Many ministries see the internet as a necessity or burden to reach their more youthful congregates. However, with a lower nonprofit budget they many times settle for big name website providers that offer $1 templates with zero support or ministry-related features. Unfortunately, this defeats the purpose of having a church website at all. If your congregates see no value in the website why would they bother to use it? That is why the Ministry Designs Team has come up with a short list of features that your church website needs to have.
The purpose of this list is to make sure ministries do not waste their time and money on a resource that is not being utilized. A website is only as good as its traffic and engagement. We hope that this short list will help you increase both your traffic and engagement and decrease you drop rates and user frustrations.
- Online Sermons
Online Sermons are the church’s number one source of online traffic with existing congregates. Out of town? Sick? Forget to set your alarm? Family reunion? The online sermons provide an alternative solution for all of those instances. You never know what life is going to throw your way, but just because your congregates could not make it to the brick and mortar church service, they should not be deprived of God’s word that week.
Not only is this an awesome virtual solution for missing a service, it allows your congregates to share your word with friends and peers. If you really impact a member of the church they will now have the ability to go back and reference the material as well share it digitally across the entire world; no restrictions. Your church website becomes a necessary utility with online sermons.
- Prayer Request/Contact Forms
Why make your congregates wait for Sunday to request a prayer for their family or personal strife. Prayer requests are just one click away, and allow you to engage with your members from any part of the world. I am sure members in need of support have needed a prayer before Sunday but are resistant to call because it may seem invasive, but an online prayer request solves that issue.
Contact forms are also a great feature that allows visitors to engage with you through your church website. New family in town looking for a church near them, they can contact you with any questions with just one click of their mouse. It also allows for members to inquire about any church events or current news. Forms are one of the most powerful church website tools to engage members; new or current.
- Online Giving
Have you ever walked into a store and wanted to buy something, but they only take cash and all you have is plastic. A recent survey shows that 2 out of 5 consumers carry less than $20 in cash on a daily basis. Your tithes need to cater to those statistics. Online giving provides a solution. It allows your congregates to give to specific departments, set up recurring giving, event registration, etc and can be done with zero cash in your pocket.
- Social Media
71 percent of millennials check social media sites at least once per day and 69 percent of millennials use the internet daily to get their news. This means that not only do you have to have a contemporary user-friendly church website, but you have to integrate social media into your web presence. Having buttons/icons and/or social media tickers on your website is vital to engage and appeal to your youth groups. They need to be able to access your social media from your website, as well as access your website from your social media platforms. Creating these authority backlinks is a necessity to increase traffic and engage the younger population of your congregation.
- Event Calendar/Recent News
Lastly, your church website has to be a news resource. People almost exclusively use the internet to get their information on events and news in their life. And if your church is part of their life, they will need your church website to have access to a calendar of events, services, and recent news. The key is to either have this information on your homepage or one click away. If this information is not right in their face, you will lose visitors almost immediately.
For more information about church websites, we’d love the chance to connect with you and your ministry!