The Most Important Page On Your Church Website: The Home Page, Part 1By
I’ve been reading Jakob Nielsen’s Prioritizing Web Usability (an expensive book – around $30 — but absolutely worth it!) as supplemental reading for the Building Rockin’ Church Websites series … and it’s helped me rethink church Web site home pages.
So this post will probably need to be about 2 or 3 posts on just the subject of home pages. But for the time being, let’s talk about the most important page on your church Web site — the index page, the home page.
Home pages are the most valuable real estate on the Web!
Just like your church’s foyer and your home’s living room, your site’s home page is a critical component for your church’s Web presence. It can either be inviting or intimidating.
Here are some ideas and suggestions for making your home page “comfortable” for your site’s guests:
- Determine your priorities – For instance, do you want guests and others to subscribe to your weekly email newsletter, or get connected with a small group/Sunday school class? If so, make sure those elements are prominent.
- Keep it simple – Avoid the tendency to make your site’s home page look like a garbled blob of text that is randomly thrown together.
- Design for function and purpose with your target audiences in mind.
- Don’t use fancy “bells and whistles” – Avoid the temptation of placing flashy, hard-to-maintain graphics and other “gizmos” on your site … often they will just get in the way of your mission and ability to make changes when needed.
- Put everything they need or want right at their fingertips – Will your congregation be looking for the weekly fellowship meal menu? Put that where it’s easy to find. Or will your guests want to know about your childcare for services?
- Use photos of people and families – Either take candid photos of several church families, or purchase stock photography; photos give your site a personal feel.
- Include an attractive photo of your church building — “Attractive” being the key here. If it looks like the David Koresh Compound, then try taking another one.
- ALWAYS include first-time guest information – See target audiences and goals
- Give something away FREE – I recently did a series about great guest booklets [start here 1, 2, 3, 4], something I did while at Midwestern with good success.
Again, there’s more to talk about concerning home pages. Stay tuned.