12 Marks of Bad Church Websites

June 3, 2020

When our church consulting teams hire “spies” to visit churches, we usually give them only the name and address of the church. We want them to see if the church has a website and if the website is actually attractive and helpful. Here are several problems our “spies” have found with websites.

  1. The church doesn’t have a website. It’s almost hard to believe today that a congregation has no Internet presence, but it does happen. A church without a website seems almost non-existent in a world where potential guests first turn to the Internet to learn about them.
  2. The website looks cheap or out of date. Ask some young people to critique your church’s site. If they tell you it’s not attractive, it’s probably not. You likely already know if the site was cheap. 
  3. The site has no contact information. Maybe it’s just an oversight, or perhaps the church has no one to answer phones or respond to emails. Either way, the church has closed the door on a primary means of communication.
  4. The site provides no information about the services. Again, it’s almost unbelievable that a church would have a website with no service information. On the other hand, a church that thinks about only its own members probably sees no need to include service times (and, our experience is that the church with no service information on their site also doesn’t respond to requests for information). 
  5. The information is out of date. It’s always nice to know the details about the church’s community-wide Thanksgiving dinner – except when it’s January of the next year! Sometimes the dated information is deeper in the site than the home page, but any dated material is almost useless material.
  6. Spelling or grammar errors are common. I realize that website writing does not always require complete sentences, etc., but the errors we’re talking about here are basic writing errors such as misspelled words. Somebody in the church should catch these problems before the public catches them. 
  7. Links don’t work. Sometimes links to pages about other events go nowhere. Sign-ups for upcoming events aren’t functioning properly. Home page links to staff information go to blank pages. Again, potential guests should not be the first to recognize these problems.
  8. No driving directions are provided. Providing a clearly identified street address for the church is a start. With the numerous options available for linking to maps and driving directions, though, not providing those links is a serious omission.
  9. Stock pictures don’t reflect the church. The pictures may reflect the “vision” of the church, but website visitors will not know that. If the pictures are all young families and the congregation is only senior adults, the visiting family with preschoolers will probably be surprised.
  10. No recorded or streamed sermons are available. Like it or not, potential guests may choose to listen to a sermon before deciding whether to attend. Not making sermons available may well make the decision for those guests.
  11. Childcare information is not provided. Young families will likely look elsewhere if this information is not available.
  12. The site does not include an easily located, clearly described plan of salvation. You never know who may visit your site. If a non-believer checks out the site, will he/she have the opportunity to read and respond to the gospel? 

 What other marks of bad websites have you seen?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

30 Comments

  • Stephen says on

    The only thing worse than having no contact info is to have outdated contact info that no one responds to. How many potential new members are lost from unanswered emails/phone calls?

  • Thank you for the website check list. It has been helpful to me.

  • trevor sisk says on

    Honestly, I just want to see pictures of the congregation, hear the music and hear a sermon. Whatever you do best, showcase it on the website. If in a picture you have an organ but don’t feature a clip of hymn singing, i’ll assume the organ is for decoration only. If you say you have a choir with no picture of the choir, i’ll assume they are small and struggling. If you don’t feature a clip of the choir singing, i’ll assume they suck. If you are small and growing, say so! Don’t try to over market and trick people into coming. Make sure your website features your “main” service. If both are equal showcase them both. Finally, don’t be afraid to show off a traditional side of church. You will be surprised how many people are no longer turned on anymore by the fact that you have a Mercy Me type concert all ready to go on Sunday morning. Churches doing traditional church well are thriving – I said WELL – with full, majestic choirs, organs leading in creative hymn singing and the majesty that can only be experienced one time a week in one place – Church. I just went to a praise and worship rock concert the night before and it was great. However, in the full life of a Christian, Sunday morning is time for the meat and potatoes, the tradition, the sacrament and the sanctity that is worshiping God.

  • Not described what the church believes (i.e. articles of faith).

    What we believe is a very important issue for everyone (church members, prospects or searchers).

1 2