â€œIt is vitally important that the first contact someone has with our church is a positive one. Andy Stanley says it this way, â€œYour sermon starts in the parking lot.â€ As more and more people begin their search for a church by looking online, the â€œsermonâ€ could very well start with your church’s Web site. When I look at your church’s Web site, I can immediately tell you a lot about your church, your values, your mentality, your approach, and whether or not I’d want to be a part.â€ – Todd Rhoades, MondayMorningInsight.com
Let me translate the above quote for those of you who still think a long animated Flash splash page leading to a huge image of your churchâ€™s empty parking lot is the way to go â€¦
â€¦ as more and more individuals shop for church homes online, the greater the risk your church runs into never seeing them visit if your church website sucks!
Yeah, pretty brutal â€“ but enough of the â€˜memeâ€™ that God content is important, that aesthetics arenâ€™t important.
If you pull into the church parking lot and youâ€™re greeted by a smelly, un-bathed, 3x-large individual wearing a dirty medium sized t-shirt and speedos, that the former reads in between the filth and holes reads â€œJesus Saved me, the rest of you are going to H-E-Double Tooth Picks!â€ .. Iâ€™ll guarantee a majority of you will spend some quality family time at the local Perkins or Waffle House that morning.
Same is true with the internet.
If you have a web site that looks like you donâ€™t care about their needs â€“ then individuals seeking a new church home, or a conversion-conversion experience will go some place that does look like they care. It is that simple. Or as Rhoades writes:
‘Researchers in Canada have shown that the snap decisions Internet users make about the quality of a Web page have a lasting impact on their opinions. According to a nature.com article, â€œWeb Users Judge Sites in the Blink of an Eye,â€ by Michael Hopkin’
In other words solve their problems; donâ€™t show off your fancy-schmancy solutions. Solving their needs is as simple and common sense as making the following information easy to find, read and render in print:
- Church denomination
- Geographic location
- Days and times of services and studies
- What stuff you have for their kids
- Example sermons that show youâ€™re not some slathering cult
- Smiling, inviting faces instead of stony facades
- Email contact
- Phone number
Yeah, youâ€™d think the above list is obvious â€¦ but in the next few weeks, weâ€™ll be referring back to this article as I show yet more good examples of bad church web design by well meaning webmaster type individuals who donâ€™t have a clue as to what the conversion goals are for their cool church web site.
Oh yeah, and a super-huge hat-tip and ‘terima kasih banyak-banyak‘ to one of my Malaysian friends: Wilful Sunflower for forwarding this article/link â€“ keepâ€™m coming folks!