For years, I’ve been telling people that good church website design will directly translate into more visitors coming in the door. Anecdotal evidence from my work with several different congregations as their webmaster has borne this out. After taking over decrepit old designs and replacing them with dynamic, well-designed sites, my pastors reported to me that visitors were mentioning the website as one of the big reasons they decided to visit.
But could I prove it?
Could I prove that there was a link between church visitors and website design? This lead me to begin a study of ELCA church websites under the supervision of Prof. Nathan Frambach at Wartburg Theological Seminary. I actually wanted to answer a couple of questions:
- What does a good congregational website look like?
- What are congregations doing well with their websites?
- What can congregations improve upon?
- How does congregational website performance correlate with demographic and attendance patterns?
Over the next few days, in the lead up to Internet Evangelism Day, I’ll be publishing a series of short articles describing the work that I did on this project, what I found, and some directions for future research.