Your church website is very important. For many people, it is the front door to your church, the first impression that they get. Likely your website is also a resource to your members, a place to keep everyone up-to-date and promote events and such.
If you are in charge of your church’s website then you’ve got a lot on your plate. I’m sure the last thing you want is someone telling you what you’re doing wrong. Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. However, my hope is that these suggestions will not add more work to your already busy schedule. Instead, my goal is to give you some focus and help improve your effectiveness.
Here are four things your church might be doing wrong with its church website:
1. You’re Not Telling Stories
When creating content, churches have a tendency to focus on the things, that is, the features if you will. We do this all the time with church announcements and events: “This thing is happening at such and such time in this location. We’ll be doing this and that and YOU SHOULD COME!” We do a great job presenting the when and where, but we often neglect the why.
If your website is full of “when” and “where” information only, you are missing a great opportunity to share your church’s story with the “why” behind the information. Also, don’t just focus on telling the church’s story, be sure to include stories from those in the congregation. This will help visitors make an emotional connection with the message your church is delivering.
2. You Don’t Have a Target Audience
When you create content for your church website, make sure that you have an audience in mind. Defining a target audience for your church website can be very difficult since some of our content is directed to members while some is directed to visitors.
My recommendation is to make a clear definition between the content you write for the church members and the content you write for visitors. Both can exist on the same site, you just need to have a clear content strategy that helps you to make the distinction.
When you define your target audience for your content, get as detailed as you can. Create a few different character profiles that you can write to. Answer questions like: What is their family like? How much money do they make? What are their goals and aspirations? What are they hoping to get from the church’s website? Etc.
Answer these questions with information from real people in your congregation. Then, write to these character profiles and that will help your content to connect with your audience.
3. You’re Not Tracking Visitor Behavior
If you are not already tracking visitor analytics, this is something you should setup right away and it’s pretty easy. If you have not already done so, create a Google Analytics account for your church. If you are using a CMS like WordPress you can install a plugin to connect to your new Google Analytics (I recommend Monster Insights for WordPress).
Once your Google Analytics account is set up it, will begin tracking website visitor data. From this, you can gain insight into how users are interacting with the site. Review this data regularly to see what pages on your site are most popular and how people are engaging with your site. This will help you to know where to focus your efforts.
4. You’re Not Being Consistent
Consistency is super important for content creators! If you update and add content to your website in spurts, you could be hurting the site’s credibility. Consistency and routine help build trust in your audience.
I would recommend coming up with a regular schedule for adding content to your website so that your audience will know what to expect. This might mean cutting down on the number things that you post online. It is better to post shorter or fewer articles on a consistent basis than to post large updates infrequently.
If you have found any of this helpful or have further advice from how you’ve increased the effectiveness of your church website, please leave a comment below.