No, that title wasn’t a typo. There’s a new first impression that visitors have of your church, and they see it before they even walk through your doors: your website.
New findings have shown that 75%-90% of visitors will look at your church website before deciding to attend.
So what kind of first impression is your website (and especially your kidmin section) giving to potential first-time guests?
I know that web development and control over the website is probably out of your hands, but you can (and should) still have a voice in making sure your first first impression is a good one. Here are 4 questions to help you evaluate your church website…
- Is your website updated? If it looks old, has low-quality photos, or includes outdated content, people will assume your church is old, low-quality, and outdated too. I found this list of top Church websites for 2017. Some are multi-campus megachurches and some are under-500-people mobile churches, so no matter your size or budget, an effective website is possible.
- Is important information easy to find? When looking at a church’s website, the majority of people are looking for information like service times, location, what to expect, childcare, etc., so make sure your website quickly and clearly communicates these details. Many churches are now making entire sections purely for visitors and first-time guests to quickly access the information they are looking for.
- Is your website mobile-friendly? Most people surf the web from their phones, so if your site doesn’t adapt gracefully to a mobile-friendly version, it might be time to give it an update.
- Does the kidmin section of your website communicate your vision and give an accurate overview of the classes in your ministry? Parents want to know that there is a safe, purposeful, and fun place for their children. Make sure to include details like classroom locations, ages, ministry mission statement, and details about checking in your first time. You could even include a digital copy of your first-time guests form so visitors can fill it out online before they come on Sunday.
Once you use these questions to evaluate your website as a staff or on your own, test your site. Ask a young couple and an older couple in your congregation to find specific information on your site and survey them with questions like: Was the site easy to navigate? Was the information you needed easy to find? Was the description of your ministry true and accurate?
You may think the website is out of your control and not your concern, but “everything about your church’s website reflects on your ministry” (Jack Henry in Home Grown). We only get one chance to make a great first impression, and it’s our responsibility to make sure the first first impression, the website, is an excellent one.