In 2014 I conducted an in-house survey of thousands of churches in Canada and the US about the current state and need of church websites. What I wanted to know was (1) what percentage of churches have a website? (2) Of the churches that do have websites, what percentage of them are current, modern and maintained? And (3) what percentage of people will make a decision about visiting the church based on it’s website? Here’s what I found…
I’m exaggerating only a little when I say that in today’s world it is almost a sin for a church to not have a website. That’s a given. I have no intention of shaming anyone. But we need to acknowledge the world we live in. This is the digital era. When Jesus said go to where the people are, in today’s world that translates into: “have a digital presence.”
There is no way to get around it.
Your Digital Front Door
Your website is the digital front door to your church.
According to a survey polled by Justin Wise’ team from ThinkDigital – and published in his book, The Social Church – 47% of people surveyed said that a church’s website is a major factor when considering visiting a church.
So my question to you is, what kind of first impression is your church making on potentially 50% of it’s visitors?
And this is where we need to go a step further and acknowledge that it’s not enough just to have any old website slapped together like a listing in the Yellow Pages.
Here are two key reasons why…
Two Keys To Your Church Website
The internet has come along way since 1989. The bar has been raised and with it, so has people’s expectations.
The success, reach and effectiveness of your website rests on two elements:
1. Aesthetics: Does it look good? Is it modern? Is it responsive (meaning, does it even look good on mobile devices)? Is it interactive? Does it have a great flow?
2. Functional: Was your website designed with churches in mind? Does it have a blog? A place to list your ministry leaders? A special page for sermons? Beliefs? Ministries? Donations? Events (and Google Calendar’s don’t count. They practically scream “90’s and outdated!”)?
Through my own survey and research I discovered that only about 9% of churches meet today’s standards.
Now I know what your thinking… (tell me if I’m wrong):
- “We can’t afford the kind of website you’re describing?”
- “We don’t have a web developer?”
Well I’ve got good news for you and then I’ve got good news for you and then I’ve got more good news for you.
Good News #1: Stellar Websites Are Cheap Today
I’ve examined websites that some mammoth churches paid thousands of dollars for, and compared them to smaller churches that I’ve provided websites for. Guess what? These smaller churches have websites of the same caliber as the ones that cost mammoth churches thousands of dollars, but they paid less than $100 for.
Money is just no excuse in today’s world. My little church has a website from churchthemes.com that, at the time, I paid $50 for. Recently the overseer of our denomination was down visiting and he said from the pulpit, (and I’ll quote him exactly):
“I visited your church website last night and I really have to say, it is one of the – if not the – best church website in our entire district.”
That’s huge praise for a small church website in a large denomination.
Good News #2: Experts No Longer Required
Honestly, if you purchased a website from churchthemes.com, not only would you be given the website as a single packaged upload-able file, but you’d also have access to simple step-by-step setup instructions. You do not need to know html code to use these stellar website templates. Long gone are the days when you needed a web master set up your website.
All you need is 1) a Bluehost account (which, if you purchase it from my site today, would only cost you about $3.95 a month), 2) WordPress which is a free platform that your website will be built in and Bluehost has set it up as a one-click install to make things really easy for you! 3) A website theme from churchthemes.com that you upload to your WordPress account. That’s it. Bluehost has free video tutorials to get you going and great support. And so does churchthemes.com on both accounts. Great video tutorials and great support.
I’ve provided many churches with websites in the past. I know very little html. Not enough to built a single page. Trust me when I say, you do not need an expert on hand.
Good News #3: I’m Giving Away A Church Themed Website!!!
I’ve joined forces with churchthemes.com to giveaway one of their amazing websites to one church through a giveaway contest that will run from now through to midnight on February 26.
Churchthemes.com have two of the best church website templates I’ve seen. I’ve used them both and can honestly tell you that your church’s online presence will never be the same.
Their first theme is called RESURRECT – it’s the one my own church uses, and we love it!
Their second theme is called EXODUS – and what I love about the Exodus theme is how clean and infinite it feels with the banner stretching across the width of your screen.
The winner of this contest can have their pick of any church website theme from churchthemes.com and entrance into this contest is really easy.
Here’s how to enter:
To enter for a chance to win your church a brand new beautiful and functional church website theme just do two things:
Step One: Subscribe to this blog
I made this first step really easy. All you have to do is click the button below to subscribe. And by the way, if you subscribe to this website today, not only will you be entered for a chance win a new website theme for your church, but I will give you a free eBook I wrote titled Church Leaders Online: 3 Reasons Why The Web Needs You. So go ahead and subscribe right now:
Step Two: Share this contest on Twitter
Important: Don’t forget to use the hashtag #churchwebsitegiveaway in your tweet so that I can track it and know that you have successfully entered the contest. I made this really easy for you too. I’ve taken the liberty of crafting a tweet already. All you have to do is click the button below and that’s it.
Bonus: How To Increase Your Chances
Thank you so much for taking part in this contest. Here’s a little bonus. After you’ve subscribed to my blog through Step 1, you can enter the contest as many times as you want simply by tweeting this contest daily. For every tweet you do I’ll enter you into the contest. So tweet away. You could enter once, twice, or twenty times. The choice is up to you. The more you tweet this contest, the greater your chances of winning. Don’t forget that the tweet needs to include the hashtag #churchwebsitegiveaway and the url to this contest page.