Potential visitors look at your website like a restaurant’s website.
What are you conveying?
I realize this isn’t a clever analogy for 99.9% of you, but I hope it will resonate with some of your pastors who discount your church website.
Since my wife and I moved to Chicagoland, a year ago, we’ve been trying to establish some restaurant “favorites.” This has been hard for us because there are no Chick-Fi-La’s, good BBQ, and the sweet tea is scarce.
I use several methods to find good restaurants, but I always end up going to Google for some quick research.
Here are three concIusions I make about a restaurant based on their online presence. You better believe folks do the same with church websites.
1. If you don’t have a website, I’m not going.
When searching for your restaurant, and I don’t find anything, it’s dead to me. We’re living in a world where if you don’t have an online presence, you’re irrelevant. Everyone has a neighbor, who has a nephew, who builds “interweb netsites.” In other words, it’s so easy to have some type of website these days.
It screams to me that you don’t care about my business, or you have enough, and don’t need mine.
The only thing that might salvage your online presence is having lots positive reviews on third party websites. Did you know these also exist for churches? You never know who’s out there: http://www.churchcloud.com and http://www.occhurches.org.
2. If you don’t have a menu, I’m going to be hesitant.
It’s one thing to tell me you have great food, and another to actually show me your menu.
Likewise, you can tell how much your church loves families, and how “relevant” you are, but I want to see what specifically you have for my family – kids programming and security, event listings, marriage strengthening, etc.
3. Interior pictures help me know what to expect.
I want to see if your restaurant looks like a place to bring the whole family, or just a date night with the wife. I also want to see how I should dress.
Stock photography, and “fake” diversity tell me nothing.
I don’t think churches should overuse photographay on websites because good photos are hard to come by. We use them sparingly on chapel.org, but we do have a welcome video, and other ministry videos for folks. The purpose is to give an accurate glimpse of what they can expect when they walk through our doors.
Can you think of any other analogies? Please comment below.