Is Your Church Website a Repellent?

Series: Improving your church website

Improving Your Church Website
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[This is my Web Wise column from the August 2005 issue of Good News Etc.]

You've seen them. Church websites that make you say, "Blech." Your next thought is probably, "I wouldn't visit that church in a million years!"

That's a shame.

It very well could be that that church is the right one for you. But Deacon Willard got his wife's nephew's first cousin's high school son to make the site free for the church. And it looks like it.

Enter Tony Morgan. Tony is our guest columnist this month. He's a pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana, and with He posted the following on his blog recently after he visited a lot of church websites for a project he was doing. I hope you find it helpful (remember, these are the things NOT to do on your church site):

10 Easy Ways to Keep Me from Visiting Your Church Because I Visited Your Website
By Tony Morgan

1. Avoid telling me what's going to happen at your church this weekend. I found churches that had weather reports but nothing about their upcoming weekend service. I found two churches that had prominent information about upcoming golf scrambles (which I appreciated as a golfer), but nothing about this weekend's service. Why would I come if I don't know what I'm going to experience?

2. Put a picture of your building on the main page. After all, ministry is all about the buildings.

3. Use lots of purple and pink and add pictures of flowers. Really. Are you expecting any men to show up? And, for my benefit, please don't put any doves on your website. Doves scare me.

4. Make me click a "skip intro" or "enter site" link. I don't have time for that and it's very annoying. If I have to wait for something to load or have to click around intro pages to get to the real information, I'm probably going to skip your church service.

5. Add as many pictures and graphics as you can to the main page. My life is already complicated. I don't have time to figure out what's important at your church. If you dump everything on the main page, I'm assuming you don't know what's important either.

6. Use amateur photography. And, for the record, it would be helpful to have at least one normal looking person on your site. Do us all a favor and hire a graphic designer, a professional photographer or purchase some stock photography.

7. List every single ministry you have at your church. Frankly, I don't care what ministries you have. I just want to know whether or not I should visit your church this weekend. My first step isn't the men's Bible study or joining your church's prayer partners ministry.

8. Make it as difficult as possible for me to get directions, services times, or find information about what will happen with my kids. It's important that my kids have a great experience. If you can't convince me that that will happen, I'm probably not going to risk visiting your service.

9. Put a picture of your pastor with his wife on the main page. That tells me it's all about a personality, and I see enough of those people on television. I actually found one church that had not one but two pictures of the senior pastor on the main page. He was looking mighty dapper, though, in his fancy suit.

10. Try to sell your church rather than telling me how I will benefit from the experience. I don't care how great your church is. I just want to know if visiting your church will help me and my unchurched friends take our next steps toward Christ.

Check out the website for Mike's company at (helping your organization succeed on the web).