Imagine that you’re a newcomer to town and looking for an institution. Perhaps due to a myriad different reasons (perhaps children or a life-changing event) you are seeking an alternative church location. What is the best location to start? I’m sure we have the answer to that question…the internet Church Liability Insurance.
Remember, that when you conduct the search, most churches nowadays have an online presence. This means you have to find a way to narrow it down. Sometimes, it’s simpler to identify the things you don’t like more easily than determining which websites could be the next place you’d like to call your spiritual place of residence.
With this being said, which are some factors that could instantly be a deciding factor? Let’s look at the top 13 points which will guarantee that visitors will not visit the church you belong to, but will also create a negative impression of your church’s denomination.
Simple to navigate – This sounds easy. However, once you have left on the homepage, will I need to press”back” or the “back” key to find the page that has navigation hyperlinks? While I’m at it is it even possible to know which is the page that I’m on? Does the hyperlink somehow differentiate itself from others to let me know which page I am on? No? If this site is so difficult, what are my expectations to be accepted by the church? What happens if I get caught on dead hyperlinks? Deal breaker.
> Excessive number of links to pages – as bad as a few or none on the website I don’t want to see more than 10 link on any page. I’d like to go to another page that gives me options. I don’t have to look up every ministry listed on the main page. Go to a list of ministry and then provide the websites for me on that page. It could be a bit nitpicky, and you’re probably right. But what do you know? There is a lot of competitors that make the process of going from page to effortless. If you don’t? You lose! Deal breaker.
> Calling for donations! If you’ve got an ad on the home page , requesting for donations, you’re in danger of catastrophe. If you don’t have some kind of statement that states this area is only for members and you’re giving an untrue impression. However, you should keep the hyperlink off the main page. The first thought of people will be ” …”Oh that’s the way to be?” A deal breaker.
It takes a long time loading – This could be due to excessive images (especially non-compressed types of files) and video loading and pages too long. Your homepage is not an advertising letter (which could easily be as long as 15 type-written pages). Make it as short as possible. If the reader must scroll for more than one screen, you’ve lost the reader. Keep your paragraphs brief. Use bullet points to get your message across. If you don’t. Deal breaker.
Splash pages or endless music. I’ve not seen any splash pages that provide value to the website. The person who designed the page considered it cool. However, it’s frustrating for the user. Nearly as annoying as music that plays continuously every whenever I visit the homepage. The music might be soothing for those who are “churched”, but to those who are not, it could be a sign that your church might not be a good fit for them. A deal breaker.
The site was not optimized for my browser . I’ll be honest with you, this is harder with new screens, however have examined your site on multiple monitors , and in different browsers? If I go to the site and it’s unnatural on my monitor What do I do? It’s a deal breaker. In the meantime, have you thought of creating an app for mobile users of your site? ?
> > Clear instructions to get there! It might seem like a given to me and you however, you’d be amazed at how many churches don’t have an interactive map. It is also more likely that you stand a better chance of getting me into your church if you’re connected with Yahoo Maps or Google Maps which allow you to navigate to your location of origin. If I need to find it somewhere else, I’m sure there’s many websites available which make it easier for me to do so. Breaker.
Information for first time visitors Starting with setting expectations for length of service, to the dress code and attire, you must aid your guest. Consider this. If I haven’t been to church for a while I’m already anxious about how I’ll be accepted. The one thing I do not would like to be worried about is being in shorts while the other people are wearing suits. It’s a deal-breaker.
Information that is out of date on the website – I am thrilled. I’ve made the decision to attend an institution and would like to join a group of like-minded people. In this day and age of instant satisfaction (thanks to the internet) we would like to be there as fast as we can. Imagine what I will feel when I realize that the next event took place 2 months ago? I’m going to a church I could be involved with immediately. It’s a deal-breaker.
> Is your site welcoming? It’s not only a place where you gather for a few times a week for gatherings. At least, it ought to not be. Wouldn’t you love to be seen as an extended family or a group that is happy to be a part of? If I’m a new member, or hasn’t gone to church in long, I’d like to know there are people similar to me. Therefore, a photo of your congregation in action can help me gain an understanding of the church you attend. Also, if your church’s website page is more official in how they present them as welcoming, then It’s a deal breaker.
The absence of photos or videos. For one thing, a site which is mostly text with a few photos is boring. This isn’t the kind of church I’m searching for. Yes, believe you me, I’d like to know the inside of the church, the place where children will gather, can I be a part of it and what can I anticipate of the facility. Why? Because I can obtain the information I need with just a click on many other web sites for churches. Are you missing it? It’s no problem. Deal breaker.
Contact information that presents difficult to find: Are the contact information of the email, phone and postal address that includes zip easily accessible? Do I have to jump through many hurdles to find a way to contact the church? Do I have to give my personal details to be able to ask a question? What is the reason I am required to disclose my address, name as well as my phone number, along with the birth dates for my pets and children (a slight exaggeration, but have you been to some websites)? If so, it’s an absolute no-no.
- Respond to me promptly time: If it’s not a Sunday and you are not on a Sunday, it shouldn’t take longer than one working day to contact me!My requirements must be addressed.Otherwise , I wouldn’t have any questions about you. It may be harsh however, you know what? Let it go! In today’s world everybody (and with ever-growing numbers of smartphones available I’m talking about EVERYONE) must respond quickly and someone in that church must respond or use an auto responder which sets an acceptable expectation of the time I should expect to receive an answer. If you do not, it is a huge problem.
Are you feeling beat up? It’s not the goal to this post. The purpose is to look over your site and determine whether you’re hindering your marketing efforts. Through good SEO or other marketing initiatives, you managed to bring those people to your website. Be sure to continue your excellent work and build the relationship that you’ve started by not committing the deal-breakers mentioned above.