One often missed opportunity on church websites is the “call to action.”
When designing your website, one of the things you want to consider is how a visitor would respond to each page. Is your page merely informational, or are you calling them to respond? There’s nothing wrong with providing information, but you should be inviting your visitors to do something with that information. Otherwise, they’ll quickly forget what you told them and move on, without thinking twice about how that information should impact their life. What We’re going to look at here are some ways you can create powerful calls to action on your website and some pitfalls to avoid when making them.
Brainstorm your call to action
Every page should have some way that the visitor can choose to respond to the information given on that page. Here are some examples that apply to most churches.
1. Sundays Every church should have a page that describes their Sunday service. But the best websites will offer to let their visitors tell church know that they’re coming or to connect with them in some other way. Other sites have a button that will allow them to add the Sunday service to their calendar.
2. Gospel Explanation Many churches offer a page that simply explains the Gospel, but it stops there. On any page that explains the Gospel clearly, we should give opportunities for the visitor to accept the Gospel, and send us a message telling us that they did. Additional calls to actions could include next steps a person should take if they’ve received Jesus, such as coming on a Sunday morning or joining a Bible study.
3. About Pages that simply describe your church don’t have to end with an awkward… “Ok… that’s it!”. Instead, you could finish by inviting the visitor to a Sunday service, or to one of the mid-week groups that the page discusses.
4. Teaching/Blog As silly as it sounds, I’ve been on church websites that have a teaching or blog pages that don’t have an “Subscribe” button anywhere to be found.
5. Giving JUST KIDDING! This seems to be the page that churches ALWAYS have a call to action for. You won’t go to a church’s giving page that misses the opportunity to offer a person to donate money. Sadly, the calls to action on church websites tend to start and end on this page.
Pitfalls to avoid
When you’re creating a call to action for your pages, you need to make sure you avoid these pitfalls:
1. Redirecting to your contact page Although redirecting to another page can be a true call to action (such as inviting them to a Sunday service on a Gospel Explanation page), we should avoid this when it’s unnecessary. The most common culprit is when you offer to have someone contact you and rather than having a form on that page, you force them to load your “Contact” page instead. This adds another step to their process, which lowers your percentage of responses.
2. Too many actions When giving a call to action, you will greatly increase your response rate by offering less options. You should try to only have one call to action, though you can probably get away with two in very specific situations.
3. Irrelevant actions One of the reasons there are sometimes too many actions offered is because there are some that shouldn’t be there. You should be laser focused on what you want people to do, otherwise, they will do nothing.
4. Making it hard to find your call to action The last of these pitfalls I’ll mention here is probably the most problematic. You need to make sure that your calls to action are big, bold, and upfront, not hidden away in a few lines of text. So rather than having your call to action be a link on a few words within your last paragraph, make a button or a picture to draw attention to the action step you want your visitor to take.
I hope this list helps you create clear, persuasive action steps for your website visitors. Do you have other ideas you want to share? I’d love to hear them below.