When someone lands on your web site, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. This does not mean bright colors or animation, but something easy to spot on the page that answers the question "What’s in it for me?" This should be accomplished with your church name and its tag line.
This tag line is a fragment or short sentence that conveys the essence of what your church is about and why the visitor should care about reading more. How effective should a tag line be? The easy rule to follow is "10 out of 10". Every single person should understand what your church is about within a few seconds of viewing the home page. They should understand your mission, and what makes you unique. I will focus on two big aspects of the church that I regularly attend, its name and its tag line. I am not promoting my church, but I think they make for a good example.
The church's name is North Way Christian Community. Right off the bat, you notice that the word "church" is not in their name. Their focus is on communities coming together to help spread the Gospel. Our founding pastor said that the church building could fall down, and the church itself would continue to meet in their small community groups without skipping a beat. Obviously if you belong to a particular denomination, this is where you would showcase that.
Their current tag line is "Freeing people to follow Jesus". It speaks to the focus of their mission, helping people wherever they are at in life to understand who Jesus is and what a relationship with him is like. Their extensive support and counseling network (coupled of course with the first concept of community) shows that they are committed to helping people overcome whatever is blocking them. This could be a drug addiction, an extremely sinful past, or even a stigma of what a religion is instead of a relationship with Christ.
These two bits of text, the name and the tag line, tell visitors what to expect. It is a community-focused church that has its sights set on Jesus. It is not a lot of fluff about being a great experience or that it will be something you will enjoy. Of all the things it focused on, community and Jesus are at the heart of most non-denominational, Bible-based churches. They get to that quickly and effectively. If you are looking for an orthodox Catholic church, you quickly realize this probably isn't for you. And although we do not want to push anyone away, we also do not want to set unrealistic expectations for our visitors.
I am not asking you to be like my church. I am asking that you take a look at your overall strategy and see what description best fits the ministries that support it. Whatever direction your church has, communicate it with your audience. If they like it, they will surely contact you about next steps.
Photo courtesy Paddlefoot