The About Us page may seem unimportant to you and your church leadership. Everyone wants to focus on posting the latest news and events. Yet without an effective explanation of your church’s story, you may be losing out on new members. The message you broadcast in this section is essential to building trust. Here are several factors to consider when creating it.
Create Realistic Imagery
If there were any place on your website to not use stock photography, it is in your About Us section. You should be able to photograph people on your own church staff. This includes paid staff, committee members, and volunteers. Do not rely on posed pictures. Capture moments in meetings. Take photos of people doing their jobs. Show volunteers in action during a service. Realize this is not a “one and done” thing. People will change jobs or stop serving in those roles. Regular refreshes are necessary, so you will need a standing update process.
Write Using Plain Language
Remind your pastor and church staff that this is not a seminary document on theology. When they help you craft this content, it should be for the unchurched. Use no religious jargon. You cannot assume the reader understands what communion is or the significance of baptism. If you are having a meal together, just plainly say it. Remember that “fellowship” is an obscure word unless you are talking about the first Lord of the Rings novel.
Your church has a story, and this is the place to tell it. A paragraph or an entire page should tell the history of your church and congregation. How has your church expanded or contracted over the years? Did another congregation join yours? Did you evolve into a multi-site church? Understanding your church’s story gives potential members hints about your culture. Maybe you helped plant a church in a neighboring town. This can be especially helpful for new residents. They are looking for the right fit with a church close to them. Helping them regardless of their intent shows your dedication to the larger Church body.
Remember Good Design
Creating an About Us page is not an excuse to use bad design. Avoid writing walls of text. Break up stories into bite-size segments with headings, sub-headings, and bullet statements. Use photography that meshes with the rest of your site. Test your page for display on mobile devices. This section has unique content. Not all your design patterns may apply here, so experiment a bit. But still, create accessible and pleasurable content.
Throughout all this, you need to both genuine and transparent. Your story is your story, with many twists and turns. While you do not want to highlight any blemishes in your history, do not hide them. People will often corroborate your story with what they find in reviews and news outlets. Above all else, never lie about your story. The truth will come out, and your reputation will be further damaged.
Review what you currently have for an About Us page. Consider the criteria and guidance I provided in this article. What areas do you need to focus on? Start a project to re-write and update your content. Work with pastors, historians, and elders. But do not forget about the members. New members can help as much as long-standing ones. Both provide valuable perspectives on what they see valuable in your story. Then set aside the time to compile all this text and create one or several pages on your site. Showcase your story and help potential members understand who you are, and where you came from.
Note: Inspiration and ideas for this article came from the Nielsen Norman Group’s article on About Us pages.
Photo courtesy of rawpixel.com on Pexels