Tag Archive - branding

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5 Ingredients to Cooking Up a Great Church Website

I am not a web designer and I’ve never played one on TV. I don’t write code, I’m not a graphic artist and I’m not in marketing or sales. But I have visited literally hundreds of church websites.

One of the things we do at the Unstuck Group when a church goes through a Health Assessment with us is we take some time to research their website before we ever actually get onsite with that church. You can learn a lot about a church by spending some time clicking around on their website.

There’s a lot of work that goes into building a great church website. Just like churches, their websites come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. But there is a list of required ingredients that I’d encourage every church to start with.

Design it for the Guest

The best church websites are designed for the person who has never been to your church. Is it intuitive and easy for people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and churchy language to navigate? Unless you want to build a church for church people don’t design a website designed for church people. Stay away from “churchy” language and “cool ministry” names that people outside of the church have no clue what they mean or what they are. Can guests navigate the site easily without having to scroll or click too many times from the main landing page?

Give People what They’re Looking For

When guests check out your website they’re looking for a few things. In no particular order guests to your website are looking for where and when you gather. Do you have a google maps link on your site that makes it easy for guests to get there? Guests are also looking for what the experience will be like when they arrive. Videos and pictures can help with this, so can a brief description of the experience so people know what they’re getting themselves into. Guests also typically look for what the kids’ ministry is like if they have kids. They check out the staff page to see if there are “people like them” on staff (would they fit in). They may also check out your story…especially if it’s presented in a compelling manner…why do you exist, how did you get where you are, what are you like, what you’re trying to get done right now and why people should jump in and be a part of it.

Look and Feel

There are going to be a lot of opinions about the look and feel of your church website. It’s like a sermon or the volume of the worship music at your church…it’s on display for everyone to see…some people will think “it’s too loud” and some people will think “it’s not loud enough.” Wherever you land make sure the look and feel represents the true identity and personality of your church. You can do this through videos, images, stories, even the language you use. All of it should represent your culture well so people know what they’re getting. There’s nothing worse than checking out a church website that sets your expectations in a particular direction only to have those expectations undermined once you actually get there. Likewise, don’t hide a great church behind a poor website.

Measure what Works

This may a bit of a no brainer, but I’ve discovered that few churches actually track their clicks, page views, and metrics on their website. If something is not working on your site, don’t be afraid to change it or take it down off of your site.

Nuts and Bolts

These may go without saying but make sure your site is mobile friendly. More people access websites through mobile devices than desktop devices these days. Also make sure your site is secure so search engines like Google don’t burry it.


Posted in Leadership

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How Insider Language is Keeping Outsiders Away from Jesus

My wife recently hosted a baby shower for some friends of ours that ended up upsetting our youngest son. Wyatt is 5 years old, he’s the youngest of 4, and has 2 older sisters who dote all over him. He was really excited about the baby shower. Until he discovered about half way into it that he wasn’t going to be able to bring the baby upstairs and give the baby its first bath.

He mistakenly thought that a baby shower was a party to celebrate giving a new baby their first bath. Cute, funny, and at the same time I can see how the mind of a 5-year-old can come to that confusing conclusion.

What’s not so cute or funny is that churches confuse people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church all the time by the words and language that they use. What’s really sad is that the point of this whole thing is to make the Gospel clear not confusing.

The most obvious way to tell if a church is insider focused or outsider focused is the language that they choose to use. It either says that the church is “inclusive” or “exclusive.” And it’s important because words build worlds. There are all kinds of ways this goes wrong in churches, here are 3 big ones…obviously there are more (in fact I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’ve seen in churches…leave a comment).

Preaching

Preaching as though everyone already knows Jesus and comes to the room with basic Bible knowledge. They don’t. Unless you’re just doing church for church people (which isn’t really Church). Most people don’t even know the books of the bible or what the big numbers and little numbers mean.

Branding

Coming up with “cool names and brands” for ministries that mean nothing to people outside the church. You can find a list of real life funny but sad examples if you follow this link.

Announcements

Stuff like mentioning people from stage by name without explaining who they are. For instance, I’ve been to a church where an announcement was made to go see “Jim” to join a small group. I’m thinking to myself if I don’t know Jesus and am unfamiliar with church world…who’s Jim, how do I find him…and what the heck is a small group?

Two big principles to keep in mind when it comes to the language you choose to use in your church are: clear always trumps cute or cool and you’re always better off just calling things what they are.


Posted in Leadership