10 things you need on your church's homepage
By Tiffany Vail, Associate for Communication
Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
The Basic Info: Your church’s name, full address (include city & state for better Google results), phone number and email address.
Faces. Smiling, happy, welcoming faces that reflect the diversity of members and friends at your church. A picture of your church building is fine, but remember that a church is it's people, not it's building. Consider putting your building on your Directions page instead.
The word “Welcome.” A statement that let’s the visitor know that you WANT him or her to come check out your church. Include some description about who is welcome at your church, and what they can expect to find when they get there.
Worship time! Explain what day and time worship services are held, whether nursery care is available, and whether children go to church school during this time.
A link to Directions. The directions themselves do not need to be on the homepage, but they should be easy to find. Include not just directions TO the church, but also information on parking AND a note on how to get IN to the church (ie: what door to use for worship, for church school, etc.)
“United Church of Christ” – name and branding. With the Still Speaking Initiative, awareness of the UCC has been on the rise. Be sure to let people know you are a part of that denomination.
A decoder ring. Give people a way to decode the language on your site. Open and Affirming, Just Peace, Congregational, Federated, Trinitarian - even Christian – are words that people won’t necessarily know. Try to use plain language in place of or alongside some of these words or have a “Learn More” or similar link.
An invitation to make contact. A person who is thinking about visiting your church may have questions they want to ask before daring to step foot through the door. Make it clear that you welcome questions, and link to information about the pastor including a picture, email address and phone number.
Links that will allow the person to find out more about your church’s belief system. Do you believe in the Bible? What does that mean? Do visitors have to ascribe to certain beliefs before they can come? Or is it okay if they are unsure? Does your church have a mission statement? It is also great if you can link to the text or recordings of sermons, so they can find out more.
Links that will show your church’s priorities. Doing lots of mission work? Lift that up high. Place a priority on children and youth? Tell more! Whatever your church does, make sure you talk about it.