James: All right Joanna what are some simple quick and very practical things that people should include on their church website?
Joanna: Well we've been talking a lot in the last few episodes about building a website and costs of a website. But I want to give today a couple ideas of things that people could implement today this week into their website to just up the game a little bit so we'll talk about that.
James: All right so today we're talking about the practical things that you should be adding to a website to keep it simple and maybe just some things maybe people wouldn't think about. What is the first one that you want to talk about?
Joanna: The first thing I want people to think about is does their website have a first time visitor section or a tab that says new here? The thing that when people are going to a website for the first time they're looking for some key information and you can put it all in one place. So on a first time visitor page It's a simple thing to add to a website you already have without having to start all over or a section that you can add and you want to think about things like the questions a person who's new has things like: what do I do with my kids? Is there a program for my kids? Is it a safe program? Some churches you can register your kids in advance before you show up. Now that takes a little bit more coordination because then it has to go from the website through to the team who cares for your kids if people are signing up there. There needs to be some sort of forum built in. And so then has to get sent over to them so that they're being expected from the moment they arrive. You want to think about parking some people are not going to know, do I have to pay for parking? Is it street parking? Is there a covered lot? I know things like that. You want to think about clothing. Some people are wondering what kind of stuff can I wear to church church? Do I have to wear a suit to your church? Is this casual? What if I showed up in my sports jersey all that kind of stuff. Things things that are the high level information that people want to know the first time they're coming to your church.
James: And absolutely like service times to right. What time does it start?. That's it's pretty important.
Joanna: Yeah well when and where is it?
James: And being someone that's moved across the country a few times. I can understand how hard it is. It can be really overwhelming to go to a new church. There's a lot of fear there's some anxiety built in. And sometimes as church people we forget that because we're so comfortable in the environment we're like church for me is like a second home. I grew up in the church as a pastor's kid. It felt like a second home I knew everybody. It was it was a lot of fun as a kid or even as an adult because you know everybody but when you're new you don't walk into familiar faces. It is very overwhelming you don't understand what's going on and you feel very uncomfortable and that can lead people to not wanting to come or leave early or can just turn and run. And that's kind of you know that's that's a temptation every time. We tend to kind of want to run away from things that scare us. As church people, especially with the website we want to be inviting and bringing people in saying "hey you're uncomfortable it's OK but we're going to do our best to help along".
Joanna: It's exactly like people have. It takes a lot of courage to go to a church for first time whether you've been to a church before or not. Every church even especially if you've never been to church like some people have literally asked me do I have to pay to attend church? Like asking if there is a ticket at the door because some people have never really been a church. They don't know anything about it. And so there's some of these questions we may not have even thought of. So what I would say is if you're going to build this page go to a few other websites for other churches see what they're including on the first time visitor page so that it can help trigger for you some ideas of what you want to include, like how long is a service? And As soon as you have some things like a photo of your sanctuary or your worship center it shows people what the room is going to feel like maybe you have samples of some of the songs you saying all that maybe have a welcome message from your senior pastor on there so people can get familiar with who that person is.
James: Yeah absolutely you're trying to remove barriers to trying to make it feel more familiar even if you've never been there so the people can walk in and say okay I get the lay of the land understand what's going on here. And still might be uncomfortable but you've helped them in that initiation process into welcoming them into your community.
Joanna: That's right. I mean there's tons of other things we could think about with websites but that's the big idea for today I want to get across a first time visitor page or for some visitor section on the website. Maybe you want to think about like having photos of your staff. People love to go to those pages. People want to see events like current events what's happening next people want to see maybe what you believe your theology or the background of the church the history of the church. But for now for me the big idea today is do you have a place for people going for the very first time your church to know what to expect and have more courage to be able to come out because you had good information for them on your website. That was easy to find.
James: And that's what we talked about in the previous episode. We talked about what is the purpose of a church website and I believe it's your resumé. It's your way to put your best foot forward and so having the page that literally is the welcome mat. Like you're saying we're here for new people not just for you know our inner circle or that's already this is for new people. Everyone is welcome this is a community not a club.
Joanna: Awesome well where can people find you James online?
James: They can find me on Instagram at visualmediachurch. And Joanna how about you?
James: On the next episode where are we talking about how to like adapt and keep your your website up to date constantly because things are changing from week to week month to month of year to year so you need to keep your website living and breathing and moving along with your people.