Having a website that is up-to-date will further strengthen the mission of your church, grow and engage your community, and give your members a convenient way to contribute.
Keeping an updated and modern website also adds credibility. A church website that is seen as a reliable source of information keeps visitors engaged and makes them feel more connected to the ministry.
Here are seven ways that an outdated website undermines your church’s efforts to grow, reach new members, and keep your congregation engaged:
1. Your Website Loads Slowly
The easiest way to tell whether your church website is outdated is by checking its speed.
Slow websites are often infuriating and can seriously harm donations and prospects. Oftentimes, websites that take too long to load might lead people into thinking they aren’t safe or trustworthy.
While there are many different speed measuring tools, Google’s PageSpeed Tool remains the most popular, and for good reason: Simply type in your website URL to see an analysis of the speed of your website. If the speed number is below 60, it’s time to reconsider your website’s design.
2. Your Website Is Not Responsive
Over the last decade, mobile-friendly websites have gone from a preference to a must. If your church website doesn’t seamlessly display on devices that most people use, you risk losing engagement – as well as prospective members and donations.
Tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you determine where your website stands on the responsiveness scale, and gives you simple tips on how to improve your mobile website.
The easiest way to check whether your church website is suited for mobile devices is to simply pull up the site on your smartphone. If your website looks like a shrunken version of the desktop version and all the content is tiny, hard to navigate, and you constantly need to zoom in, it’s safe to say that your website is not responsive or mobile-friendly.
Having a mobile-responsive church website gives users a positive experience and keeps them engaged with your church.
3. Your Website Doesn’t Accept Online Gifts
Many people nowadays don’t carry cash and even fewer write checks. As online banking is becoming more popular, it’s essential that churches allow members an easy and convenient way to give online.
The first step in accepting online gifts is to meet current security standards. If your church’s website isn’t secure, it increases the risk of online fraud.
The next step is to choose a payment processing tool and make sure that it accepts all major credit cards (e.g. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover).
4. Your Website Doesn’t Support Media
Giving your congregation members the option to listen to services online will help them stay connected to your church. Furthermore, adding media to your church website will make it easier for members who missed a sermon to catch up and keep them engaged.
Adding media on your church website (like videos and podcasts) will make your content more appealing and engaging and keep visitors coming back to your site.
5. You Don’t Rank Well on Google
If your church website is outdated, this will directly affect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is an umbrella term for optimization tactics that can place your page on the first pages of search engine rankings.
Google considers a variety of factors when ranking website such as responsive design, average time spent on the site, page load speed, keywords, and links. These factors are essentially affected by your website’s design.
Not ranking well on Google – and essentially having a bad website design – will hinder the opportunities to reach new potential visitors.
6. Your Website Design Isn’t Appealing
For churches hoping to strengthen their community, reach potential visitors, and increase donations, you’ll need to have an updated, modern-looking website.
When someone visits your website, you need to quickly grab their attention. An outdated, stale design may lead to a negative first impression and repel the modern visitor.
Beautiful visuals instantly make the website more appealing, and it’s easier for the visitor to get to the page they want. Graphics, color themes, and unique headers are just a few parts of the design that can be used to engage the visitors.
7. Your Website Is Not Secure
If your church website is old, the security measures probably are, too. This makes you more vulnerable to online breaches.
Cybercrimes and hackers are very real and often look for personal information (such as credit card information). Essentially, you’re making it easier for wolves attack your flock.
For your community’s sake, make sure you aren’t neglecting your church website security. Secure your website by installing an SSL certificate, which encrypts the information on your website and protects sensitive data. With the rise in hacked website, Google is now prioritizing secured websites for SEO.
Bottom Line: Updated Websites Attract New Members
Optimizing your church website and keeping it up to date is vital to bringing in new church prospects, volunteers, and donors. Effective church website design can often be challenging, but the payoff is well worth the hard work.