As the world shifts to a more digital age, having an engaging, user-friendly website is increasingly important for businesses, and that includes churches as well. This article outlines ten signs that suggest a church may need a new website. From slow loading times and outdated designs to inaccurate information and a lack of mobile-friendliness, there are several reasons a church website may need an overhaul.
These essential tips will improve the user experience of your church website, including optimizing the site’s structure and load time, along with strategies to improve content design and accuracy. By implementing these changes, churches can ensure their websites are welcoming, user-friendly, and effective in reaching their target audience.
1. Your Church Website Is Not Easy to Navigate
Ensuring your website is simple for visitors to navigate is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, a user-friendly website helps create a positive user experience, which leads to increased engagement, longer visit durations, and ultimately more conversions. If visitors struggle to find what they’re looking for, they are likely to become frustrated and leave your site, potentially turning to a competitor instead.
Additionally, a well-organized, intuitive website structure can improve your search engine rankings, as search engines tend to favor sites that are easy to navigate and use. Site structure refers to how a website is laid out, including the pages, posts, categories, tags, and navigational links. A well-designed site structure helps users navigate the pages more easily, making it more likely they will stay on the site longer and return again later. It is also helpful for search engine optimization (SEO), which can increase the site’s visibility and attract more visitors.
A good site structure includes having a clear homepage, organizing content into categories, using pages and posts effectively, and using taxonomies like categories and tags. Making it easy for visitors to find the information they need improves the overall effectiveness of your website and increases your chances of success.
2. Your Church Website Loads Slowly
In today’s fast-paced world, people expect websites to load quickly, and the same goes for churches. Having a slow website negatively impacts user experience and leads to visitors leaving the page. Having a quick-loading church website is crucial to the success of your online strategy.
Google has placed increasing importance on website load time when it comes to deciding website rankings, so a slow website greatly affects your SEO efforts. Additionally, for every extra second it takes for your site to load, more and more visitors will leave your site. In fact, if your site takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load, the percentage drop-off increases dramatically.
To improve your church website load time, consider performing a comprehensive site load speed audit, optimizing images, removing unnecessary plug-ins, enabling browser caching, implementing a content delivery network, minimizing HTTP requests, and optimizing your website for mobile users. At Missional Marketing, we have the experience to help you improve your website load time, and can perform a free church website SEO audit to analyze your website and provide suggestions for improvement.
3. Your Church Website Design Is Outdated
Having a dated, stale design for your church website is detrimental to your online effectiveness for several reasons. For one, it creates a negative user experience and fails to engage visitors, potentially leading them to leave the site and seek information elsewhere. Secondly, using a modern, visually appealing design is more likely to capture a visitor’s attention and encourage them to explore your website further. Finally, an outdated design conveys a lack of attention to detail or a lack of relevance to current trends, which causes visitors to perceive the church as outdated or behind the times. This is particularly problematic if the church is trying to attract younger members or individuals who are more technologically savvy.
More importantly, don’t let an outdated design affect the credibility of your church! If visitors see old content, they’ll question the accuracy of the information being presented. A modern design helps build trust and confidence with both existing and prospective members, as it demonstrates the church’s commitment to staying active and engaged with its community. A dated website design negatively impacts the effectiveness of your church website in engaging and retaining visitors, conveying relevance and credibility, and ultimately growing your church community.
4. Your Church Website Is Not Mobile-Friendly
As mobile traffic continues to overtake desktop computers as the main source of Google searches, it’s important for website owners to prepare their sites for Google’s ‘mobile-first’ approach to search results. Google is increasingly using mobile usability as a ranking mechanism, giving priority in the search engine results pages to sites that provide a better mobile experience.
One way to improve the mobile usability of your current church website is by ensuring the primary content is the same on the desktop as well as the mobile device. Check images and videos to ensure they’re optimized.
Since more people are visiting websites on their phones than any other means, it’s vital that your website is easy to navigate and set up in a mobile-friendly format. If the user experience gets clunky, visitors are more apt to switch to a different website than switch to a new device. While the transition to a mobile-first approach requires some work, it gives you an opportunity to climb the search rankings, improve the user experience, and increase inbound traffic from search engines.
5. Your Church Website Has Inaccurate Information
Keeping the information on your church website up-to-date is crucial for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a website is often the first point of contact for people who are interested in attending the church or learning more about its community. Outdated information, such as service times, contact information, or upcoming events, can confuse or frustrate potential visitors, leading them to seek out other churches with more current and reliable information.
Frequently posting new information on your church website builds trust and confidence with current and prospective members. Updated regularly, your website can serve as an effective tool for timely communication and outreach.
To increase engagement, it’s essential to post fresh content frequently—think blogs on trending topics—as long as they’re optimized. Online sermons can easily be streamed from the website or multiple platforms. Staying active on social media is another way to increase engagement. In short, continually keeping a church’s website up-to-date is a simple, yet powerful way to ensure your church remains visible and relevant in the digital age.
6. Your Church Website Is Not SEO-Friendly
The majority of people seeking a new home church begin their search on Google. It’s crucial, then, that your website shows up in the first handful of search results so you can connect with new visitors online. Unfortunately, church websites can sometimes experience difficulties in appearing in search engine results, such as Google. This is where church website SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, comes in. The process of church website SEO is about setting up a website to make it more easily discoverable through search engines. On-page SEO means making website changes to be more easily accessible to search engines. Off-page SEO refers to building the church website’s online reputation through links from other websites. Both on-page and off-page SEO are effective when used properly.
Missional Marketing offers comprehensive SEO services and tools to help churches optimize their websites for search engines. Once the necessary modifications are made, Google Analytics can be used to track improvements on the website. While it can take months to see results, starting a church website SEO campaign leads to more traffic, increased engagement, and heightened credibility on search engines like Google.
This tool scans your church homepage and reports on general SEO best practices in addition to how well your church homepage is optimized for a single keyword. Using this report can help you easily identify some of the most major SEO deficiencies that may be impacting your church homepage and the associated opportunities for improvement.
7. It’s Difficult to Update or Change Your Church Website
Building an easily updatable website is vital, as it enables your church website to stay current and relevant without requiring a developer or graphic designer. Using a CMS platform, or Content Management System, allows you to easily create, manage, and update your church’s site without having technical design or coding skills. Choosing a CMS platform that meets your church’s needs, functionality, budget, and tech skill level is crucial. This article highlights different CMS options, including WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Rock RMS, and ShareFaith, and their pros and cons to help users choose the best platform for their church. Updating your website is essential for optimizing SEO and attracting visitors. Likewise, choosing the right CMS platform makes it easier and more likely you will update your church website regularly.
8. Your Church Website Has Reduced Functionality
If it’s difficult to get and maintain web traffic, your website might have degradations like broken links. To determine if your church website has poor functionality, perform a thorough review of the site to check for broken links, slow-loading pages, and other errors. You can also use online tools and plug-ins that provide insights into the site’s performance and functionality. Once you identify any issues, you can start fixing them by updating the website’s software, optimizing images and other media, removing broken links, and making sure the site is mobile-friendly. Consider getting professional help from the SEO coaches at Missional Marketing to enhance the functionality and user experience of your website. Additionally, test the site functionality regularly to ensure it remains responsive and user-friendly for visitors.
9. Your Church Website Doesn’t Have Any Multimedia Content
In the digital age, technology matters more than ever for churches. With attendance dwindling, especially among millennials, churches have a massive opportunity to reach people outside of their four walls through the internet. One way to do this is by recording and uploading sermon videos to the church website. Church videos can be transcribed for keyword searches, allowing Google to better understand the purpose of the content and lead more traffic to the site. The more traffic a church website receives, the higher it will rank on search engine results pages, increasing the chances of attracting new members. By embracing new technology, churches will be able to have a greater impact on their local community.
Your church website can build your community of believers and serve as an outreach tool for people interested in joining the church. A primary way to do this is by including videos and photos of what your church is like. However, if you do this, be sure to optimize the images on your website to increase speed and enhance performance. Images often make up the majority of data sent when a user requests a web page, thus optimizing images has an immense impact on website performance and efficiency. When large images are not compressed, they act as a burden on speed, greatly slowing the page load time, which negatively affects the overall user experience and leads to the loss of valued visitors along the way. There are two options to ensure the church website’s performance is not hindered by large images: optimize images before posting on the church website or use a plug-in to optimize images after uploading.
10. Your Church Website Isn’t Aligned with Your Brand
If your church is considering rebranding or has already changed its branding, but hasn’t updated its website, it’s important to assess whether your current website accurately represents the new brand image you want to convey. A church website is often the first impression visitors have of a church, so it’s important to make sure it accurately reflects your values and mission. If your current website doesn’t align with your new brand image, it may be time for a new website. Key indicators to look for include an outdated design, lack of functionality or features, poor user experience, or difficulty updating content. A website redesign can be a valuable investment in your church’s growth and outreach efforts, helping you connect with both existing members and new visitors in meaningful ways.
We Can Help
Your church website is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for engaging with potential visitors and reaching new members. A well-designed, mobile-friendly, up-to-date website makes a significant impact on a church’s outreach efforts, while a poorly designed or outdated site leads to missed opportunities and lost potential. Whether a church is looking to attract new members or simply provide a better experience for its current congregation, investing in a new website is a critical step toward achieving these goals.
If you’re not sure what your church website needs or how to achieve it, simply book a call with one of our Missional Marketing coaches. We provide simple website audits to identify key problems and recommend effective solutions. With help from our industry professionals, your website will be a stellar representation of your church, and you’ll connect with its visitors more effectively in this digital age.