Will Your Church Website Get a “First Impression Rose?”

First Impression RoseOn the television show The Bachelor, on the first night of meeting all the women, the bachelor will give out a first impression rose to the woman who gave off the best first impression and he would like to get to know better.

You church is competing for the first impression rose multiple times a day when people visit your website.

Consider this:  your churches website is your first handshake and smile with a visitor.  It is their first impression of you.  Is your handshake strong and firm?  Do you make good eye contact?  Just like meeting someone for the first time can tell you a lot about them, your website can tell a lot about your church.

Many people these days will do their church shopping, or searching online first.  Your website is essentially their first visit to your church.  Your website can communicate several traits of the personality of your church before they even drive onto the parking lot.

The colors of the website, the font, the logo, they should all communicate your personality.  If you do not set up your website intentionally thinking of it as your first impression, then visitors could get the wrong idea about your church.

The photos, text, videos, events, Twitter feed, and so many other things contribute to how people will view you.  For example, the photos you place on your website show visitors the kind of people that attend your church.  The visitor can then ask, “Will I fit in with those people.”  That is just one example of how you can introduce yourself to an online visitor and help them know more about you.

Important Reminder:  No False Advertising!  Be honest in your portrayal of your church.  Show your church how it is, not how you want it to be.

I challenge you to look at your church’s website with fresh eyes.  And while you do that, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the overall first impression?
  2. Is it accurate?
  3. Based on what I am seeing, and not what I know to actually be true, would I visit this church?

This may a visitors first look at your church, but it could also be their last.

What do you think: what could churches put on their websites to make a better first impression to visitors?

[photo by mromega]

I am a recent graduate of Milligan College in Johnson City, TN. I have a degree in Marketing and I am passionate about church marketing and communications. You can follow me on twitter @ltomlinson86 or check out my blog http://thinkingchurchgrowth.wordpress.com/

5 Responses to “Will Your Church Website Get a “First Impression Rose?””

  1. PaulSteinbrueck Feb 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Lauren, thanks for contributing this guest blog post. Nice job of using a popular culture icon as an analogy for this important church communications principle. As they say, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" and this is often true of church websites.

  2. You're absolutely right. So often, the website is the first impression that potential visitors have of a church. If I had to pick one thing as most important, I'd saying having current information. Obviously (actually, not obvious, but it ought to be) it's important to have a good looking, well-designed site, but no matter how good looking the site is, if it's not current, the church looks dead.

  3. You definitely need photos of the church. But not of the building it meets in. People join a church because of the people and what they do, not because of where they happen to get together.

    • Agreed, although having at least one or two pictures of the church building can help people find it. But yeah, don't have the building be the only or even most prominent picture on the front page.

  4. The colors of the website, the font, the logo, they should all communicate your personality. If you do not set up your website intentionally thinking of it as your first impression, then visitors could get the wrong idea about your church.