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!  

My Take on Formstack

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 8.32.13 AM
Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 8.32.13 AM

For the past few months I have worked diligently to find the best form/registration system out there and feel confident in saying that I found it in Formstack.  To this point it does everything that we had hoped it would do along with including many features that are beneficial that we didn't even realize we wanted.  Here are some of the primary reasons that we love Formstack:

  • Simplicity- it's easy for our staff to setup and manage date, but even easier for the end user!
  • Complexity- it can be simple, but can also manage very complex forms and data as well.
  • Integration- being able to export data seamlessly through Google Docs, Constant Contact, and others as well as the payment processing with PayPal is incredible (worth upgrading to PayPal Pro).
  • Innovation- in the few weeks we have been using Formstack we have already seen it improve and they make visible their future improvement plans

While I do really like the platform, there is one thing that I does disappoint me: no phone support (at least not that I can find).  Honestly, their forums are fantastic and answered all of our questions, but I like knowing that I can have someone on the phone within minutes if I need help with any issue.

I would love to know what you're using and what your experience has been!  If you're using Formstack I would love to hear how you're using it and any tips/tricks you might be able to share.