Establish your purpose and your domain name.
Everyone has a unique set of religious beliefs. No matter what yours are, express them with an uplifting church website.
Before you start to create a church website, you need to spend some time figuring out what the purpose of your site is:
Are you hoping to promote your church online?
Are you looking to provide your followers a place to congregate online?
Do you want to sell books and other religious materials approved by your church?
Do you want provide an archive of weekly sermons?
Whatever you’re hoping to accomplish, make sure you spend some time pondering the site’s purpose and the main features you want to include before you start building. Doing so will help you determine which website builder provides the features you need to build the website that you want.
After you’ve decided on the main things you want to accomplish with your new website, you need to choose a domain name. Most likely the name of the church itself will serve as the best domain name, though you might opt for a .org or even a .church domain extension over a traditional .com.
Content for your congregation and visitors.
Your church website will likely have two audiences: current congregants and potential visitors. As a result, you’ll want to create content that engages both groups - making visitors feel welcome and current members like they’re at home. Below are some ideas for the different kinds of content that you might consider including on your website.
Provide a statement of beliefs.
When visitors reach your site, they’re going to have questions. What do you believe? What are the core values of your church? How do you worship? Address these questions and more by creating a section on your site dedicated to discussing your church’s doctrine and values. Including information about your basic beliefs and devotions to help visitors better understand your faith.
Orient first-time visitors.
Feel the love of a congregation coming together worshipping with others. Invite your website visitors to attend your services by including information about when and where you meet, as well as what visitors can expect from their visit. Consider including a map of your building, so visitors have a better idea of where they need to go.
For first-time visitors, consider creating a page that describes the dress code, class material, or child care options. Including as much detail as you can about your services will help new visitors feel more welcome and at home.
Outline how to become a church member.
There are some who come to your site looking for a way to become closer to something larger than themselves. Your church just might be what they have been searching for. Show your visitors how they can become a part of your flock by describing the membership process. Whether becoming a member requires baptism or a statement of faith, explain to visitors how they can join on your church website.
If your church is one that calls for baptism to become a member, be sure to include your beliefs on baptism in this section. Explaining your denomination’s standpoint on baptism and why it is necessary will help visitors know if they are ready to take this step.
Provide answers to questions.
When it comes to faith, there is so much to talk about: prayer, service, charity—the list goes on and on. Chances are, your followers have questions about church doctrine and are seeking answers. Give your followers a place to find those answers by including a FAQ section on your website. Allow congregants to submit questions through a website contact form, via email, or even in person at your church. In this way, you can continue to expand the FAQ section over time.
Introduce the people behind the pulpit.
Introduce the people that make your church the place it is. Create a space on your church website just for them. Not only will leaders appreciate the recognition, but your followers will love getting to know their leaders. Consider including a picture, short bio and their contact information on this page.
Post about church activities and more.
There’s always something happening at your church, and what better place to share the latest news than on your church website? Including a calendar and a blog on your site will help your readers stay up-to-date on all the exciting things going on with your congregation.
Your blog could include a recap of your latest church activity, how members are helping out in the community or how your missionary efforts are going. Consider featuring a few stories on your site’s homepage so your readers can see how active your church is.
Apart from covering recent events, you could also encourage your church leaders and and active congregants to write up articles on relevant topics and feature them on your blog. You should also consider posting a podcast or short videos, so your followers have a variety of material from which to choose.
Share your messages.
You never know when your followers might need some inspiration. Give them that extra inspiration on your church website. Including an archive of sermons, podcasts or concerts is a great way to give your followers some much-needed revelation. Plus, it will help new visitors get to know your church and your beliefs better.
Connect with your congregation.
Give your visitors a way to get in touch with you. Many who come to your site get exposed to your beliefs for the first time, and they might have some questions. Providing your contact information allows those with urgent questions to get in touch with you.
Take it a step further and include your church’s social media information. Provide links to your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account to give your visitors a chance to connect with you on social media. Now, they can see photos from your latest activity on Instagram or read a sermon on Facebook. If you promote your church’s social media accounts to congregants, make sure you check the accounts on a regular basis so you can respond to any questions or concerns that people might send you via social media.
Tithing is a standard practice for many people of faith. Provide your church members an easy way to give their contributions through your website. Be sure to let your followers know where their donations will be going and how it will help support your church and the church’s causes. Consider offering encouraging messages to those who contribute to your mission online.
Show ways to serve.
Church doesn’t have to be just one day a week. Gathering together on any day of the week to discuss spiritual matters or to serve others allows people to connect with fellow worshipers and feel the spirit. Let your visitors know about opportunities to get together outside the pews with announcements on your church website. Include a church event calendar and information about members who gather to share a meal, serve someone, or have an in-home group study. Your visitors will love seeing how they can get more involved with your church and make some new friends.
Offer email updates.
Uplift your followers further by encouraging them to subscribe to your church’s email newsletter. Include a prominent subscription button on the homepage of your site as an easy way for visitors to subscribe to your site in just seconds. Now your followers will be notified via email when the weekly newsletter or bulletin is ready to be read.
You’ve launched your church website. Now what?
Once you launch your church website, it’s important to keep it up-to-date. You can also check out the below resource pages to learn about more ways to extend the reach and impact of your website: