Church Website 101: Help I Just Started!

So you’ve just been handed the keys to the church website…but wait, what are you supposed to do???

In today’s episode, we’re giving you the first 3 things you need to do when you get put in charge of your church website.


In This Video

  • 1:33 – The most common church website help question we get (and the inspiration for this episode)…
  • 4:24 – Make it easy for yourself and do this first when you take the reigns…
  • 8:46 – Instantly make compel people to make a visit when you talk like this…
  • 11:40 – What to keep an eye on to make sure your website doesn’t look outdated…
  • 16:13 – Where to go from here…


Important Links & Shoutouts


Key Takeaway

Your church website is the gateway to people learning about your church.

When you let it sit, outdated and broken, you are setting a bad impression and turning away potential visitors and guests from coming and hearing your Message.

If you haven’t already, run through your church website and remove any “we, our and us” statements, replacing them with YOU statements.

Proud of your work or need some guidance? We want to help! Leave a comment below linking your website to show off your church!


Dave:                     Tell me if this sounds familiar. You work at the church, you’re smart, just like any other church employee and you also have a computer at home, sitting on a desk somewhere and so you’re in charge of doing the website. It’s all yours. Go make our website for us. We believe in you. What are you gonna do???

Dave:                     Hey guys, welcome to another rip roaring example of broadcasting excellence. Maybe, I don’t know. We’ll see. Welcome to the Church Media Guys show. My name is Dave and if we’ve not met before, I am the founder or I guess now kind of the Co founder because he’s helping me continue to find it…of which is a place where you and I and other ministry minded folks can come together and learn how to use and exploit media and technology so we can take the gospel to the world. With me, as always is my partner in crime. Mr Justin Nava. Hello Bub.

Justin:                  What’s going on Dave? What’s going on everyone watching live. Adam, Ryan, Chris, Caleb, Adam again… Jordan, John. Wow. A lot of people watching live on Facebook. Thank you all for watching here. This one’s going to be real targeted. But it’s going to help a lot more people because we keep getting this question in our church media hacks group. So we were finally going to answer it.

Dave:                     You know, Justin, I have heard it so many times. In fact, I see it a lot in our church media hacks group, which by the way, if you guys want a little community for where you can learn how to do all these little things that you’ve been tasked with and you’re not sure how to do them and stuff, go to and hit the little join group button. And Justin and I will let you into our private little fold where we talk about church media and communications and all that sort of stuff and how to fix these things that are put on our plates. A lot of times I see this. We ask a couple of people questions, before they joined the group. You know, what’s your title? What do you do at the church?

Dave:                     and, what’s your biggest struggle? And so many times I see, I work in the front office, I’m in charge of the media, I’m in charge of the marketing. I’m in charge of the technical aspects of Sunday morning and I’m also in charge of our website and all the email outreach, you know,and it’s like I’m just here to learn how to do all this stuff, that surely these people are not the only ones out there that are faced with these walls. They have to climb.

Justin:                  Yeah. And don’t call me Shirley.

Dave:                     Yeah. Whats’ your vector Victor.

Justin:                  Right? Yeah. Too often, too often we get the question, I’m the secretary and I’ve just been handed the website before I came in like me. I came in to do the churches IT, which also included the website. Just because you know how to fix a computer, which 80% of the time is just turning it off and on again, does not mean that you know how to fix a website or even run a website. Plus you also get the fine folks and these are the people that I love the most. Okay. Dave, I love these guys where they can just come in and say this is a problem and I don’t know exactly how I’m going to fix it, but I’m going to be the one to fix it. Those are my favorite people.

Justin:                  I love it. So that’s what we’re talking about today. So, the title for the episode is Church Website 101: Help. I just started! And this is for the people that, you’ve just taken over the church website. We get messages to Church Training Academy that says, I’ve just taken up the church website and I don’t know what to do. Or this guy just left and I don’t know what to do or that something’s wrong and I don’t know how to fix it. This episode is for you. Okay. We’re going to keep it short and we’re going to keep it simple because most of the people, this, at least the person that I’m imagining is listening to this web, to this podcast, this show, and it’s going to get the most value out of it. I’m picturing Miss Suzy, the receptionist who had to take over because Josh left or because Justin left or because someone left who was running the website and now they’ve got to figure it out for themselves.

Dave:                     Did you abandon a miss Suzy? Did you? Is that what you did when you left them?

Justin:                  Yeah, that was my church, right? That’s what I’m picturing I’m talking to. That’s right. So we’re gonna keep it super simple and super easy to understand and it’ll be a little bit quicker. So if you’re wanting more advanced stuff, we talk about that all the time in the church media hacks group, we especially talk about it every two weeks in the Church Training Academy group we’ll tell you about that later. So number one, when you take over your church website and regardless of if it’s handed to you, if you take it over because you see something wrong and you want to fix it and you’re not sure exactly how number one thing you gotta do. Keep it simple.

Justin:                  Okay. Keep it simple. Too often you get a website, especially if someone was running it full time and then they left and now you have no idea what they were doing or how they were doing it. It’s okay to scratch a lot of stuff out that you don’t have time for and you don’t know how to manage and just run with what you have. Okay. A good example, someone I talked to was they had a fantastic booking calendar on their church website where someone could schedule an appointment with the pastor. Fantastic. Problem was it was broken. No one knew the login for the booking administration. And so people were making bookings on the church website and didn’t get follow up because the secretary who was running the website didn’t know how to check and see if someone booked or where to go and find it or where to block off times.

Justin:                  So, like people were emailing, I booked a thing with the pastor, I never heard back and like, yeah, it’s broken. We don’t know how to use it. So I asked her, I said, why don’t you just remove it? And she said, well, because that’s something we want to have. And so I’m just kinda thinking, does that sound right Dave? Like we want to have it and it’s broken and it’s not doing anything, but we don’t want to remove it.

Dave:                     Yeah. There’s, there’s a lot of that. I see that a lot. I hear that a lot when, when you have like a website that you’ve got 25 departments or 25 different little sub ministries in your church. And this, this is actually something that Tommy was talking about, in our, mastermind group coaching call.

Dave:                     He was saying that he was running into a brick wall where he’s got, you know, 25 different little ministries in their church and Stephanie saying, Hey, I’ve got this page, we need to put some information about what it is that you guys do and stuff and no one will give him any information. And he finally just said, you know what, I’m going to nix all those pages. I’m going to put just basically like a list of the ministries that we have here and all that, but we’re not going to flesh out any details until someone is going to step up and provide details and all that. And that makes your website, I think as you do that, I think it makes your website look cleaner and gives people easy direction or even if you don’t give them easy direction on the website, just the fact that there’s only a few things for them to look at by that happening by default, it’s easier for them to navigate through.

Justin:                  Exactly. No one likes going to check the fridge for something to drink and they find a carton of milk and they’re like, Ooh, I’ll have some milk with my cookies. And then you take it out and the cartons empty. No one likes that! That’s the most frustrating thing in the world. Now I’m depressed. I have cookies, but I’m still depressed. That I don’t have milk. Okay, great place to start. Justin Nava Show episode four. It just came out a couple of weeks ago. If your website’s too cluttered, nuke it and start over with one thing. Okay. That’s exactly what Tommy did. He had five very, very lean pages, leaner than a Turkey breast sandwich. He got rid of all that stuff. Make it meaty, and if it’s just one thick piece of meat, one page on the front, do that and just focus on one thing. What’s the one thing you want someone to do?

Dave:                     Yeah. We did that at our church.

Justin:                  Yeah, exactly. So I’m sure in the post, Dave can put a scroll of his church website, and when you hit their church website, there’s only one thing you can really do unless you’re really poking around and looking for stuff. And that’s go to the new members class, whatever you call it, maybe call it something else, but that’s go to the orientation that’s go to the discover Tate Springs. So that’s, that’s something that you know, it’s really easy to do. So make it easy for yourself and just start with one thing. Make one ask, okay, maybe it’s plan a visit, maybe it’s get directions, maybe it’s come to a service, maybe it’s watching a video, but just make it easy for yourself and declutter it and make it simple.

Dave:                     Number two. Okay, this one is a little bit more advanced, but you’re going to get some really good momentum okay? And so it’s, it’s easy to implement. You just have to think about it a little bit. And that’s what church media hacks is here for to help you out if you need help from others. Number two thing you’re gonna want to do after you get rid of the junk that you can’t manage, you don’t know how to…streamline it and make it simple. Number two, look at your website. Anytime you say the words “we, our and us,” get rid of it. And because we’re talking about you, okay? Now think about this. No one comes to church because you have comfy couches and tasty coffee, okay? No one goes to church for the donuts. No one. If they do, it’s because their mom is making them go to church, okay?

Justin:                  And they get donuts out of it. No one is saying, man, I really need a comfortable place to sit and some hot coffee for free on Sunday morning. Right? No one’s talking like that. Okay. They come to church to experience community to answer their loneliness, to fulfill a calling, a pull that they have on their heart. Okay. And while they do that stuff, they can sit on some comfy couches before service and sip on some coffee and talk to you. Okay. So your church website should not be, we have comfy couches and free coffee for you. If you just come in…that’s not going to bring people in and you’re talking about, “we.” You’re talking about “our,” our coffee’s great. We get donuts at… No stop that. Okay. You can you talk about “you. Okay. You are welcome here.

Justin:                  Okay. You are free to be yourself here… You are looking for something. You can find an answer here. You can find a purpose here, okay. And maybe you show people sipping your coffee and talking, okay. Hugging on a couch. That sounds a little bit off… I’m not saying…just leave room for Jesus.

Dave:                     Yes, that’s the youth ministry…

Justin:                  But I say couch because for some reason churches, that’s a big deal to have couches in your foyer. Don’t make it a feature and don’t promise…You know what I’m saying? So don’t say our services are at 9:30 and 11. Stop saying that. Okay. “Services around your schedule.” Maybe you don’t want to wake up early, go to surface at 11, go to service at 6:00 PM. Maybe you’ve got kids and they’re already up early. Family service at 9:30. Okay. Our last example I like to use, “our children’s ministry is safe and secure.” That’s not bad. That’s not bad. But how about, “your kids are safe and secure here.” Right? That’s a direct message. That’s a, that’s huge.

Dave:                     That’s addressing a direct concern, that they may have even subconsciously.

Justin:                  Yes, exactly. So eliminate “we, our and us” last thing here.

Dave:                     Oh and eliminate the word fellowship. We don’t like that either.

Justin:                  Yeah, I would talk about that on another day. The Christian f-word. Okay. That’s secondary. First of all, start talking about the people visiting your website. Not your church. Okay. I know it’s backwards. You want…you can yell at me later. Number three and then I got to go… Make sure everything is updated. I called an audible, I had something else and I just put this on as we started the show cause I thought this was more important.

Dave:                     It is.

Justin:                  Again, if you’ve got ministry contacts on your website that are no longer there, okay? Debra is no longer running the soldier ministry either. Figure out who the new Debra is or get the stuff off and like we talked about in point 1. If you have new service time, make sure it’s on there.

Justin:                  If you have old events, we talk about this all the time. Your Christmas service should not be on your website right now. It’s February, it’s March. Get your Christmas service off the website. Get the old stuff off, get updates for what’s going on right now, and bonus. If you want to put your future stuff, you know, VBS stuff, information on there, go ahead and put that on there. Make sure it’s updated. That’s all you gotta do. If you’re handed the website, don’t freak out about colors. Don’t freak out about features. Don’t freak out about plugins and updates and all this kind of stuff. Just do these three simple things. Number one, keep it simple for yourself and for your web visitors. Number two, eliminate anything that talks about “we are and us” and talk about you. You are welcome here.

Justin:                  Your kids are safe here. Your, family has an easy place to park if necessary. Okay. You have, what’s it called? The mommy parking. It’s called something expectant mothers parking.

Dave:                     Yeah, fat lady parking. Oh, I mean, sorry. Sorry. I didn’t mean…

Justin:                  (laughing) Send all your concerns to [email protected]

Dave:                     …abundant mother parking.

Justin:                  And then make sure everything is updated. That’s it Dave. That’s it Miss Suzy, do that. You’re 80% of the way there. Don’t worry about all the other fancy stuff. And someone was like, oh, can I put our Wednesday night knitting circle on the website? Maybe, but it’s not going to go on the first page. Why? Because we’re keeping it simple. We’re asking for one thing and that is not for your knitting circle on Wednesday nights.

Justin:                  We want them to come to church first. Right. Then they can plug in with you. Eliminate “We our us.” I’m telling you, as soon as you do this, it’s so simple. As soon as you do this, people are gonna say, wow, I really like what you’re doing with the website and you’re just kinda like, all I did was change a couple of words. It’s that important. It makes that big of a difference.

Dave:                     Yeah, it really is.

Justin:                  And number three, just make sure you get all the old stuff off and make sure everything’s updated. If you just do those three things, you are going to be your churches hero. Your pastor’s going to come and give you a slap on the back. Not… Maybe not slapping a pat on the back. He’ll say, “I gave you the website cause I thought she could handle it, but you actually know what you’re doing” and you don’t have to, you don’t have to… Take all the credit.

Justin:                  Okay. You don’t have to say, well actually I listened to this other…take the credit, be the hero. Wear the Cape. Okay, we’ll be your quarterback over your earpiece meanwhile. Okay. No one knows who Oracle is. But everyone knows who Batman is. So take the credit. That’s all you got to do. Dave. Isn’t that simple?

Dave:                     That’s exactly simple. That’s wonderful. That’s a great way to start. So yeah. Brilliant.

Justin:                  Do you think, maybe this is a bad example, but your wife, if your wife just got handed the church website, you think she could do those three things?

Dave:                     Oh, she definitely could do that. Yeah. I mean, she needs to know how to learn. She needs a couple of very basic things like how to log in and how to navigate the dashboard.

Dave:                     And that really is a matter of whatever platform you’re using. Spending a few minutes just sort of looking at it and seeing where some things are. You know, it’s yes. I mean unless it was originally written in 1997 then it’s going to be pretty easy for you to navigate. So yeah, I mean just start, start simplifying the message. That’s, that’s huge. That’s huge. And that, by the way, simplifying the message can easily carry through other marketing channels that you have. You can sort of start it here to get things back under control, but then you can move it to how you handle your bulletin, the posters you have in the hallway or whatever like that. You can get yourself going down a really good road just by starting here.

Justin:                  That’s right. Now you’ve got the simple stuff. Okay, you’ve got it. You’ve taken care of. You could do this in a week, you could do this in a day.

Dave:                     Oh yeah. An afternoon sure.

Justin:                  Just go through, take off all the old stuff, take off the stuff you can’t do, you can’t manage and then change the “we our and us’s” to “you’s”. You could do that probably in a day. Let’s say you take a week, okay, let’s say you do that and now you’re like, I like it, but it can be a little bit more. You get that itch, you got that desire that says this can go to another level. Okay, we’ve kind of saved the city. Now we can make it a better place. Let me tell you, by the time this comes out, I think actually the day this episode goes live, our newest course, the Definitive Church Website Formula, will be live for you to purchase. This course has been available to CTA Insiders only and now it’s available to you.

Justin:                  And why is it called the Definitive Church Website Formula? I chose this title very carefully. Okay. The definitive: this is it. This is all you need to. Many times, Dave, I’ve bought lots of courses in the past and even when I was figuring out websites for the first time in 2010 I bought courses and all it was was someone saying, “Oh yeah, just go to this platform, pick this theme and put your text in here.” Right. I could have found that on youtube. Why did I pay $30, $50 for this? I did not like that. So when, when you brought me on and you said make a course, I said, this is it. I am going to go back in time and I’m going to give this to 2010 Justin and it’s going to be a lifesaver.

Dave:                     Yeah.

Justin:                  And it’s definitive, because it’s everything. Watch this course, follow along. You will have the same website that I would make…and you will have it for a lot less money.

Dave:                     Yeah. Oh. And the stuff that you talk about in here is stuff that you have actually, you’ve actually been contracted by CTA members, members of Church Training Academy to do their website and you applied all this stuff and got them to the exact same thing. So we’re giving them the keys to the kingdom here.

Justin:                  Exactly. The only difference is you build it yourself instead of me building it, right. I’m giving you the blueprints here. But it’s also a formula because you can easily plug in your own church culture, your own church information, your own church needs and ministries, and you get the same exact quality of website that comes out.

Justin:                  It’s not a blueprint. Okay, Dave, I give you a blueprint. You’re building that one house and that one house only, right? That’s not what I want. Okay. It’s not a method, okay. Because methods, they kind of tell you what to do again, but they don’t really show you how to do it, right. It’s a formula. I’m giving you the formula. You plug in your church’s variables and it outputs a website. It’s usable for just anyone. That’s why we call it the Definitive Church Website Formula. Anyone can use it and it’s the only thing you need. And in fact, I was even kicking myself because, last night I counted how many videos were in there.

Dave:                     Yes?

Justin:                  There’s over 120 minutes of training. Okay, now you don’t need to watch all of it. If you don’t have time, it’s okay.

Dave:                     No we chunk it out to you.

Justin:                  You can just do the first unit and you’re going to have an amazing, you’re going to have the next level of your website. Then you can slowly follow along and build it out itself. And either by this Sunday, if you cram, or by next month, if you take it your time, you’re going to be seeing more people coming to your church because of your website.

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