3 Smaller Church Websites We Can All Learn From

September 21, 2017

 

Do you know what I love about the internet more than anything else? It’s a meritocracy. You don’t need to spend $10,000 building a mobile app to reach people on their phones — you can just use Facebook for free. You don’t need to spend $5,000 building a website to act as your homebase online — you can use Squarespace and spend just $10/month.

 

It comes down to your abilities and hard work — not your church’s bank account.

 

And this is amazing news for smaller churches! A great digital presence isn’t dependent on your church’s cashflow. Tools exist today allowing you to excel on digital media without a building-fund-sized budget.

 

Need proof?

 

Below you’ll find 3 different church websites from smaller-sized churches. One of the churches is around 100 people, while the other two are around 500.

 

Perhaps more important than the size of the church, though, is the amount spent on their websites and the platforms they used to build them.

 

Any church can do this. Any size. With any budget.

 

1. Engage City Church

 

Church Size: 60 when website first launched; now at 150
Website Budget: $18/month
Platform: Squarespace (Alex Theme)

http://www.engagechurch.ca/

 

Engage City Church is a four-year-old startup in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.

 

The first thing you’ll notice on this website is stunning photography site-wide. And when I’m evaluating a church’s website, this is always the first thing I look for. Why? Because in an instant, photos give me an accurate depiction of what your church is like.

 

Remember that old rule on the web? You only have 10 seconds to make a good first impression on a visitor before they leave? Nothing does a better job of keeping people on your site than great photos.

 

What type of photos do you need? Here’s a short list (ranked from most important to least important):

  1. Smiling photos of people in your church

  2. Moments of worship in your auditorium

  3. Building shots (what does your church look like from the outside?)

  4. Your pastor preaching

Engage’s website is clearly targeted at new visitors, which is always the recommendation that I give to churches.

 

Moreover, everything I could possible want to know about this church is available on the homepage — yet it doesn’t feel cluttered. Here’s a list of valuable info that is accessible from the homepage:

  • What to expect when I attend Engage for the first time

  • Listen to a message from the pastor

  • Service times

  • Phone number

  • Address (with accompanying map)

  • Origin story

  • Call-to-action (CTA) ‘What It’s Like’

  • CTA ‘Who We Are’

  • CTA ‘What We Believe’

Finally, perhaps what stands out to me the most about Engage’s online presence, is that they dedicate an entire section of the homepage to Jesus. Shockingly, most churches don’t do this.

 

Not only this, but an entire page on the website is dedicated to Jesus. You can see it by clicking here. If your church doesn’t already have a page like this, I highly recommend adding one to your site.

 

2. River City Church

 

Church Size: 450 weekly attendance (including children)
Website Budget: $20/month
Platform: Squarespace

http://rivercitychurch.com/

 

The first thing I want to point out on River City Church’s website, is again, the stunning photos. One of the best investments your church can make is to twice-per-year hire a professional photographer to come in and shoot a couple hundred shots of your Sunday experiences.

 

Truthfully, many churches have competent photographers within their Sunday attendance already — in which case it doesn’t even need to be an expense.

 

The main headline on this website is a winner. Instead of River City Church talking about themselves and how great they are, they’re issuing an invitation: Come As Your Are. They follow this up with a brilliant CTA ‘Plan A Visit.’

 

Click on that link and you’ll see another great picture with an address, service time, and a map. You’ll get a little vision from their pastor and some additional CTAs to ‘Kids,’ ‘Next Steps,’ and ‘Who We Are.’

 

My favorite page on this website? The Connect page. Check it out at by clicking here.

 

The navigation on River City’s site is understated and minimal, but their footer always gives you access to everything you could possibly be looking for without feeling cluttered. Here’s all the information you can find in River City’s site-wide footer:

  • Address

  • Phone number

  • Service times

  • Social media links

  • Email newsletter subscription box

  • Site navigation menu

  • Scroll-to-top button

3. Church at Red River

 

Church Size: 500
Website Budget: $216
Platform: Squarespace (Bedford Theme)

http://churchatredriver.com/

 

Church At Red River takes advantage of a video background, rather than photos. And I’m a big fan of that. I don’t have a preference when it comes to video vs. photos on your church’s site, so go with whichever makes sense for you.

 

Another thing Church at Red River does a great job with is their monochromatic color scheme. The word ‘red’ is in their church’s name and so it only makes sense to use that as the main color site-wide. Nicely done.

 

Like the other two sites highlighted in this article, Church at Red River’s site messaging is targeted toward new visitors. Here’s a list of info you’ll find just on their homepage:

  • CTA to ‘Find Out More’

  • Service times

  • Address (with accompanying map)

  • Listen to messages

  • Email subscribe box

  • Phone number

By clicking on the ‘Find Out More’ button, you’ll go even deeper and be presented with the following information:

  • What We Believe

  • Pastors & Staff

  • Origin story

  • Contact information

All of this information is very easy to find and it’s all targeted at potential new visitors. This is the type of site that answers any and all questions a potential new visitor has and removes any barrier from checking out a service in person.

 

Conclusion

You don’t need a big budget to build a brilliant church website. The internet is a meritocracy. Tools like Squarespace help make it so.

 

Your church’s website will come down to your own ability, knowledge, and hard work. Use these church websites as shining examples of what you can build with very little money.

 

Of course, while these websites do a great job of reaching potential new visitors. What about your existing congregation?

 

Source: www.prochurchtools.com

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