Gospel Communications has created a website for Internet Evangelism Day that offers a comprehensive list of over 70 tips to consider when developing a church website to reach your community. Not every tip will be right for your church, but they do offer some good food for thought. I do not agree with all seventy plus tips, but some of the ones that I would recommend include:
2. A good church site must communicate with three very different target groups: (1) the church members, (2) Christians moving to the area who are looking for a new church, and (3) non-Christians in the community.
3. If you wish your site to reach non-Christians in the community, make a conscious decision that this is to be an over-riding priority for every aspect of the site.
5. Avoid all “churchy” jargon and “Christianese” language throughout the site, especially on the homepage.
8. A primary task of the website is to convince non-Christians of these four things: (1) our church is made up of real people, (2) we understand their problems, (3) we are a community, family, and there is unconditional welcome waiting for them, and (4) in that context, God can meet them and help them.
15. Consider a “New to this site?” visitors link on your homepage. This enables you to offer a particular welcome to an outsider.
24. Your church site will be the first point of contact for many people in your community. First impressions count.
25. Do not place too much information on your homepage.
27. Avoid “churchy” graphics – open Bibles, stained glass windows, doves, candles. And appeals for money. These are off-putting to many non-Christians.
36. Also learn how to use CSS.
37. Use colors correctly: understand how to choose a color scheme, how colors relate to each other, and what mood they communicate.
43. Don’t leave out-of-date content online.
46. Take time to assess your target audience, their interests, needs and circumstances.
57. Test your site from a technical viewpoint in different browsers, and at different screen resolutions.
62. Do not offer too many links in your navigation menu.
64. Make sure your pages download quickly.
73. Ensure that every day, someone reads incoming emails to the church.
More on church websites from an old post at Church Relevance.com