First impressions count, and the homepage is usually going to be the first page that visitors will see on your website.
With the internet now being the main way in which people find a church, then this could mean that with a homepage without the right information, your church is missing out on potential new members.
Mistakes can include having a long 'essay' on the homepage possibly about the church history or church background. Whilst this content may be good to put somewhere on the website, it is best to avoid placing it on the homepage.
Your website audience
So, as with all web pages, we need to think about the 3 main groups of audiences that our website should cater for and try and have some information for each of these groups:
Christians looking for a church
Non-Christians (those located near your church)
Here are some tips for what you could put on your church homepage:
Welcome from the minister – make first time visitors welcome straight away! This could be a short paragraph which then links to a longer welcome on another page if necessary.
Evangelistic course – if your church is doing a course such as Alpha then make sure this is highlighted on the homepage so that people interested in Christianity can see straight away that there is a course just for them.
Updates to the website – if you have added a new page / photos to the site then why not promote this on the homepage under a 'Latest Updates' section? (with Church Edit this can be done automatically)
Summary of the upcoming weekly events with the full date (with Church Edit this can be done automatically).
Map showing the location of the church – this could be a small map which then links to an online mapping website such as Google Maps.
Voting Poll – you could add a bit of fun to your homepage by having a voting poll (with Church Edit it is easy to create voting polls)
Links to the latest sermon and sermon notes.
Keywords on your homepage
Don't forget to include within your homepage the 'keywords' that people may enter when trying to find your website. These keywords should be included within structured sentences such as (keywords highlighted in bold to illustrate): The New Life Church is an Assemblies of God Church located in Crawley)”.
For a web page to appear within a search result, the keywords need to be found within that web page. So if someone was searching for a church in Crawley then the above example should appear in the search results as 'Church' and ‘Crawley’ are located on the page.