Having established some of the differences between a straight blog and a church website, what specific features of a church website do we need to incorporate on the front page?
- Welcoming: A clear welcome to greet visitors, in much the same way visitors would be welcomed on a Sunday morning.
- Main meeting times: People will not be able to visit the church without these. First time visitors will come on the Sunday service not Wednesday homegroup, so the details for the other activities can be placed on another page.
- Contact details: It is important that the contact details for the church (address/email/telephone number) are shown in a prominent place. When we visit a corporate site and the site only has email contact details, it gives the impression of being less solid and more likely to disappear with you rmoney. With a church website, people need to know the physical location, even if it is a house church.
- Photographs: (I am conscious that at present the church website I am working on does not fulfil this criteria). But there should be photographs of the congregation and not of the church building. The people are the church, not the building and smiling people have a very strong impact.
- Mission statement: It could be argued that a jargon-filled, wordy statement might put off seekers, but for those Christians coming into the area looking for a church it is important that they can see where a church stands. Perhaps place this on another page with one or two lines on the front page.
- Updated news: Finally, as this website is a current reflection of what is happening at the church, it needs to be updated regularly. This may mean that the weekly or monthly news letter or bulletin is posted online. But something needs to be updated or visitors will not return.