4 Common Website Mistakes (With Simple Fixes)
Unfortunately, common mistakes abound on church websites, but we are called to do better! Let’s fix these errors online so that our audience finds solutions and discovers what they need on our websites.
Many people today prefer to get information from a website. They don’t want to carry a printed newsletter around with them, or they can’t remember where they put it. They want to find information and details when they are ready. They want a reliable source to find “everything” easily.
Your church website should be this place.
Let’s fix these common website mistakes, so the congregation and community will love your website:
Common error on site 1: No location or service time on your homepage. People visiting your website need to know where you are quickly! Google also wants to associate your website with searches for churches in your city. When your community decides to visit, they will need “core” service hours. SIMPLE FIX: Add this information as high up on your homepage as possible. Make the location a link to get directions and time of service can also be a link to get more details a visitor needs to know.
Common error on site 2: No email address or photos on a team page. Members wonder who is in charge of ministries when they need to contact them with a concern or request. Your community also likes this team page to see if it will fit into your church from the photos. They seek to see people who look like them (gender, diversity, age, etc.). SIMPLE FIX: Add a team (or staff) page in the “About” menu. Make sure each person has an equally cropped image (friendly, head/shoulders), dressed as you expect a visitor to wear. Be clear about what each is responsible for and have an easy way to contact them (phone or email).
Common Website Error 3: Incorrect title tags on each page. Google wants to deliver search results to your internal pages, but often doesn’t know what the page is about from your title. SIMPLE FIX: Write page titles appropriate to the content of the page and make sure that is what would be searched on Google to find the information. For example: use “Kids Activities” instead of a brand name like “Awana”. PRO TIP: Place your keyword-rich title at the top of your page (with typing, not just a graphic) and mark it as an H1 title (usually the largest title style) in your content management area. Make sure it’s the only H1 tag on the page, then use those exact title words in the first sentence of the first paragraph as well. Keep using those same words 2 or 3 times on the page. Google will love your content!
Common Website Error 4: Not enough links on each page. When someone comes to your page for information, they subconsciously ask “now what?” but often have to figure out the next steps on their own. It’s frustrating. SIMPLE FIX: Provide 2 or 3 links on each page that connect to other information on your website. At the bottom, think about their likely next step and suggest a link to it. For example: if someone is on the “Children’s Activities” page, they will probably want a link to the “Child Safety Procedures” page. Bonus: Having a link allows access to information without taking up space on the page.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Mark MacDonald is a communications pastor, speaker, consultant, best-selling author, church brand strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of the Center for Church Communication. His book, Be Known for Something, is available on BeKnownBook.com.