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The Top 10 Best Church Websites For 2018

The Top 10 Best Church Websites For 2018

Read This First…

Before you read this article let me emphasize the main point. Church websites are both an art and a science. Most church website rankings are based on the art (appearance) and not the science (analytics). If you want to grow your church like the fastest growing churches in the nation, you must understand and prioritize both the art and science for your church website.

Pay close attention to the Google rankings for the church websites mentioned in the article below. There are literally thousands of people using Google to find a church in your city. If your church isn’t on the first page of Google search, you will not be found. Request a free demographic search audit today to find out how many people are searching in your city and where your church currently ranks.

17,000,000 People Can’t be Wrong

More than 17 million non-churchgoers visited church websites of a local church or place of worship in the past 12 months. Thom Rainer approximates that between 75% and 90% of potential guests to your church will first look at the church’s website before making a final decision to attend. Let these two quotes sink in as you prepare STRATEGY for 2018 and beyond!

The Top 10 Best Church Websites for 2018 is an important list. This list will show you the high level of importance that some of the fastest growing churches in the US place on their digital front door (Church Websites). For these churches, their digital front door is a strategic factor in their rapid growth. The 10 Fastest Growing Churches In America (List Provided Below) use their church website to drive their invite culture.

This Article Has Four Sections:

1. Top 10 Best Church Websites For 2018

2. Ranking Formula For Top 10 Best Church Websites For 2018

3. The 10 Fastest Growing Churches In The US & Their Amazing Church Websites

4. 5 Musts For Your Church Website

 

Today there are more than 952,000,000 websites on the Internet. Finding your church’s website can be like finding a needle in 10,000 haystacks. Being found and grabbing a users attention is becoming increasingly difficult for many reasons.

Studies have shown that internet users make up their minds about the trustworthiness of a website in just a 20th of a second of viewing a webpage! According to a study by Canadian researcher Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University, it takes users less than 50 milliseconds to decide if they like your church website or not.

Churches that are attempting to communicate multiple priorities on their home page may not be cognizant of this groundbreaking research when designing their church website. Guests to your church website are savvy and astute. They very quickly form a judgment of your website for trustworthiness. The churches that make up the top 10 best church websites for 2018 make an emphatic, singular statement.

 

Research B.J. Fogg conducted extensive studies into web credibility at Standford University. His research included an extensive study involving 2,684 “average people” who rated the credibility of websites in ten content areas. Fogg says, “people do judge a website by how it looks. That’s the first test of the website and if it doesn’t look credible or it doesn’t look like what they expect it to be, they go elsewhere. It doesn’t get a second test.”

Ranking Formula For The Best Church Websites

A church’s website is open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, it never takes a holiday or sick day. When it comes to the church’s most important communication tool, church leaders must stay on top of research, trends, and technology.

The “Top 10 Best Church Websites For 2018” article isn’t a subjective list. Our ranking formula will give a true 1-10 national ranking of the best church websites. Instead of offering a random list based on one person’s subjective opinion, we want to offer something a bit more objective. For an explanation of the ranking criteria for these church’s websites, please read the formula at the end of this article.

If users fundamentally don’t ‘like’ your website, you will struggle to rank on Google which impacts guests to your services.

Feel free to submit your church’s website for next year’s review for ranking.

Top 10 Best Church Websites For 2018

If your church website doesn’t look something like these church websites it might be time to catch up with the current trends reflected by these church websites. The 10 Fastest Growing Churches In America use their church website to drive their invite culture.

10. Church By The Glades 163.1 Total Points

Church By The Glades Church Website. Number 10 on Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “5” – 6.1 Points

According to Google, Church by the Glades will only receive 6.1% of the website visits from families/singles in their area searching for churches. In 2017, 260 people search each month for “churches near me” in Coral Springs. 110 individuals search for “churches in Coral Springs” each month in their area. When these numbers are multiplied by twelve months you can see the importance of a churches Google ranking.

Over 80% of church guests report visiting a church online before their first visit. Each of the churches on this list demonstrates the importance of their digital front door.

After looking at the best church websites in the country you will notice a degree of separation when it comes to looking great and being found.

Church Websites Audit: 59 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 92 Points

Headline Tag: “Church By The Glades.com” 6 Points

9. Next Level Church 170 Total Points

Next Level Church Website. Number 9 on best Church Websites Top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “16” – 0 Points

Church Websites Audit: 67 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 94 Points

Headline Tag: “You Were Created For A Purpose” 9 Points

8. Maryland Community Church 172.5 Total Points

Maryland Community Church Website. Number 8 on Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “1” – 32.5 Points

Church Websites Audit: 65 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 75 Points

Headline Tag: 0 Points (No Headline Tag for rating)

7. High Point Church 175.6 Total Points

HighPoint Church Website, Number 7 on Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “2” – 17.6 Points

Church Websites Audit: 58 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 92 Points

Headline Tag: “Love Works” 8 Points

6. Elevate Life Church 179.6 Total Points

Church Website for Elevate Life Church. Best Church Websites top 10

Google Ranking: “2” – 17.6 Points

Church Websites Audit: 60 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 94 Points

Headline Tag: “Welcome Home” 8 Points

5. Summit Church 187.4 Total Points

Summit Church Website. Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “3“- 11.4 Points

Church Websites Audit: 65 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 97 Points

Headline Tag: “Love God. Love Each Other. Love Our World” 7 Points

4. Epic Church 188.4 Total Points

Epic Church Website. Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “3” – 11.4 Points

Church Websites Audit: 74 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 96 Points

Headline Tag: “Something Different” 7 Points

3. River Valley Church195.5 Total Points

River Valley Church Website. Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “1” – 32.5 Points

Church Websites Audit: 60 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 95 Points

Headline Tag: “Welcome Home” 8 Points

2. Eagle Brook Church 197.5 Total Points

Eagle Brook Church Website. Best Church Websites top 10, best church websites

Google Ranking: “1” – 32.5 Points

Church Websites Audit: 64 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 92 Points

Headline Tag: “Your Story Matters” 9 Points

  1. Compassion Christian Church 205.5 Total Points

Google Ranking: “1” – 32.5 Points

In the Greater Savannah Region 260 individuals search for “churches in Savannah” each month. An additional 320 search for “churches near me” each month. Savannah, Ga continues to be one of Georgia’s fastest-growing counties. Compassion Christian Church and it’s seven campuses greatly benefit from its ability for new people to find their church. Compassion Christian Church is an example of a church noting how today’s guests use Google to find their new church home.

Church Websites Audit: 70 Points

Church Websites Appearance: 95 Points

Headline Tag: “Welcome” 8 Points

Ranking Formula For Top 10 Best Church

Websites For 2018

  1. Church Websites Google Ranking:

These numbers are very important to get your mind around if you are a pastor or church leaders. We assigned each church above the point value that their church receives in actual church website visits when people perform online church searches. These results impact literally thousands of guest visits for those churches that rank in the top three of Google Rankings.

Number 1 Google Ranking: 32.5

Number 2 Google Ranking: 17.6

Number 3 Google Ranking: 11.4

Number 4 Google Ranking: 8.1

Number 5 Google Ranking: 6.1

Number 6 Google Ranking: 4.4

Number 7 Google Ranking: 3.5

Number 8 Google Ranking: 3.1

Number 9 Google Ranking: 2.6

Number 10 Google Ranking: 2.4

The points gained for this section are given by the actual number of website traffic each Google ranking receives. The majority of the churches above, like many of the fastest growing churches in the US, are maximizing the benefit of their Google ranking. These churches are intentional knowing the vast number of families moving to their area looking for churches.

The Top 10 Best Church Websites for 2018 demonstrates the priorities that each of these churches has set for being easily found online.

2. Church Websites Audit:

The points gained in this section are given by each churches website audit. These audits are important in assessing how Google is able to index a page for ranking and determining each church’s UX strength. Let Digital Rocket provide you a free church website audit today.

3. Church Website Appearance:

Appearance: You may have noticed that each of these churches is separated by a few points regarding website appearance with exception Maryland Community Church. Maryland Community church is the only church website with no Headline Tag and isn’t using the current trend of video for its first signature exposure for first-time guests.

The church that scored the highest is Summit Church in Raleigh, NC. In thirty-five seconds guests learn that Summit places priority on being multicultural, community service, children’s ministry, worship, prayers, groups and they introduce their lead pastor. Video can tell a more comprehensive and personal story than a picture.

23% of the 100 Fastest Growing Churches in the US now use a video background. This trend has spiked as a growing trend. A key driver of this trend is the explosion of mobile device traffic. Mobile usage has reduced the use of homepage slideshows backward significantly. Homepages with slideshow will be looking to increase users UX in the coming years and will move away from the slide banner increasingly. Guests simply do not want to sit and manually click through slides.

Think younger– Video is driving the web today. When you think of your homepage auto-slider or carousel banners, think slideshow projector from days gone by. While the slideshow banner feature was the popular trend in recent years, the explosion of mobile device traffic has driven the use of homepage slideshows backward significantly.

According to a test on the Notre Dame University website, autostart image sliders or carousels aren’t effective for conversions. In fact, only the first slide received some interaction (approximately one percent). Their performance on mobile devices can be sporadic as well. More than anything else, visitors simply don’t want to sit and wait for the slides to cruise by on their screen especially on a mobile device.

2019 Prediction- The above percentage (23%) will double in 2019. As you begin to design your video background think “30 Second Best Hits”. 50% of the top ten fastest growing churches currently use a video background on their church website. Contact us and we will send you a framework template for designing a background video and what it MUST include.

If a high Google ranking is a priority for your church you may want to take note of the emerging trends of video being used on the church’s front or home pages.

4. Headline Tag:

Headline Tags: Headlines should use “sticky words” that are Invitational, Personal, Emotional, and Connecting. If you want to know how your church can script an amazing church headline tag read this article.

Do not miss the importance of a killer homepage headline. A mere 6 to 12 words stand between you and a lower bounce rate. Newspapers have known the impact of effective headlines for decades. Without captivating headlines, newspapers do not sell.

Do you want your church website to be dynamic, compelling and easily found? Read The Complete 2018 Church Website Guide and pay close attention to the articles in the table of contents.

The top 10 fastest growing churches in America know something that most churches don’t. They have some of the best church websites because they understand invite culture better and they know where it begins.

Google Church Websites Search

85% of guests visit your church online before they attend in person according to Faith Highway. Let that sink in for just a moment. Imagine a Christian family relocating to your community due to work and they do a random Google church search for “Churches in Your Town Name.” Will your church even appear on the first page of this Google search?

Did you know that the number one ranked site gets 33% of all clicks while the number two and three ranked sites getting 18% and 12% website visits? In other words, the first three ranked Google sites get 63% of ALL website visits. This basically means that if your church is on the second page or later of Google searches then it basically doesn’t exist to the multitude of families moving into your community.

A Paradigm Shift For Churches

Imagine the doubling or tripling the number of guests that attend your church and its impact over the course of a year. Mega-churches are now hiring an SEO specialist to constantly keep their churches in the top three Google rankings. These SEO specialists aren’t cheap but they are worth their weight in gold for obvious reasons.

Smaller and medium size churches work with firms for low monthly fees to raise their Google rankings and to help them develop digital marketing strategies.

Churches are now realizing that their church has a new digital front door and the lack of preparation here is a costly mistake.

The 10 Fastest Growing

Churches In The US &

Their Amazing Church Websites

Each year Outreach Magazine releases its Top 100 Fastest Growing Church list. The top 10 fastest growing churches on this list excel at creating an invite-culture. While growing churches come in all shapes and sizes, this list of growing churches surpasses them all.

  1. Crossroads Church, Cincinnati, OH                       Growth: +5,928       (26%)
  2. Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, CA              Growth: +1,979        (38%)
  3. Shepherd Church, Porter Ranch, CA                     Growth: +2,243       (27%)
  4. Red Rocks Church, Littleton, CO                           Growth: +2,381        (25%)
  5. Traders Point Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN    Growth: +1,537       (26%)
  6. Elevate Life Church, Jacksonville, FL                     Growth: +818          (46%)
  7. Life Church, Green Bay, WI                                     Growth: +832          (37%)
  8. Elevation Church, Matthews, NC                            Growth: +3,984       (19%)
  9. Cornerstone Chapel, Leesburg, VA                        Growth: +1,007        (25%)
  10. Berean Baptist Church, Burnsville, MN                  Growth: +669           (34%)

The rankings are not set by percentage or numerical growth exclusively as you can see in the list above. Two of the churches above are also in the Top 10 Largest Churches in the US for 2017- Crossroads and Elevation Church.

Why Are These Churches Growing So Rapidly?

Church growth gurus will tell you that there are many factors that contribute substantial and sustainable church growth: Leadership, Strong Biblical Preaching, Growing Demographic Area, Heartfelt Worship, Community/Strong Small Groups, Training Disciples to make Disciples, Missional Mindset and Use Of Technology (and many more). Look closely at the percentages of growth that each of these churches experienced last year. Those are impressive numbers for any organization secular or sacred.

If you were to take the lowest percentage above (19%) and average that over a ten year period what size would your church be? If you run those numbers out in your personal context, you will get a sense of the scope of changes that these churches are experiencing.

2 Things These Church Websites Do Well

  1. They get people (new people and a lot of them) to COME to their church.
  2. They get people (new people and a lot of them) to STAY at their church.

You will be tempted to read the above two items and say, “Yeah, yeah, I know,” but the honest truth is that you probably do NOT know.

Small churches can do the same thing.

Invite Culture & Church Websites

Everything these top 10 growing churches do reflects their invite culture. Creating an inviting culture on their church websites is a huge priority. Remember that these churches get A LOT of new people to come to their church. Traders Point Church added more than 1,500 to their average attendance in 2017. Imagine how many new people had to come during the course of the year to average more than 1,500 more people than the year before. I want you to notice something about these growing churches’ invite culture:

  1. Crossroads Church

Crossroads Church Front Page Screen Shot. Number one fastest growing church.

2. Eastside Christian Church

East Side Christian Church. The second fastest growing church in America.

3. Shepherd Church

Shepherd Church website homepage screenshot. The second fastest growing church in America.

4. Red Rocks Church

Red Rocks Church screenshot of homepage of their website. Fourth Fastest growing church in the United States.

5. Traders Point Christian Church

Traders Point Christ Church screenshot of homepage of their website. Fifth fastest growing church in the United States.

6. Elevate Life Church

Elevate Life Church screenshot of homepage of their website. Sixth fastest growing church in the united states.

7. Life Church

Screenshot of the homepage of Life Church. Seventh fastest growing church in the United States.

8. Elevation Church

Screenshot of homepage of Elevation Church. Eighth fastest growing church in United States.

9. Cornerstone Chapel

Screenshot of homepage of Cornerstone Chapel. Ninth fastest growing church in the United States.

10. Berean Baptist Church

Homepage of website for Berean Baptist Church. Tenth on the list of fastest growing churches in the United States.

Each of the top 10 fastest growing churches in America wants you to know something very specific about their church.

Takeaways From The Best Church Websites

Churches 1, 2, 3, 6 each use the word “WELCOME.” Church number 4 wants you to “JOIN.” Churches 5 & 10 are growing and have “new locations.” Church 7 has a lot to say (not sure which is most important). Growing Church 8 wants you to know who their pastor is and how to listen to his sermons (Notice- Latest Sermons, Watch Now, More Sermons). Church number 9 has a Turkey Bowl Men’s Event at Loudoun Sports Park.

If you pay close attention you will notice some trends and specific steps of action they want web visitors to take. Church 8 believes if you hear their preacher’s sermons that you will attend their church. You may not agree with the strategy but it must work pretty effectively. These church websites tell a story of priorities that each church has embraced to grow their church. What they truly value is reflected on their church website: hospitality, events, their pastor, baptisms, new locations, children, being multicultural, worship, and community service. Fifty percent of the above church websites use a video background: Crossroads, Eastside, Traders Point, Elevate Life and Elevation Church. Watching their church website video will give you greater insight into their values and what each prioritizes.

Get More Guests To Come

Many growing churches excel at hospitality and first impressions. They are REALLY good at welcoming the people that do show up. The churches above are really good at getting a lot of guests to come to their growing churches. The growing churches above are not lax about their church website, optimization and their Google rankings. While many churches use yesterday’s tactics, the churches above harness the power of online searches. Church growth at the rate of the top 10 churches requires more and more guests. Most great churches aren’t growing because people simply can’t find them. The churches above understand how people are looking and they invest their resources to be on top of Google rankings.

Did You Know?

More than 17 million non-churchgoers visited the church websites of a local church or place of worship in the past 12 months. Yet many sites fail to easily provide the information these visitors are looking for, according to the just-released results of a nationwide research study by Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research. Let’s imagine that people in your community are looking for churches online (HINT: They are100% are looking) and let’s image that they find your church website. When users find your church website, consider these questions: Is it welcoming? Is it informative? Is the UX great and can your guests find exactly what they need? Your team needs to carefully study this church website article so that you can potentially grow like the churches above.

5 Musts For Your Church Websites

There is a great debate in church website circles today. One side argues primarily for the visual aesthetics side of church websites. “Is the website crisp, clean and does it pop?” is their mantra. The other side clings to the “content is king” side of the argument. Both sides are actually right. Church website needs to have the right content while looking as sharp as possible. What if a site has GREAT visual appeal and tremendous content but no one can find the site? Here are 5 simple steps to a better church website.

Cartoon digital marketing image with text that says "five things you must have on your website"

  1. Assessable- A great church website is one you can easily find. Almost every church has a website these days. Most of these church websites are like finding a needle in a haystack. Sure, church pastors and leaders can find the site with the correct URL but no guest could EVER find it. One determined pastor set out to prove me wrong and said he could find his website through a Google search. He called me back and sure enough, there was his church website on Google page 32.
  2. Optimized- An optimized church website is professionally coded to be found and to be “crawlable”. Google web spiders/Google bots crawl every site in order to index the content and rank sites based on keywords. An optimized site takes advantage of every onsite coding possibility: ALT Picture tags, Keywords, Meta Descriptions, Slugs, Title Indexing, SEO Titles and much more. Without your church website leveraging these combined advantages, your website isn’t crawlable and it will not be ranked high in google searches.
  3. Functional- Your church website needs to be functional for people and for web spiders. Both people and web spiders need to have a positive experience when they find your church website. Google algorithms use these experiences to rank your church website. A recent church website we performed an audit on had several hundred correctable issues on their site. Without these issues and errors being corrected, climbing the Google rankings is next to impossible.
  4. Content- Thom Rainer has a great article on the Eight Mistakes Churches Make On Their Church Websites. Some churches realizing the importance of having a great website spend tens of thousands of dollars on their website. It is unfortunate when these churches find their website ranked on the third or fourth page of Church Google rankings. Their church websites look great and the content is amazing BUT no one will ever find it unless that know the secret handshake or hours to find it.
  5. Visual Appeal- If I could give you any advice on visual appeal it would be to make your visual appeal targeted. Define the primary target of who you are trying to reach and make your website look like that demographic. A visually appealing church website cannot have schizophrenia. Think about the context of your church setting. Is it rural, urban, suburban or metropolitan? Is your church sitting in a multicultural, young professional? senior adult or in a context populated with young couples with small children?

Consider SHARING this article if it has been helpful. If you have suggestions for other criteria items that should be considered for The Top 10 Church Websites For 2018 article. I hope this article gives you a comprehensive view of the very best church websites in the country. Also, If there is something you particularly notice about one of the above church websites leave a comment below.

William

I do not speak Greek or Hebrew but I do speak..SEO.. I started DR in my parents garage. You want to grow your church but most people moving to your community can’t find you. I have a very specific set of skills to help you get found and expand your reach!
I’m married to the love of my life Rebecca. I coauthored Millenials & Money with my brother Tyler. I look forward to meeting you and serving your church.

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