THE “FLOORPLAN” OF A CHURCH WEBSITE
Greetings and salutations from your friends at Church Plant Media. As we’ve shared previously, we are taking some time to expand on the concepts that we outlined in our post; A Church Website = an Online Building. We have been encouraging churches to think about their websites using these 5 “building” concepts: Cornerstone, Foundation, Floorplan, Exterior, and Entrance. Today, we will be considering the Floorplan.
Here is how we defined the Floorplan of a church website:
The floorplan maps out every room within the building. Every congregation needs a type of “sanctuary” where the sermons are preached, a room where church events take place, and an area for additional teaching and gospel instruction to be provided. Just as a church needs these places in their constructed facility, they should also be made available on the church website. The sermons need to be accessible via a podcast and sortable in a sermon archive by date, series, and speaker. Events need to be accessible in an integrated church calendar. Additional teaching and announcements should also be made available on a church blog.
Although it is within the reach of most churches to have a helpful website, many congregations only think of their website as an online billboard. In another post we shared that Whosoever Will May Read Your Content and we encouraged churches to serve both “casual visitors” and “researchers” with website content. The keyword here is SERVE. Ask yourself: Does an online billboard “serve” people? It may if they are only looking for directions, but it may not if they are looking for discipleship.
So what should be considered when setting up a church website? Take a walk with us around the “floorplan” of an average church building to see what should be included.
ENTRANCE a.k.a. HOMEPAGE
As you walk through the front door you are immediately greeted by the foyer or narthex; this corresponds with the website homepage. In a subsequent post we’ll discuss this “entrance” in greater detail. This is where you’ll greet your guests and help them find their way around the building. Suffice it to say you’ll need all the information for new visitors on display here. Ideally, your homepage answers the questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
BULLETIN a.k.a. BLOG
As you walk through the entryway, you are usually handed a bulletin with a handshake or a hug. In addition to sharing the order of service for the day, the bulletin typically contains a list of events and announcements. Featuring a blog output on the main “landing page” can function as the digital bulletin online for both new visitors and members. This is why many of the websites we design and build have upcoming events, recent blog posts, or a latest tweet right on the homepage.
SANCTUARY a.k.a. SERMONS
Walking further into the building you come to the meeting room or sanctuary. This is where the gospel is proclaimed each week. Most pastors spend between 10-20 hours each week preparing their sermon. In today’s age it is sad to see those hours of study only bearing fruit on a Sunday morning. The church website should be a place where those sermons are collected so people can access them throughout the week and for years to come. A pastor’s blog can also be used for all the juicy morsels that didn’t make it into the main course.
CLASSROOMS a.k.a. PAGES
From there, most church buildings usually have a hallway that opens up into rooms for classes and ministry. Consider this the rest of the website. Whatever information you usually communicate face-to-face with new visitors should be featured throughout the website. If your church has transitional steps for an attender to become a member, then outline each step on the church website. Don’t leave people guessing. Always ask yourself “what will be helpful to people?” and “how can we serve people?” with this content.
MULTI-PURPOSE a.k.a. EVENTS
Lastly, most brick-and-mortar meeting spaces usually have some type of fellowship hall or multi-purpose room that is used for special events. As you may have guessed, the church calendar or events page is the direct correlation here. If your church has events (hint: most churches have at least one weekly event on Sunday morning) then you need to have an events page. Be sure to have every event on the calendar link to a page with a description about that event, along with a map. This will help people know what to expect.
Your church website should be a direct reflection of your church building. Just start walking the halls to see what kind of content you should create. If there is anything we can do to help you as you serve your visitors online, don’t hesitate to give us a call at the number below.
Your friends at Church Plant Media | (800) 409-6631 x 1