Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY
Business Office: 68 South Swan Street - Albany, NY 12210 - (518) 465-4737
Christ the King Spiritual Life Center: 575 Burton Road - Greenwich, NY 12834 - (518) 692-9550

What a Church Website Should Be

by Gene Mason of the Parrish Group

Do people visit your church's website for the first time and the last time? Having an effective site isn't about bells and whistles. Make your site outgoing, up to date and distinctive, and you'll soon have folks coming back for more.

Most church websites leave much to be desired. Whether your church is online or planning to go online, remember three simple suggestions to make your site worth visiting.

Make It Outgoing
A church site is a point of communication from you to your congregation and guests, and from them to you. Don't hide email addresses, phone numbers or contact information. Make yourself easy to get in touch with. Be sure your site has directions to your church, your weekly schedule and other important information.

Being outgoing also means making your site guest-friendly. Assume every visitor to the site is a first-time guest of your church. Is there enough information for them to know how to get to your church, what times you have worship and Bible study, details about ministries they may be interested in, and contact information if they have questions?

Make It Up to Date
The Internet is an instantaneous medium, and nothing goes stale faster online than information. Keeping your site up to date is as simple as reviewing it every week or two to make sure information is still current and applicable. The web is littered with hundreds of church sites that were up to date for a while, and now sit unvisited because they've remained the same for months, even years. If you or your web volunteers aren't prepared to keep the site current, you may consider delaying the launch until you can make a commitment to regular updates.

Make It Distinctive
Let the website be something unique for your church. Put content online that your members and guests can't find anywhere else, and then encourage them to visit. Digital pictures from events, testimonies or stories from your members, message outlines and regular "minister chat" sessions are some of the things you can do online. Give visitors to your site a way to interact with your church they won't find anywhere else, and they'll click their way to you.

Remember, distinctive also means personal. Avoid flashy animations and cheesy background music. Instead, stick with online content that emphasizes the people of your staff and church.

Gene Mason is Vice-President of Creative for The Parrish Group, Inc., a ministry support organization, www.parrishgroup.com.

All PMI content is Copyright (C) 2001 The Parrish Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Articles from third-party authors are printed or reprinted by permission, and are the property of their respective copyright holders.

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