The 11-Part Church Website Homepage Formula

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Looking for free church website templates?

You’re in the right place.

Below you’ll find the 11-part church website homepage formula.

When a visitor lands on your church’s website, it only takes a fraction of a second for a first impression to form in their mind.

How fast?

About 0.05 seconds.1

What kind of first impression is your church making?

In a case study of more than 1,000+ church websites, 96.2% of church websites failed the first impression test.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Because making great first impressions online doesn’t need to be difficult.

To make a point, it doesn’t even need to be expensive. Or original!

And it all starts with the homepage of your church website.

Keep reading.

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Ultimate Church Website Page Template Library – copy & paste these 7 proven page templates to upgrade your church’s website today!

Part #1 – Logo

Ensure your church's logo is prominently featured on your website – an eye-tracking study found that this section of a webpage draws the most attention from users

Ensure your church’s logo is prominently featured on your website – an eye-tracking study found that this section of a webpage draws the most attention from users

In a study conducted by Missouri S&T, participants were shown twenty-five different websites.2 Using eye-tracking software and an infrared camera, the researchers monitored the eye movement of the participants as they scanned through the web pages.

Here’s what they found…

Participants in the study spent about 2.6 seconds scanning a website before focusing on any particular section.

But once the initial scan of the webpage was complete, the section of the website that drew the most interest and attention from participants on average was:

The logo.

Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on the logo area of a webpage before moving on.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • Ensure your church’s logo is prominently featured on your website
  • The logo section of a webpage is the section that draws the most attention (6.48 seconds on average)

Part #2 – Navigation menu

The navigation menu in Nucleus can be expanded to a maximum of 656 menu items while still limiting top-level navigation items to seven or less

The navigation menu in the Nucleus church website builder can be expanded to a maximum of 656 menu items while still limiting top-level navigation items to seven or less

After your logo, the navigation menu on your website is the section that commands the most attention.

In the eye-tracking study referenced above, users spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the navigation menus on web pages they were shown.

In my experience, the menu of a website is one of the trickiest sections to get right.

No doubt about it, the primary goal of a website’s menu is to make navigating the different pages of the site as easy as possible for users.

And I’ve found the sweet spot for top-level navigation on a website is seven items or less.

The sweet spot for top-level navigation on a website is seven items or less

So what do you do when you need more than seven items in your navigation menu?

Sub-navigation.

In the Nucleus framework, every top-level navigation item can also have up to twenty sub-navigation items attached to it.

Yes. It’s a lot. But it allows for maximum flexibility while keeping your navigation simple & straightforward for your users.

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Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • The navigation menu is one of the trickiest sections of a website
  • After your logo, the menu on your website will draw the most attention from visitors (6.44 seconds on average)
  • Limit your top-level navigation to seven items or less to maintain a clean and simple look
  • Use sub-navigation to expand your menu to the number of items needed

Part #3 – Church website headline

When a new visitor lands on your website, they're subconsciously asking themselves: Who is this? Why do I care? Your main headline is the answer to those questions

When a new visitor lands on your website, they’re subconsciously asking themselves: Who is this? Why do I care? Your main headline is the answer to those questions

The third element in the church website homepage formula is your headline.

On average, 5X more people will read the headline of a website than read the body copy.3

With that being said, it is incumbent upon your church to write a headline that deeply resonates with a potential new visitor.

5X more people will read the headline of a website than read the body copy

What does this mean for you?

Consider this: Great copyrighting always focuses on the potential new visitor, not the church.

Need inspiration? If the thought of writing the main headline for your church website feels daunting, I’ve put together a formula you can use along with 19 examples of church websites with tremendous main headlines.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • The main headline of your church’s website is its primary focal point
  • Click here for The 2-Step Main Headline Writing Formula
  • Click here to see 19 examples of church websites with tremendous main headlines

Part #4 – Call-to-action

What is it you want visitors to your website to actually do? This is what your call-to-action is for

What is it you want visitors to your website to actually do? This is what your call-to-action is for

When a visitor lands on your website – what is it you want them to actually do?

This is what your call-to-action is for.

The call-to-action button on your website identifies the key action you want users to take.

In the Nucleus framework, we put extra emphasis on this call-to-action by displaying it as what we call a “featured card.”

You might be wondering, what should I choose as my primary call-to-action?

In my experience, the primary call-to-action on your website is best served aimed at potential new visitors.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • The call-to-action button on your website identifies the key action you want users to take
  • I recommend dedicating your call-to-action to potential new visitors to your church

Part #5 – Search

In an eye-tracking study, users spent about 6 seconds focused on the search component of a given website

In an eye-tracking study, users spent about 6 seconds focused on the search component of a given website

The fifth element in the church website homepage formula is a search box.

Having a search bar on your website is crucial because it allows visitors to browse on their own terms. And when it comes to user experience, any time you can offer users more control – it’s a good thing.

Moreover, in the previously referenced eye-tracking study, the search bar section of a website ranked third when it came to attention earned from users – about 6 seconds on average.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • A search bar on your website allows visitors to browse on their own terms
  • An eye-tracking study found participants spent an average of about 6 seconds focused on the search bar of the websites they were asked to browse

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Ultimate Church Website Page Template Library – copy & paste these 7 proven page templates to upgrade your church’s website today!

Part #6 – Inspirational image/video

One of the best ways to make great first impressions with your church's website is to place an inspirational photo or video at the top of your homepage

One of the best ways to make great first impressions with your church’s website is to place an inspirational photo or video at the top of your homepage

In a study of first impressions on travel websites, research found that “inspiration-related elements” had the greatest impact on how first impressions were made.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and the data seems to support that claim.

So ask yourself, “What kind of imagery would inspire my target audience to attend our church for the first time?”

Maybe it’s imagery of people in your church laughing and living in community. Maybe it’s a vibrant kids ministry. Maybe it’s passionate worship and teaching.

To be inspired by other churches doing this well, here’s a list of 19 church websites with great photos/videos at the top of their homepage (pay particular attention to #1, #2, and #14).

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • A study of first impressions on tourism websites found that “inspiration-related elements” had the greatest impact on how first impressions were made
  • Ask yourself, “What kind of imagery would inspire the people in our community we hope to reach?”

Part #7 – New visitor information

Dedicate a portion of your church website template's homepage to acknowledging and welcoming potential new visitors

Dedicate a portion of your church website template’s homepage to acknowledging and welcoming potential new visitors

The seventh element in the church website homepage formula is new visitor info.

In a case study of 1,008 church websites, 61.7% did not have easily accessible new visitor information. Most websites didn’t make any effort to acknowledge potential new visitors on their homepage.

Attending a new church for the first time can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. To make things easier, dedicate a portion of your church’s homepage (ideally, a very prominent portion) to acknowledging and welcoming potential new visitors.

The Nucleus framework is engineered to do this exact thing. We recommend that each of our churches dedicate the first card on their website to welcoming new visitors (as seen in the example above).

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • 61.7% of church websites do not have easily accessible new visitor information
  • Attending a new church for the first time can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar
  • Dedicate a portion of your church’s homepage to acknowledging and welcoming potential new visitors

Part #8 – Church website main content

A core responsibility of church website templates is providing information and next steps

A core responsibility of church website templates is providing information and next steps

Here’s what the Senior Project Manager at Bing had to say about the duty of websites: “Your goal should be that when a visitor lands on your page, the content answers all of their needs, encouraging their next action to remain with you.”

A core responsibility of your church website is providing information and next steps.

In the Nucleus framework, we display information & next steps in blocks we call “Cards” – as seen in the example above.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • A primary goal of your website should be to provide answers to your visitors’ needs and encourage their next action
  • Examples: service times, location(s) & directions, contact information (phone/email/physical address), sermons & message notes, giving, about us, beliefs, staff, prayer requests, giving, calendar, podcasts, videos, blog posts, kids ministry, student ministry, event registration, ministry signups, small groups, volunteer opportunities, baptism, salvation, missions, finances, etc.

Part #9 – Contact info

51% of people think "thorough contact information" is the most important element missing from many church website templates

51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many websites

The ninth element in the church website homepage formula is easily accessible contact information.

51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites.4

A simple way to ensure your church doesn’t fall into this camp is to place your address, phone number, and email in the footer of your website.

By doing this, your contact information will be readily available on every single page of your website.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • 51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites
  • Place your church’s physical address, phone number, and email in the footer of your website

Part #10 – Social links

Linking from your website to external social platforms is a great way to cross-promote

Linking from your website to external social platforms is a great way to cross-promote

In the aforementioned eye-tracking study by Missouri S&T, researchers found that while browsing websites, participants spent a considerable amount of time focused on social links – 5.95 seconds on average.

Linking from your website to external platforms is also a great way to cross-promote.

Just make sure to only link to platforms that your church actually uses on a regular basis.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • An eye-tracking study found participants spent 5.95 seconds on average focused on the social links of the websites they were asked to browse
  • Link to your social platforms from your website to cross-promote
  • Only link to social platforms you are actively present on

Part #11 – Mobile ready

More than half of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices

More than half of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices

In May of 2015, Google made a startling announcement: “More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”5

Since that announcement, the increase of mobile Internet browsing has only intensified.

So much so that in 2017, worldwide mobile traffic (smartphones + tablets) accounted for 52.64% of all Internet traffic – not just search – ALL Internet traffic combined.6

In 2017, worldwide mobile traffic accounted for 52.64% of all Internet traffic

What does this mean for you?

It means that if your church’s website isn’t responsive (meaning, it doesn’t adjust its size and structure based on the dimensions of the device it’s being viewed with), you’re creating a frustrating experience for the majority of the people visiting your site.

Knowing that the majority of traffic to websites comes from mobile devices, we engineered Nucleus mobile-first. Meaning, when we began imagining the platform, we first imagined what it could look like on a phone – before we ever imagined how it would look on a desktop computer.

Church Website Templates – Key Takeaways
  • In 2017, worldwide mobile traffic accounted for 52.64% of all Internet traffic
  • If your website isn’t mobile responsive, you’re creating a frustrating experience for your users

Conclusion

When a visitor lands on your church’s website, it only takes a fraction of a second for a first impression to form in their mind.

First impressions begin and end with your church website’s homepage.

96.2% of church websites fail the first impression test. But by following the 11-part church website homepage formula – yours doesn’t have to.

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Ultimate Church Website Page Template Library – copy & paste these 7 proven page templates to upgrade your church’s website today!