Church website

2016 Look Back: Church Website Series

Last May I wrote a series of blog posts about church websites. I looked through Wordpress and Squarespace and detailed my experience sharing some advice on managing church/ministry websites on these platforms.

Here’s a look back on my church website series:

 

I would love to hear what technologies and best practices that you are using with your church website!  

 

Connecting People through your Church Website

We have better opportunities than ever to more effectively connect people on our websites.  Rather than than just giving people information, you should look to share information and give an opportunity for them to connect immediately. These opportunities can range from event registrations, small group information, volunteer opportunities and more.  

Here are some best practices in connecting people through online forms on your website:

  1. Keep Forms Simple - if you ask for too much information people are less likely to complete the forms.  Ask for the bare minimum that provides for most effective follow up and next steps.

  2. Connect Forms to Database - when possible connecting forms to your church database is extremely valuable.  This integration allows for more effective follow up and long term understanding of your church members and the information that they are interested in.  

  3. Embed Forms into the Website - linking out to an external form often creates confusion for those your are looking to connect.  Using forms that embed seamlessly into your website is optimal.  

  4. Make Sure Forms are Mobile Responsive - it is likely that more than half of your website browsing on a mobile device. You need to make sure that your forms function well on a mobile device.  

At Community Bible Church we have chosen to use Formstack integrating with our Fellowship One Database. For my business I love using Squarespace and Squarespace forms. Another great option that many churches are using is Wufoo.  

I would love to hear what technologies and best practices that you are using!  

The Mobile Friendly Church Website

Will you do me a favor as you begin reading? Go to your church’s website on your mobile device and see how it performs. Is it easy to read? Is it easy to navigate? Is it mobile responsive (do you have to pinch and expand a lot… if so it’s not mobile responsive)? Are you quickly and easily able to find what you are looking for through the mobile site.

Will you do me another favor? Will you go to your Google Analytics account (I hope you have one) and check how much of your traffic is mobile?  My guess is that it is around 50%. If it is less than that it’s probably because you don’t have a very good website for mobile and mobile visitors aren’t returning.  

The bottom line to this is that your church’s website needs to be “mobile responsive.”  That means that it responds to the platform that it’s on whether a desktop, tablet, or desktop to deliver the optimal experience for that device. You likely don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to do that! Website developers do. If your website is not mobile responsive today you need to make this a top priority and either hire a developer to make it responsive or build you a responsive site or move to a platform like Squarespace or Wix that automatically makes all sites mobile responsive.  

Having a mobile responsive website will also optimize your Google ranking and provide so much value to your visitors.  Just having a mobile responsive site is not enough though. Your content must be optimized for a mobile user. You don’t want to be too wordy or have too many images that force too much scrolling. You also don’t want to have long forms that people will likely abandon if it requires too much information. Your site should be simple in nature communicating clearly and directly with simple calls to action.  

Likely, your visitors are coming to your site for 3 reasons: 
To visit your church/attend a service
Watch a sermon
Make a Donation

Test out these 3 things on your mobile device and see how easy it is to get this information/navigate an online donation. If it’s frustrating for you it will be frustrating for others.  Take time to visit some other church websites on your mobile and see how they communicate these things and how you might be able to learn from their website layout.  

The mobile trend won’t be slowing down anytime soon and you will likely need to begin thinking through how your website functions on a watch or tv as these various technologies and integrations continue to expand the world of mobile.

SEO - What You Need to Know

This Post Specially Written for Church Leader to connect them with SEO. Google is main door to drive traffic from all over the world. Online Visitors Search on Google to find Church and organization solution providers’ website.  One time Attention and long-time Attractions on your Church and Organization.