myths is helpful.

Be encouraged that you're not alone and that the voices speaking into church websites are endless and the perfect solution will never be found.

Keep getting better and make the most of your church’s digital front door.

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Nils Smith. Nils is the Chief Strategist of Social Media and Innovation at Dunham+Company. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.  

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

01
Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
02
Brady Shearer
www.storytape.com
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
03
Michael Lukaszewski
www.churchfuel.com
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
04
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
05
Justin Dean
www.thatcc.com
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
06
Daniel Irmler
www.churchhero.com
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
07
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
08
Nik Goodner
www.crtvchurch.com
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
09
Kevin Ekmark
www.church.org
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
10
Logan Fields
www.theappguys.org
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
11
Kenny Jahng
www.kennyjahng.com
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

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5 Common Church Website Myths Holding You Back

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

LEARN MORE
Sign Up