This next section is one of the most important areas of your entire site. Why? Because, as you are probably sick of me saying by now, your website is one of your chief marketing tools.
There are many sections of your site that can serve your church members. From giving to live streams to sermon notes, bulletins, and other info, there are plenty of ways that your congregants can benefit from a website.
Even so, often those who are going to get the most out of a website like this are going to be the visitors. We’ve already touched on a few areas where this applies.
For instance, if someone who has never been to your church visits your site, they should be able to get a feel for what it’s like to attend a service or other church-related event. They can find information about your staff, pictures of your building, details about your theology, and even directions to get there.
However, the most important area of your site, as far as visitors are concerned, should be your “plan your visit” page. If you don’t have a plan a visit page or you’ve never heard the term before, I’ll briefly break it down.
A plan your visit page is basically a page where you gather all of the information that can be helpful for a new visitor to know. Plan your visit pages often go by other names, like “I’m New,” “New Here?” or simply “Visiting.”
Usually, a button or clickable link is placed on the home page, the menu, or both locations, inviting newcomers to, well, plan their first visit. Occasionally the plan a visit content itself is put right on the home page, but I recommend putting a link there and then keeping the rest of the information organized in its own section.
Once they’re on the plan your visit page, a potential visitor should be walked through a series of steps that prepare them for a visit.
Now, I’ve seen all sorts of information included on a plan a visit page. Everyone includes some things and not others. They also tend to prioritize the information differently, as well.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you think visitors will want to know before they stop in. However, I’ll give you two challenges as you sort that out:
First, remember that this content is typically for someone that you’re still in the process of convincing to visit your church, so stay inviting, informative, and brief.
Second, consider asking recent visitors to your church what information they would have looked for when planning their first visit, then use this to inform how you structure the page.
With all that said, let’s go through a brief rundown of some of the items that you can typically find on a plan your visit page:
- Length of service: How long should a visitor expect a service to last? Is there a strict schedule or a more relaxed end time?
- Typical attire: How do people tend to dress when attending your church? Is there a dress code?
- Kids programs: What will happen to a visitor’s children when they arrive? Will you have a safe environment ready for them?
- Style of worship: What is the kind of music that your church tends to play? Do you do things like raising hands?
- Basic beliefs: Are there any fundamental beliefs that you think are important for someone to know before visiting?
- An FAQ section: Are there common questions worth answering? What about other things like testimonials or holiday service times?
You can list all of this info right on a page using text, pictures, videos, or a mixture of all three. You can even pull together an e-guide that someone can download and keep on their device as they get ready.
Your plan your visit page should be the most pulled together part of your website after your home page. It’s the area where you want to make a great impression that accurately reflects your church.
As you decide what to include and where to situate each item, just remember the goal: to give your church some personality. If your about us page is confusing rather than enlightening its readers, it needs an overhaul.
As a last note, remember that this info is equally used by both church members and potential visitors. Make sure to create the content with both groups in mind.