It makes a lot of sense for a church to have a website. Churches usually prioritize connecting with their local communities, developing relationships and meeting people where they are. A church website is an excellent tool for any congregation that wants to expand their local reach and give more people the opportunity to engage with their message.
But church websites can present their own particular set of challenges. From my experience in working on church websites, I have come up with this list of 10 challenges faced by many church websites.
Of course, many – if not all – of these challenges are not unique to church websites. But, together, they make up a list of common problems faced by churches trying to improve their online presence. But don’t worry – I offer some suggestions on how to deal with these problems should they arise.
So, if you are a minister or church staff member who is interested in getting your church online or improving your online presence, I hope you’ll find some helpful information in this article.
10. User Experience
User Experience, or “UX” (as the cool kids say), is the art and science of making a website intuitive and easy-to-use for every visitor.
Churches often have a lot of information they want to show visitors. Upcoming events, sermons, staff info, beliefs – and more. It takes some thought to figure out the best way to organize and present this information so visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
Another important aspect of UX is your site’s loading speed. A slow site hurts the user’s experience – so you want to make sure your hosting configuration is optimized and delivering the best speeds possible.
Of course, these things require some technical knowledge that many church staff simply don’t have the time to learn. Churches often run big operations with small staffs, with everyone taking on many responsibilities.
Thus, UX can be a big challenge for church websites. Happily, RojaTech, LLC knows how to create an excellent user experience for your members and visitors.
9. Writing Content/Copywriting
Many times, churches have a lot of written content on their websites. Write-ups of church history, staff bios, church or denomination beliefs – it can really add up!
It takes a lot of time for church staff to research, write, proofread, edit and publish all the written content on a church website.
Therefore, filling a church website with helpful and well-written content can certainly be a challenge for many churches.
Thankfully, RojaTech, LLC provides copywriting services – so there’s no need to worry about it!
8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Like any business or organization, churches need to be found online. Many churches can struggle with SEO because they share a name with other churches, or their name is very similar to other churches.
Also, churches usually want to attract a local audience in particular. They want to connect with people in their local community, or at least those who live close enough to regularly attend the church. This means they need to target a specific geographic area, which presents an additional SEO challenge.
You can spend whatever you want on SEO. There are lots of firms out there promising amazing results – but for a few grand a month. It’s amazing how much some of these agencies charge.
7. Data Collection
Churches, like any other business or organization, often like to collect data about the usage of their website so as to find ways to improve it. This can be challenging, especially since data collection methods can be invasive and create a barrier to users engaging with the website.
Optional forms created using plug-ins like WP Forms or Elementor can serve well as a non-invasive means for members to voluntarily provide data in a similar manner to churchgoers filling in a pew register. This is preferable to having a page or form that blocks the site’s content until it is filled in and submitted.
Additionally, there are plug-ins that can fill in the gaps and provide more info and analytics. Some notable plug-ins that can help tell you more about your visitors are Google Site Kit, Jetpack, and WP Visitor Statistics.
Connecting your site to Google Analytics and Google Search Console are also good ideas to gather more info on your site’s traffic.
(By the way, RojaTech, LLC can help with all this.)
6. Lots of Multimedia Files
Churches are complex organizations with lots of events, ministries and projects all happening at once.
Multimedia is a huge part of this. Most churches like to have photo galleries of recent events and archives of things like recent sermon videos/audio, bulletins and announcements.
This means that there is a lot of information that not only needs to be organized, but also stored.
If there are lots of photos and videos on your website, there’s a high likelihood that the site is running slowly, unless you’ve taken specific steps to help with that.
By the way, that’s also something RojaTech can help you with.
5. Donation Page
Churches, as non-profits, run on donations. It’s very important for any church to have an easy way for people to donate online.
There are many services that exist specifically for this purpose, but I would recommend Anedot and ShelbyNext from personal experience. These two services seem to work pretty well for churches and charities, but there are many others.
This also brings up another topic – always make sure that your donation page is secure! People aren’t going to use a donation page that causes their browser to throw a warning.
And it’s not just your donation page that needs to be secure. Your whole website needs a valid SSL certificate(s) to give your visitors confidence and trust in your website.
Security is top priority for any RojaTech, LLC website.
Churches have members of all ages, some of whom may have medical conditions and/or disabilities that can make interacting with the website more challenging.
It’s a great thing for church websites to be easy to read with large print and high contrast between the letter color and background. This can be very helpful to those with poor vision, like yours truly. But this is just one example – there are additional ways to improve accessibility, such as using alt tags to make image descriptions available to people using screen readers (not to worry, RojaTech knows how to do this stuff).
Also, not everyone will be using the newest device on a blazingly-fast fiber internet connection. Website designers need to keep in mind those who are using older devices or slower internet connections when making a church website. That’s another reason why loading speeds are so critical for church websites.
When RojaTech creates a church website, we make sure to keep accessibility in mind so that the website is useful to as many people as possible.
3. Constant Need for Updates
Churches are dynamic. There’s always something new going on – a new event, ministry, or class is always about to start.
Church websites need to be updated weekly, if not more, in order to stay relevant. If a church leaves a bunch of outdated, irrelevant information on their website, then people probably won’t visit it much. The website needs current, helpful information in order for people to use the site.
Church staffs can get busy, and when that happens, it’s often the website that ends up falling behind. And it’s a cumulative effect – at first, there’s just a few things out of date, but then after a while, it can become an overwhelming project, which just compounds the problem.
When you choose RojaTech, LLC Web Design, we offer a plan that provides up to 10 content updates per month – so you don’t have to worry about keeping the site current and useful for your visitors.
It’s not just your content that needs to be updated over time. There’s also back-end maintenance that needs to be done to make sure your site is running safely and quickly, like it’s supposed to.
Sometimes, this is another thing that churches let slide. It’s a lot to learn and keep track of, and there’s always something more pressing to deal with than updating WordPress or your version of PHP.
Having this worry taken care of is another benefit of hiring RojaTech, LLC to take care of your church’s website needs.
Cost is a big factor for a lot of churches who need a website. With many web designers charging thousands of dollars for a website, it can be challenging for a church to find someone who can get them online for a reasonable price.
Again, that’s where RojaTech, LLC comes in. We offer competitive pricing and can set up a great website for your church at a cost that fits your budget.
Thank you for reading! If you find that you experience any of these challenges when setting up your church website, please feel free to contact RojaTech, LLC – we are happy to help.