Poor navigation on your website will cause your guests to leave quickly and not connect with your church.

Here are three things you can do right away to improve the navigation on your church website and keep guest from bouncing.

Transcript

Hey everybody, what’s up? So today, in today’s video, we’re going to talk about websites and specifically navigation for your website, how you can improve the navigation on your website.

One of the things that will cause your visitors to leave your website faster than anything is a poor navigation menu where they can’t find what they’re looking for. So in this video, I’m gonna show you three things you need to do to clarify the navigation, to clean up the navigation, to make it simple for your guests who are visiting your website. Ready? Here we go!

Hey everyone. I’m Joshua, I’m the creator of WorshipResources.church. We help you discover and learn how to use quality resources to make your church better. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll visit us at WorshipResources.church, and take a minute to like this video, go ahead and click that like button beneath me and subscribe to this channel. We’re almost to 100 subscribers, which is awesome! Subscribe to this channel, so you don’t miss any of the new content we produce.

So let’s look at navigation in websites. Okay, let’s look at three things you need to do to make your website easy to navigate for all of your visitors. Anyone who visits your website needs to be able to easily access the information they are looking for. So these three things will help you have a better website and better navigation inside your website, ready…

Number one, simplify the language, simplify the language.

Churches are notorious for using church-y words that we don’t use any other place. Words like, fellowship and blessing… I mean think of it, when is the last time you said the word “fellowship” outside of church? We never use those words in our everyday life, and we shouldn’t use those type of words on our website because they’re confusing, especially to guests.

Another thing we use that’s confusing to guest is acronyms. We use acronyms on our website and in communication, but acronyms confuse people and actually make them feel like outsiders. When you hear an acronym and you don’t know what that acronym means, that makes you feel like you don’t belong. So churches will say things like, join your ABF in the FLC. Okay, what is ABF in the FLC? Well, it’s your Adult Bible Fellowship, there’s fellowship…

Adult Bible Fellowship in the Family Life Center. Okay, so why not just say, join a group in the gym. It’s a gym, it’s not a Family Life Center. It’s the gym, go to the gym and join your group.

But we use acronyms which confuse people and cause people to feel like outsiders. So on your website and in your communication, don’t use acronyms and don’t use church-y language. Simplify the language.

And this is what you can do to make sure that you’re not using church-y language or language that’s hard to understand. Read your website through the lens of a first-time guest, a first-time guest. And not even somebody who’s never visited your church, somebody who’s never visited any church. Think about them.

Okay, give them a name. Let’s say his name is George. George has never visited any church. Can he go to your website and understand everything that you’re talking about? Can he go to your website and understand what he’s supposed to do? Using church-y language and using acronyms is causing people to be confused and not be able to take their next step, whatever it is, at your church. So the very first thing you’ve gotta do is simplify the language.

So I want you to look at your website, go to your website and look at it through the lens of a first time guest, and see if there’s anything on the site that doesn’t make sense.

In fact, here’s an idea, go to a coffee shop and offer to pay for someone’s coffee if they will give you five minutes to look at your website. Open up your computer, show them your website and ask them to explain what they’re seeing. Ask them to explain what are you supposed to do after looking at this site? And see what they say. After you talk to them, you will have some clarity about your site and what needs to change, what language needs to change.

So simplify the language. Simplify the language on your site to make it easily navigatable. Navigatable? Is that word? Easy to navigate.

Alright, the second thing you need to do to make your website easy to navigate, is to simplify the header. Simplify the header menu.

So that’s the menu at the very top of the site that has all the links that you can click on okay.

 A lot of this comes from Donald Miller and his Story Brand Framework, a really great resource. I would encourage you to check out his podcast and the book Building a Story Brand. But he says, and I agree, that your website header, the menu should be very clear, very simple, and have one call to action.

So I’m here on a site that are recently created for Crossroads Church, and you can see this is the header menu. And you can see there’s one main call to action, and it’s here twice – plan a visit is the main call to action.

It’s a different color button. It’s very noticeable and it makes people wanna click on it. Okay, and I have four other tabs; about, with a few drop-downs, get involved, with a few drop-downs, ministries, and messages. So your header menu needs to have a main call to action – one button that you want people to click, one next step that you want people to take.

For churches, I think it should be “Plan A Visit”, maybe “Watch A Service”, or maybe “Meet Our Pastor”. Okay, something like that. It’s a very active step that you want people to take. And it’s that main call to action. That’s what your header should have.

And then the rest of your header should be as simple as possible, four, five, maybe six other buttons that people can click. You don’t need every page on your website in your header. That just confuses everybody and makes your website cluttered. Remember when people visit your website, you want them to take one step, especially that first time guest. What is that first call to action? That first next step that you want them to take. That should be the main focus in your header. The other buttons are gonna be big blocks of things.

Okay, so you can see on this site we have about, get involved, ministries, messages, and of course, Plan A Vsit. For most churches, you don’t need anything additional in the header menu. Keep it as simple as possible.

So I want to encourage you to go to your church website and look at the menu, the header menu. If you have seven or eight or nine or 10 buttons, really ask yourself, “Are all of these absolutely necessary in the header?”

Can I simplify this in some way? In fact, it might be that you just need to simplify the entire structure of your website. Remember the goal of a website is to inform your first time guests and to help your members stay connected. It’s not to confuse. So simplify, simplify, simplify.

Okay, the third thing that you need to do – and I’m actually gonna pull a 180 on you – the first thing was to simplify the language, the second thing is to simplify the header.

The third thing that you need to do to make your website easy to navigate, put everything in the footer. Put everything in the footer.

I know this may seem crazy, but the footer is often called the “junk drawer” of a website. So you can put anything you want in the footer and it’s okay. It’s not gonna mess up your site. You need to have your address, your phone number, your email address, your service times, contact us, social media follows, all the pages on your website – put everything in the footer.

So I’m gonna show you a great example of this, and that’s Gateway Church GatewayPeople.com. Here’s their main site. And they have quite a few buttons at the top, but this is a really large church, a really large ministry. Okay, their main call to action is they want you to watch a service. That’s very clear because they have the service playing right there on the home page, above the fold. But if I scroll all the way down to the bottom and I look…

And this is their footer. Now, this is a beautiful footer. Notice there are six columns, notice it’s a clean background, with just text. There’s no images, there’s no fancy animation, nothing like that. This is everything that you need to be able to access.

So of course, they have their about information, there’s their contact information, watch, give, connect, all of their options for ministries. Here’s their locations, you can see they have 10, 11 locations. All their ministries are here, events, resources, here’s their social media links down here, link to their app.

This is a great footer. It includes everything that you need to quickly access. And again, you might say, “Why don’t you just put it in the header?” You’re not trying to confuse people. You want people, when they first visit your site, to take one step, one call to action, so make that clear.

But people who have already taken that step, let’s say they’re already a part of your church, and they’re looking for something specific, they should be able to just scroll down to the bottom, look in the footer and find exactly what they’re looking for within a few clicks.

So let’s review the three things you need to do to make your website easy to navigate, first of all, simplify the language, call it what it is, whatever the ministry is, just call it that.

 Don’t come up with fancy ministry names, don’t use acronyms. Just call it what it is.

Secondly simplify the header menu, you should have four, five, maybe six buttons at the top that you want people to click on, and one of those buttons in the top right corner, needs to be that one main call to action that you want people to take, and.

Then the third thing is put everything in the footer. Put it in the junk drawer. It’s fine. You can put it in the footer. Nobody’s gonna be mad about it. : -] Put it in the footer and make it easily accessible to everyone.

Hey, I hope this was helpful for you. I have a free download for you in the description below, if you’re building a new website and you wanna know what kind of pictures you need to take, I’ve created a list of all the pictures you need to take for your church website. It’s free for you, you can download it in the description below. And please like this video, subscribe to this channel and visit us at WorshipResources.church, where we help you discover and learn how to use quality resources to make your church better.

Hey, thanks everybody for watching. We’ll see you next week!