When selecting a church, many people will look at your website first to get a sense of your parish. Bad design, out-of-date information, or an unclear sense of your focus has the potential to derail any efforts to attract new members. The importance of this first impression can’t be understated, especially as many parishes are still experiencing closures or limitations related to COVID-19. Here are a few ways to be sure your website is accurately portraying your parish.
Make sure your images match your demographic
Perhaps a lot of young families attend your parish, or maybe it has a strong youth ministry. Maybe you have a strong focus on service projects or causes. No matter where your parish’s strengths lie, prominently feature that on your home page. A large photo or a scrolling slideshow is a great way to do this.
Link to you other platforms
You can embed or link to your YouTube video of your most recent Sunday Mass to give visitors easy access to worship at your parish during a time when attending church can be limited for many. You can also link to other social media like Facebook or Instagram.
Use your current design or logo
If your website features an old logo or an outdated design, it can be a turnoff for those who may come upon your website. A website should look current and cohesive; your logo, color palette, font choices, and other visuals should work together to make an attractive page people want to explore.
Is your information correct?
Is your staff directory up to date? How about phone numbers and email addresses? What about Mass schedules, confession times, calendars, etc.? Take the time to update these things (and anything else that regularly needs to be reviewed and refreshed), because those are details that matter to people. Any time the basic details are changed, it should be updated on the website right away.
Use your website to welcome and encourage attendance
Use a message to welcome people to the church, detail a bit of history about the parish, and describe the atmosphere and demographics of the parish. You can also include a letter or video from the pastor to encourage and welcome.
Common denominators for good design
Look at parish websites in your area and beyond to find examples of good, inviting design (or see several great ones here). You will see some similar elements throughout, and you can incorporate them into your own design. Some of these include:
- Large main image at the top of the page
- Logo featured prominently
- Clear navigation near the top of the page, with dropdowns under each category
- Minimalist design — more use of images, fewer large blocks of text
How do you make sure your website reflects the spirit of your parish? Tell us below.