In today’s world, as more and more people move online, your church’s online presence is becoming increasingly important. More often than not, new visitors are just as likely to find your church online as they are through another means. For this reason, it is important that your church homepage gets your message across.
Your homepage will be the first impression that your church makes when they find you online, so it’s important to make it a good one! Your homepage can be the difference between attracting new people into the arms of your church, or for them to continue their search elsewhere.
For this reason, we have put together a checklist of things you should keep in mind when designing a new church website.
Church Homepage User Experience Checklist
Description – The homepage should give an accurate description of what is great and special about your church. It is important to include the main ethos of your church, and why new visitors should come. This description should be clear and concise, to engage visitors to your site immediately.
It is important to paint a positive but accurate picture of the church’s culture. It should also include what a new visitor can expect at a church. This information should include:
- What the church’s sermon times are.
- Directions to the worship center.
- What the church’s dress code is.
It is important to make a new visitor immediately comfortable with the church and to assure them that they will not be asked to participate in anything that makes them uncomfortable.
The general design of the homepage is also important, and the following elements should be taken on board:
- It should have large, high-quality images.
- A personalized video on the homepage is also a good idea.
- There should be minimal clutter and the message clearly presented.
- The design should be simple so that peripheral menu items do not distract from the main message of the page.
Church Homepage SEO Checklist
The purpose of your church homepage is to rank well in Google so it will attract the maximum amount of visitors. For this reason, the homepage should be set up with Search Engine Optimization in mind from the outset.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- The homepage must load fast.
- The homepage should be optimized around keywords such as’ local church’. One of the main search terms is always. [denomination name] such as ‘baptist church near me’. Find out what keywords your church website ranks for with our Keyword Analyzer tool.
- It is ideal to have the keyword ‘church’ in the URL.
- Other elements of the Church website homepage should be one click away. Sometimes this requires subtlety in design to accomplish this without confusing the visitor. This is important. A lot of the church websites we have worked on have extremely over complicated menus.
- It should have a retargeting code.
- Meta title and Title tags used, URL clean.
- Default Title and META structure should be set up in Yoast from the outset. This can save time down the line and is good practice if a church isn’t going to be adding these for each page/post.
- Alt tags on images is great to have as well.
- Make sure elements are text and not 100% image bases, so search engines can see what the page is about.
- Rel canonical setup for site and homepage.
- Open Graph protocol and possible Schema.org Markup.
- No broken elements (just as 404 images or links) on the page.
- A footer that doesn’t have hundreds of links, and also a top nav that is clearly laid out. I’ve always liked the designs where the home page top nav only has a few options such as: “new here” “member” “Learn about us” “Get involved” or something like that. Those are the high-level ideas and when you click on one it pulls you through the navigation deeper.
- Double-check robots.txt to make sure homepage is crawlable.
- Clickable email and phone number for mobile.
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.
If you would like help implementing a church homepage to engage new visitors, get in touch with us today. Missional Marketing is a dedicated Christian communications firm working with Christian Churches and Organizations across the country, and we are also a Top 5% Certified Google Partner.