WFX Orlando is over for 2019 and it was a huge success! Have you booked for 2020 yet? WFX is so essential to the church because it helps the entire leadership team to fulfill their calling (to a high standard). There’s something for everyone (media, communication, facilities, leadership, and more).
One of the sessions I LOVED leading this year happened on the Spark stage in the middle of the bustling expo hall. Many churches gathered at the stage and let me look at their church website on the big screen. Remember, I’d not seen their site before, didn’t know their church, and certainly had no reason to hold back the constructive criticism. After doing LIVE website assessments like this for several years (and conducting many video calls to do the same), I must admit that the websites this year were stronger than previous years. This is awesome! The church must have a high standard.
Here are 5 website tips that we learned from the WFX Spark stage:
1. Speed to Content is crucial: People want to arrive at your URL and consume the specific content as fast as possible. Most want the desired content in about 30 seconds after clicking 2 or 3 times. Therefore, organization of the main menu is crucial! Don’t let ANYTHING slow people down. Put the most important information at the top of pages and let it hug the left side of the page.
2. Be careful of your URL: Keep your URL (www.yourchurchname.org) simple so it can be shared from the stage without having to spell it. If you have an odd URL with extra (unexplained) letters or additions, consider getting an easier one and have it point to the current one. When naming pages, do the same — keep it easy! A student page? Your URL should be yourchurchname.org/students — if you have 2 or 3 descriptive words, keep it consistently simple (with hyphens or no spaces). And remember, many won’t know or remember your URL; so ensure it pops up when you google your church name in the community. If not, concentrate on good SEO principles.
3. Edit your content: Don’t overdo words! Edit content to the smallest amount of necessary words. The same for videos: it’s better for someone to get short edited video than a wordy, wandering video that most will skip. Edit photos so they share or extend the intended story. Visuals need to be well lit and professional-enough that they’re legible. Ditch stock images and footage and invest in “real” images that show authentic people, emotions, and ministry.
4. Careful about Paragraphs: People tend to ignore paragraphs online. Instead, they read the first part of headlines, skip to subheads (reading captions along the way), and rest with bulletpoints (keep them short). So convert wordy paragraphs into “just the facts” and make them scannable.
5. Staff pages are critical: Members of your church refer to this important page (found under the About menu) to contact people (make sure it’s clear who does what). Ensure you have links to the member’s preferred method of contact. Your community? On that page, they want to see good pictures of each person (mainly head and shoulders) so they’ll know if they’ll fit under the leadership. Request leadership to dress how the community would probably want to attend the church (and make sure it’s clothes they can buy today).
Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownForSomething.com and Executive Director of Center for Church Communication, influencing and empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.