Now that we’ve talked about the importance of worship times, events and calendars, staff pages and media, what else are people looking for on your ministry’s website? Content, of course – this includes pictures and other important information about locations and times of Sunday School, the nursery, youth group, Bible studies, mission projects and office hours, of course, but it also is about the words that connect that information.
No one wants to go to your website and simply find bulleted lists of information – times, dates, locations and titles – but they also do not want to read a book. You need to weave the facts into an interesting, but easily accessible story. (This includes your church history, even if your church is 500 years old.)
Studies have shown that most people will be on your website for less than a minute, though if your content is compelling, they will stay for more. If they get to the page about women’s ministries, and it is ten paragraphs about the history of the women’s auxiliary started in 1911, no one is reading that. What’s more, they probably won’t look at other pages on your site, either.
A good rule of thumb is to either keep your written content to “above-the-fold” – only the amount where people on a laptop won’t have to scroll down (a little is ok), or make it so interesting that people will want to read on and on (this is a rare page, indeed).
Do: Make sure important information, especially dates and times, are clearly indicated.
Do: Tell a story, your story, just make it short and engaging.
Do: Use pictures that clearly illustrate the main subject of the page (the bell choir playing music, not posing for a group photo).
Do: Add links for partner ministry and mission organizations listed, and a brief description of what they do, and how you work with them. (Brief!)
Do: Hire an editor and/or a photographer to make sure you have the content you need. Remember, like we talked about recently, this is the front door to your ministry. People are looking to connect to something meaningful, so give them something meaningful to dive into.
And, if you need some suggestions or pointers, we know a lot about this stuff, so ask us! We really love helping people tell their stories in new and meaningful ways.