What is the Focus of a Church Website?July 26, 2004
In preparing for our first online chat for Fellowship Connection, Fellowship's association of churches from around the world, I started to think through some of the issues facing all of us who are blessed to serve our local churches through technology.
The first question each of us has to address is, What should be the focus of our website?
Each church must balance the need to attract and inform people who are interested in trying your church with serving the ongoing needs of members. The site must be dynamic, highly attractive, and easy to use in order to hold the attention of a first-time visitor who has basic questions (When are your services? How do I get there? What are they like? What should I wear? What will I do with my children?). Your site must answer these question quickly and make the visitor feel welcome, much as the greeters and parkers do in person.
In order to serve members and keep them plugged into the website, provide as much day-to-day church-related functionality on your site as possible. We direct people to our website constantly through our bulletin and all marketing materials. If someone wants to register for a class, find out the latest news about upcoming events, give, or find a small group, they are encouraged to use the website.
Why? Because every time someone uses the web for these tasks, that allows our staff to focus on ministry instead of data entry and processing.
We have slowly moved away from offering portal-type services that members can get elsewhere, often superior solutions that are better and free. We are phasing out offering free email accounts, as well as web searches, news, weather and other services. No church website is going to be a single source destination on the web, and shouldn't need to be. We try to focus on what only we can do.