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Design, Marketing, Technology | Jan. 5, 2012

Things That Should Never Be Found on a Church Website

Things That Should Never Be Found on a Church Web Site

It’s a blessing to be able to make a living helping churches with their branding and marketing. I’ve been at it for a little over 10 years now and while we have seen church marketing make great strides over the past decade many churches still have a L-O-N-G way to go. And to be honest, there are just some things that should never be found on a church website. Consider this awesome organizational chart we found on an unnamed church web site.

I don’t have a problem with organizational charts. We have one here at d2design and all of our team members understand our organizational structure. However, you can search our web site and blog and you won’t find our organizational chart. For one reason, organizational charts don’t belong on web sites (99.99% of the time they don’t anyway). Organizational charts are for insiders and insiders are pretty much the only people interested in them. Truthfully, even insiders aren’t interested in them.

But, if we’re not careful here we will miss the real issue with this chart being on a church web site. Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, it’s confusing. But the real church communication error here is that it serves no public purpose. Truth be told, there are probably a lot of things on your church web site that don’t belong there either.

Take a look through your church’s web site or maybe someone else’s and see what’s on there that just doesn’t belong. Let me know what you find. I only ask that you don’t name any churches specifically. Our goal here is to help each other communicate better – not have fun at someone else’s expense.

We’ll get the list started:

extremely long staff bios
organ music that plays on the homepage
clip art that dances

  • Ryan Scott

    Typos. ::hanging head in shame:: I have had my fair share of them

    Kudos on the music thing. Music auto playing on a website earns an auto close from me.

    • We have our fair share of typos too

  • Pingback: 7 Most Common Church Web Site Mistakes()

  • Long bio that includes everything from the pastors conversion experience to present. My question is always this: What is the purpose of your site.”

  • trhuth

    On things that do belong…I don’t have it on autoplay, but a video of our worship seems to be popular. We have had people visit our church simply because they said they appreciated that we showed them what our worship was like…and they liked it so they gave us a try.

  • John

    Just wanted to mention more often than not, long copy works better than short copy, and we’ve had tests that prove it (I know, most marketers say the opposite – but think about it, why was their marketing teacher settling for $50,000/year – many times it’s because they weren’t that good at marketing) ..

    The catch is this – the copy has to be good – preferably really good, interesting copy.

    If it’s not good, than yes, shorter is better. This is where professional copywriters come in. Yes, you can write your own copy, but I’d recommend professional copy for the more permanent pieces.

    Anyway, just my take. Of course this is all very tricky because even the idea of marketing turns off many members – so you have to be careful (Billy Graham’s people even deny that they ‘do marketing’ – even though they obviously do).

    (I have to admit, a lot of larger ministries that do a lot of marketing really lead the little guys astray sometimes. They act like they were just blessed, or their prayer works better or something, but the reality is that those who dial-in their marketing the best tend to do well, and a lot of it has to do with other factors such as financing, location, branding etc. – kind of like a business unfortunately).

    Why do I mention this when I know it will probably tick some people off? Because I believe, if someone were to REALLY dial-in their evangelism/outreach (marketing) efforts, then we can win many more people to Christ, and get this thing over with (I’m ill, and looking forward to the rapture). So let’s git ‘er done!

  • John

    In regard to my last comment ..

    My favorite approach is probably using both short and long copy.

    Basically you just use short copy with the option of going long (give the reader the option of going long).

    For a lot of people the short copy is enough, and they won’t read the rest. But many folks want more, and this is where the long copy comes in (my dad is a short copy guy, and my mom loves long copy – go figure).

    Also, short copy is usually fine for current church members, or a warmer market, but to get new members it’s much more difficult and can require both short and long copy.

  • directmail4churches.com

    I agree with you that church marketing helps a lot in the promotion of different churches online.

  • Memorial-land.com

    I agree with all your facts and the mistakes which we usually find in a church’s website. I have done several church sites in the past and these are some very common mistakes seen in their sites.

  • Ben

    Haha I love the end list lol… organ music and clip art that dances 🙂 a must have 😉

    • Our team sees LOTS of dancing clip art…unfortunately it is still a thing.

  • ciyelceo1

    lol I had a pastor ask me to make him walk out onto the website to greet his viewers (using flash of course..) LOLOL….i still chuckle at that one….lol

  • Ben Haith

    “Support Community Churches” is a national slogan that will help foster better relations between churches and the people who live near them. Thank You!