Your home page is your church’s shop front

Think about the last time you visited a shopping mall. Imagine you’re not there with any specific purpose in mind, you’re just window-shopping. How do you decide which stores you walk into, and which ones you simply pass by?

Of all the stores you chose to enter, there’s a high possibility that the draw card to get you in the door was the stores “shop front”. That window display that captures your eye before you even enter the shop.

It’s not complicated — stores with the most attractive, interesting, captivating or intriguing shop fronts get more people in their store.

So what has that got to do with church websites? Well, in today’s digital world, your church’s website is your church’s “shop front”.

For many visitors, your church’s website will be the very first thing they see in relation to your church. Before they arrive in the car park, before they walk through the doors, before they sit through a service, before they hear a sermon, they will see your website. First impressions matter, which is why it’s so important that you carefully consider and think through what your “shop front” must look like.

Here are five tips to consider when designing your “shop front”:

Don’t overcrowd things — keep it simple

Minimalist, “less is more” designs are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Be very particular about what you include on your homepage, and what you leave out. You will most likely find yourself making tough decisions, having to “throw out the gold”, so to speak. With every ministry area fighting for exposure on your church’s home page, be ready to make difficult decisions about what makes the cut. Try to stick with items that show what your church values, details that are vital for a first-time-visitor, and content that’s engaging, interesting or eye-catching.

Make decisions based on your audience

You need to decide who your website is for. If your website is designed for visitors and newcomers to learn about your church, make sure the information you display on your homepage reflects that audience. Someone who has never visited your church before is unlikely to be interested in your men’s breakfast or women’s retreat. Events that are aimed at regulars shouldn’t be on a homepage designed for visitors.

Be visual

People love pictures! An image will capture an audience in a way that words never can. Read our blog on taking photos for church websites, or hire a professional photographer, and get some beautiful, emotive, inviting photos for your homepage.

Only give the essential info

You don’t need to fill your page with text.If you want to display your church’s vision, write a brief statement on your homepage, then provide a link where people can continue reading.Use your homepage to give your audience a taste, then invite them to continue reading elsewhere.

Use calls-to-action

Invite your visitors to continue connecting with you through your Facebook Page, signing up to your mailing list, subscribing to your blog or getting in touch through contact forms. Make it easy for your visitors to connect with you.

How do you decide what to include on your church’s homepage?

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