Why update your website?
This is the first post in what will be at least a 7-part series, so buckle in for the ride! Before I got into the specifics of how to re-do your church website, I thought it might be helpful to ask the question, “Why?” Why spend the significant time, labor, and even frustration to build a new site? And the answer to that question, I believe, comes back to one fundamental premise:
For most people, especially those on the younger side of life, when it comes to websites, the quality of the website will match the quality of the product or service.
This is so important I think it bears repeating:
The quality of your website matches the quality of your product, service or institution.
So if your website looks old and outdated, people are going to believe your church is old and outdated.
If you want to reach young people, a visually appealing and informative website is important.
In my first year as a pastor of a small to medium sized church, we had very few guests, especially young families and college students. Our website was badly in need of updating. In my first year, I took on the task of re-creating our church website. And I did notice a little while after launching the site that we started to see more young families and college students attending. Some guests even mentioned that they found our church on the web and decided to visit.
Now that is not to say that a website is a panacea by any means, but it is a tool in your toolkit that you want to pay attention to.
A website is your digital storefront, and when people are looking for churches, my guess is they will do two things: 1) ask people they know what churches they like to attend and 2) check out churches’ websites.
If you think about it, this makes sense. We want a sense of security when considering who to entrust with our spiritual nurture. We don’t want to give that away willy-nilly.
Now, if your church has not been on the radar for new folks in some time, an updated website gives you a chance to be given a shot by people searching for a new church, and you never know, there may be something they are looking for that the bigger churches in your area cannot offer. Perhaps it’s an intimacy of being smaller. Maybe they will connect with other members, or they will like your preaching.
The point is that a website can give you a chance to reach people who haven’t yet set foot in your building. Many of us who come out of mainline traditions have beautiful old church buildings. Many younger folks will admire the building, but they may assume that the congregation inside is a church for their grandparents or parents, not for them.
If you can work to create a beautiful website, you are taking at least one step in the direction of valuing the things that younger folks value and inviting them to experience Jesus in worship and community with you.
So what should you do about it? Our next post will look at some of the options for church leaders as they attempt to freshen up their online storefront.
Note: If you need expert help, I am available to consult with your church on building a new website. Please get in touch with me via the contact form to explore options.