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

A Poor Church Webite Can Misrepresent Your Hard Work

The average church website I visit gets a grade of C-minus. Many are so bad they should be taken down. Many websites make the congregation look amateurish. Or worse, they create confusion or a boring impression of your church's ministry.

Recently, I was browsing some of the church websites listed in our Contact Directory. Like most church websites, many of them have BIG flaws that are easily corrected.

One of the big flaws doesn't make any sense to me. Some churches are burying their Sunday School link --and yet "looking for a church home for their children" is one of the reasons people visit churches. Another flaw all too often found is that the link to the Sunday School isn't on the church's main page, but buried under a sub-topic such as "ministries." More commonly, the link to the Sunday School is buried in plain site on a poorly laid-out main page. Another easy to fix flaw is the use code-words for Sunday School that visitors won't understand, especially un-churched visitors. Rather than naming the link to Sunday School, "Sunday School" or "Children's Ministry" or even Christian Education," quite a few church websites have a cute in-house name for their Sunday School on the main page of the site. If you call your Sunday School "The Lighthouse" --then on your website it should be titled "The Lighthouse Sunday School." Several church sites I've visited don't even HAVE a link to Sunday School information.

Perhaps the biggest flaw is a poor Sunday School page. Boring is deadly, and yet so easily fixed. One or two good pictures (clear, happy, colorful, not dark) are worth a thousand words on your Sunday School webpage. Parents of elementary age children are a very internet connected and savvy group. Not only will a good Sunday School webpage be attractive to visitors, it will reinforce the message of quality you want to send to your church members who view the page.

Technical Tip: How To Avoid Dark Fuzzy Photos On Your Webpage

When you put a photo on the web it must be compressed so the page will load quickly. A typical photo off a digital camera is over 1 megabyte in size. That photo must be compressed down to about 30 or 40 kilobytes (KB). But, compressing photos also tends to turn them dark and murky. It takes a special piece of software to make them look right. I recommend Photoshop Elements 4.0 from Adobe.

Does A Church Website Matter?

My small church's modest website averages 600 visitors a month, of whom 40% stay longer than 30 seconds. 23% of visitors stayed five minutes or more. About 25% of all visitors come to our website during hours when the church office is closed. During a worship service this past summer, over a third of those in attendance raised their hands when the pastor asked "how many of you have seen the recent mission trip photos on the website." In our last new member class, a family of five joined telling our pastor that they had first learned about our church "on the web."

I regularly and freely offer advice, tips, and opinion to churches about their websites. Email me.
<>< Neil MacQueen

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