By Donn Lester Regalado

Building a church website or any website might seem too big a task for most people but nowadays there are many web tools that can help you build a website from scratch. The problem is we are not all web designers and often mistakes are made  when building a Church Website.

There are a lot of things to consider in creating a website for a church, for example, having a good layout, good images and videos, and good typography.

Your website is the first place someone will look at information about your church and a way to make a good first impression. These are the 14 common mistakes that you should avoid when creating your church website.

Mistake #1 Designing the website for members only

One of the things to consider in creating a website is who the website is for. Most church websites are all catering to members of their church already and not to someone new who could be a potential member of your church.

For example, this website shows all of their upcoming activities and regular services. While on your website, you want them to be engaged by what they see, show them what your church is about and potentially have them as a guest on your next worship service. One way to ensure this is to have high-quality images.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Consider non-members when creating your website. Have a section or a page designed especially for them like the one shown below.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake #2 Not including good images

When someone visits your website, you want them to be engaged by what they see, show them what your church is about and potentially have them as a guest on your next worship service. One way to ensure this is to have high-quality images.

One example is the website below:

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Have images of the services and members actively attending a church activity.

Having images also helps answer one important question when attending a church service, “What should I wear?”.

How to fix it

An example of a website that has good images is http://iglesianicristo.net They use quality photos to show their church activities and worship services which would make someone visiting their site interested.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake #3 No videos of the church worship services

Videos have the same impact as images do, if not more. Having a clip of the service will help the viewer have a feel of what it’s like to attend a service, what type of music you play in your church, and what they could expect when they attend one of your services.

An example is the website below. There are no videos of their services or activities.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

One website that has videos of their services and other activities is incmedia.org. They have videos of their services, activities and their tv shows where they discuss issues that involve the doctrines they uphold which helps someone to see what their church is about.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake #4 Bad typography

Let’s face it, you created a website for your church in the hopes of spreading the word and recruiting more members. You want to show what the church is all about, how it was founded, the doctrines you teach, how it is different from many of the churches around. When a website has bad typography, it could play a big part on the viewer leaving your website right away.

Typography attracts the audience’s attention, it is reader friendly, it establishes an information hierarchy, it helps to create harmony, and it creates and builds recognition.

An example of a church website with bad typography:

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

An example of a church website that has good typography is http://hillsong.com/.

The size and the typeface they use all amount to good readability.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Make sure that the text in your website is readable. Choose a good typeface, have it in a readable size. An example of a good typeface used in a website could be found on https://www.churchonthemove.com/.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

For the font size, 14pt would be the minimum but the recommended size for fonts is 18pt for desktops according to this article.

These are some good rules to know for typography on your website.

Mistake #5 Not having a responsive design

Responsive Web Design makes your web page look good on all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones). According to an online article, 60 percent of internet access is mostly mobile. So not having a responsive design lowers the number of people that your church website can reach.

The website shown below is not a responsive website. Imagine opening that on your phone and having to zoom in to read the text and swiping to go to another part of the page.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

There are many ways to make your website responsive or mobile-friendly. One of them is using a front-end framework like bootstrap or foundation and most Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress allow you to make your website responsive.

Check out how mobile-friendly these websites are:
web courses bangkok 14 church website mistakes

web courses bangkok 14 church website mistakes

web courses bangkok 14 church website mistakes

Mistake #6 Not maintaining and updating the website

A lot of church websites are outdated and not properly maintained. They have slow load times and are vulnerable to hackers that is why it is important that you update your website regularly.
This website’s event page shown below hasn’t been updated since 2016.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Updating the website also shows the recent activities of the church and show visitors what the church is about.
One way to make sure that your website is updated is having a checklist that you can put into a calendar system and have it repeat monthly. We made one that can help you get you started:

☐ Have we updated the homepage?
☐ Have we added at least one bit of news, event or even a blog post?
☐ Have we uploaded the latest pictures into the gallery?
☐ Have we uploaded the latest sermon, tv program, or activity?
☐ Have we updated the contact info?

This website shows the latest sermon of their church. They even have a livestream of their sermon which could help make a good impression on first-time visitors.

Mistake#7 Not having a calendar or clear events

Not announcing the events you are going to hold on your website could mean less people showing up. This is where a calendar would be very useful. This can also show the person visiting your website that your church is active and could help them make their decision on joining your church.

How to fix it

You could show what holidays are coming up using the calendar, what days they can talk to the minister/pastor/priest and even show when they can use the church for a wedding. You could also show the upcoming topics that are going to be discussed on the upcoming worship service. There are a lot of benefits of having a calendar on your website so make sure you have one or having an events page would also be good like this:

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake#8 Buried contact information

One huge mistake would be not including a way to contact the church and fortunately, most church websites do have a way to contact them although most are not presented or positioned well in the website.

The contact information on the website below is on the footer or the bottom of the page. This means the viewer would need to scroll all the way down to see their contact information.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Contact information should be one of the noticeable parts of your website and not be drowned out by other information on the website.
The website below shows their contact details, the location of their church, and the time and day they conduct their services.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake #9 Not including the children’s activities

Most people that look for a church have kids. They tend to search for children’s activities when looking for a church.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Your website should clearly state what your church activities are for children.

  • Who watches and takes care of them?
  • What parents need to do when they arrive?

You could even go out of your way and create a parents section to help make the experience for them easier.
Take a look at what this church has on their website, a page about the activities for kids and more details.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake #10 Lack of Call to Actions (CTAs)

At it’s basic, a call to action (CTA) is a statement designed to elicit an immediate response from the person reading or hearing it.

Having a CTA tells the user what to do next. This is important for the user to have a good user experience when visiting your website.

CTAs also takes the visitor where you want them to go (i.e. contact us, donate, subscribe) which is why you created a website in the first place.

The website below has CTAs that subscribes to their podcast that if there was no text explaining to click on it, you wouldn’t notice them.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Whether your CTA is a ‘contact us’, ‘register’, ‘subscribe’, it should stand out and be clear that it is where you want them to go (or click).

The website below shows a good example of a CTA that would catch the attention of the viewer.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Mistake #11 No trust signals

Trust signals, put simply, are features or qualities of your site that inspire trust in the mind of the customer (or in our case, the person seeking for a church).

How to fix it

One trust signal that you should have in your website would be your social media profiles. More and more people today use social media to share and communicate with their friends. Have your social media links show up on every page of your website. These are usually found on the footer like these:

web course bangkok 14 common church website mistakes
web course bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

Just make sure that your social media profiles are up to date.

One more trust signal that should be on your website are testimonials.

A testimonial is something given or done as an expression of esteem, admiration, or gratitude. This would help reassure the visitor that your church is the one they are looking for.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

By having testimonials on your website, you are showing that you care about your members.

Mistake #12 No Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process website owners use to help search engines find, index, and rank their web pages, hopefully above competitors’ websites.

How to fix it

You should optimize your website so that it shows up on the top search results which will help you reach more people.

Here are 10 tasks you do to improve your search engine ranking to boost traffic.

  • DIY SEO Tip 1: Select the right keywords
  • DIY SEO Tip 2: Select the right domain name
  • DIY SEO Tip 3: Use keywords in file names and folders
  • DIY SEO Tip 4: Use your keywords in your page titles
  • DIY SEO Tip 5: Use keyword text in your navigation
  • DIY SEO Tip 6: Create useful keyword content — repeat often
  • DIY SEO Tip 7: Make keywords part of your META Description
  • DIY SEO Tip 8: Secure high-quality incoming links
  • DIY SEO Tip 9: Use keyword text (not “click here”) in your links
  • DIY SEO Tip 10: Create a site map

You can use GTmetrix to check how your website is performing compared to others.

Mistake #13 Slow website load time

 

People today are always on the move and their time is very valuable to them. Considering this, they always want something done quickly. When someone visits your website and it loads slowly, more often than not they will not wait and move on with what they are doing.

How to fix it

There are a number of reasons why your website speed is slow, most are on the server side of things but there are some that you can fix on your end. For example, you can lower the file size of your images and also avoid heavy image formats like TIFF and BMP.

To test how fast your website loads, you can use pingdom or other similar services.

14. Not keeping it simple

Too much information is bad for your website. If your website is cluttered and messy, so is the message you are trying to send.

Just look at this website:

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

How to fix it

Always aim for a simple and clean design for your website.

You should target the person that is viewing your website with your message so you can clearly show what your church is all about. Like the website shown below.

web courses bangkok 14 common church website mistakes

In today’s day and age that everyone is online, it is important for your church to have a website. It can help spread the word about your church and show people what your church is all about. To make sure that your church website does just that, keep these things in mind:

☐ Church Website Design Checklist
☐ Design your website to cater to first-time visitors.
☐ Include good images of your worship services and activities.
☐ Show videos of your church activities.
☐ Make sure to have good typography.
☐ Have a responsive design for your website.
☐ Keep your website up to date.
☐ Have a calendar or an events page.
☐ Put your contact information where it can be easily seen.
☐ Show the activities for youth and children.
☐ Always have Call To Actions.
☐ Put as much trust signals possible.
☐ Have SEO for your website.
☐ Do everything you can to make your website load time fast.
☐ Keep it as simple as possible.

You can download the checklist here.

Donn Lester Regalado

About The Author

Donn Lester

Currently an intern at Web Courses Bangkok. Graduated from New Era University in 2013 with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. Born in the Philippines and currently lives in Bangkok, Thailand.