I bet, like me, through one thing and another you have found yourself at a church website which makes you say out loud, “Oh, no… no”. Or at least cringe. Pale pastel background, comic sans font, text across the whole width of page, pictures that are so huge they take ages to load, early 90s clip-art graphics – a combination of any of these will do.
I am convinced that many churches have a website because someone else said they should. Their heart is not in it. But like it or not, increasingly the first point of contact for people looking for a church is through an online search engine. We need to face the fact that, great though the church may be in many respects, people most likely won’t come if all they know about us us a crummy website.
I say this as a pastor of a start-up church for which >90% of its physical visitors to a Sunday service first encountered our website. We could have set up a web presence for virtually nothing (and I have done in the past) but we decided this time to spend a few hundred pounds on it. That is not a great amount by any means – we could have spent thousands – and our website is not the greatest – there is plenty of room for development and improvement, but it has been worth it. There is more to be done and it is a developing field, so it is worth someone in one’s church keeping on top of it.
Anyway, to the point: Drew Goodmanson has recently done some research on church websites and there are some useful pointers in his Christianity Today article. You can get a pdf of it from here: Website Wisdom – Goodmanson.