I consulted with the Church Hospitality Team leader of a large urban church that is developing a parking lot ministry greeter team.
Over the decades, this church has acquired neighboring parcels of land in the city to expand their campus. The end result being that there is no contiguous land parcel for one parking lot.
Instead, there are small disconnected parking lots scattered around the campus of multiple buildings.
The question we explored is how to help first time church visitors navigate the complexity of multiple parking lots when certain lots are full.
Together, we discovered two useful ideas for the Church Website:
Have a first time visitors page
This particular church did not have any section, or even the home page, designed for the first time visitor in mind.
First Time church visitors seem to have a particular set of questions in mind visiting your website before coming to your church
- Are these people like me?
- Who is the pastor?
- Where is the church?
- What are the service times?
- What are the child care arrangements?
This is anecdotal, meaning, I have no statistics or hard links to back it up. But in the many years of talking with visitors and being a first time visitor to many churches, these are recurring questions.
A web page geared toward answering these questions should be present. Liberally use photos of your church’s social life and good quality in-life photos (not church directory portraits) of your staff. Show lots of maps.
Have a Web Page for Church Parking
This particular church has a unique challenge with its disjointed parking lots and one tip we discussed was a specialized page about parking.
This page should be graphic rich.
Have a sub-page with
- How to park,
- Photos of the parking lots and surroundings,
- Downloadable or printable maps of where they are in relation to the main building.
With a cheap flip-cam, one could even make a video showing the walking journey from each parking lot to the main building. The video can be on the website.
This handheld camera Flip Video Mino Series Camcorder makes it easy to grab a quick recording and upload it to an editor and then to your churches website or sites like YouTube.
I have started making small videos for online evangelism training course I’m developing. I can go from recording to on-line in under 20 minutes (that includes some editing time to clean up the video and put in headers / trailers)
Do a review of your church’s website as if you were a first time visitor.
- Does the home page answer the questions listed above?
Do a Internet search for churches in your neighborhood.
- Think as if you were searching for a church to attend this weekend.
- Pick one that you have not visited
- Pay attention to the questions you are asking of the website (where is this church, what time are services, etc)
- Could you find answers to your questions?
- How easy was it to find what you are looking for?
- Can you answer the same question on your church’s website?
Talk with your church web designer to fix what you have discovered.
P.S. If you would like your own consultaiton for a church website review, I can help you with that. Here is how -> Individual Consulting Call
PPS. Looking for more tips on first impressions? Buy my instant download book at www.welcomechurchvisitors.com