Every church website falls down somewhere, it’s only human. To help avoid the most embarrassing church website #fails here is a list of things to look for and then fix.
1. Photos of an empty church
The word ‘church’ is of course often used interchangeably between the people and the building. But if someone is perhaps interested in coming along then nothing is less welcoming than an empty building. Imagine if a concert or conference said ‘welcome’ and then showed an empty venue?
2. Out of date events calendar
It doesn’t get much worse than someone new than someone new to visiting your website, finding out ‘the Sunday Service is at 10am’ and then turning up to find out there isn’t a service/ you’re all off somewhere else. No amount of ‘welcome to our church’ will overcome that initial first experience, and they may not try again. Not all events need to be on there (especially not admin meetings!), but having Sundays right is a priority – especially if it’s a special event.
3. Impossible contact options
Calling Jean between 10am and 1pm on a Wednesday might well be how the office functions but websites are 24/7 and there’s a good chance it isn’t that time period when someone looking at your church website. Almost certainly someone who could reply is checking email between those Wednesdays and your contact form could go to Jean and them so a reply could be received within a day or two.
4. Read the latest sermon/ magazine (from 6 months ago)
Having a section showing what you are currently up to is great – if it’s up to date. We’ve lost count of the number of churches talking about Easter when it’s closer to Christmas. A sermon or parish magazine can be great regular website content, but at worst should be a couple weeks out of date. Otherwise consider removing it – similarly a ‘photo gallery’ may have sounded great, but only if there are some photos from the past 12 months.
5. Be ignored in favour of Facebook
A common church website mistake is to choose another platform on which to put updates. Certainly it might feel easier, but it isn’t as public as you’d think. For example, a lot of people don’t use Facebook or know what to do/ where to look if they are on it. Your church website is the digital version of walking past a church on the street – a little tender loving care goes a long way to being welcoming. In fact, we’d go so far to suggest the church website isn’t really for the congregation (they get notices, emails, Facebook, etc) but the community instead.
We hope you didn’t identify with everything on the list – and there’s many more (like the guy who made our website 5 years ago but is now too busy). The good news is that often it isn’t too
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Please add your own church website mistakes in the comments below. Just remember that Christ came to forgive all our sins 😉