A clear target for your church’s website is critical. For some people, the purpose of a church site is fuzzy; it’s just sorta hanging in space for anyone to see. If this is how you see your site, you’re missing out on a lot of visitors to your site and your church. If you don’t have a clear vision for who should be visiting your site, and why, then you are definitely missing the mark.
Your website must have an intended audience, or it will have no audience.
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Churches have a unique challenge in the design community because they must stand up to the scrutiny of three audiences: Jesus, Visitors, and Members. Your site must be one that makes Jesus famous, represents your church honestly and attractively to Visitors, and engages your Members.
Your Three Audiences:
Like the rest of Creation, your website exists to glorify God. (It’s funny to think of the internet as part of Creation, isn’t it?) The primary focus of any church website is to make Jesus famous above anything else, He should stand out above your slick design, new building, cool pastor, or even the Bible. Anyone who visits your site should be amazed by who Jesus is and what he’s doing in your community.
A simple test: ask yourself, when Jesus visits my site, is he proud of what we’ve done?
Among temporal beings, new visitors are the primary audience of your site. They’re the main (human) reason your site exists.
Most of the visits to your site will be made by people thinking about attending your church. What does your site say to visitors about you and your congregation?
Be sure that you have a site that is not only appealing to visitors, but also meets their needs by including the information they are looking for, like your location and service times.
The final target audience is your Membership. Your site can be a hub of connection for the lives of your congregation. On a basic level, you can connect them to the church as an organization; you can help them find information about events, download Bible study materials, or listen to the sermon they missed last Sunday.
Another strategy is to connect your members to one another. And don’t forget that this “connection” aspect of your web presence can extend beyond your website. Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for bringing people together, as well as Twitter or even an iPhone App.
Take a look at your website. What specific, intentional steps are you doing to make Jesus famous, greet Visitors, and connect Members? Share your ideas with us in the comments, or on twitter (@churchthemesnet). We’d love to hear ‘em!