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Make a Great First Impression with Your Church Website

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At Community Bible Church we have consistently seen that 40% of our website traffic are first time visitors from our local area. These visitors are primarily coming from Google Search and Social Media.

When they visit our site we have found based on analytics that they are interested in 4 things:

  1. Service Times & Location

  2. Kids information

  3. Staff/Senior Pastor information

  4. Sermon Media

We have also found that returning visitors go to 3 primary pages:

  • Online Giving

  • Sermon Videos

  • Events

While we don’t want to hide information from our members or returning site visitors, we have found that their time on site is longer and they will spend the time to find what they are looking for. If a first time website visitor has a hard time finding the key information they are looking for they will likely to disengage and move on. So, how do you make a great first impression with your website?

This first starts with defining your goal for your website visitors. For Community Bible Church that is attending a worship service at one of our physical campuses in San Antonio or attending our Online Campus if they live outside of San Antonio, Texas. My guess is that your goal is pretty much the same. So, how can you do this?

  • Clean and Vibrant Design - your website should look much like your church lobby: welcoming, clean, and clear. Use images or videos that give visitors a look into your worship experiences and church campus. Show friendly faces and engaging imagery.

  • Communicate Clearly - make sure your service times and locations are easy to see and find. Also, make sure it is clear what families are expected to do with their kids and what that check-in process will be like before they arrive.  

  • Meet the Pastor - while your church is more than your Pastor, people still desire to feel a personal connection to their pastor. While you don’t need to feature your pastor on the homepage, you should make sure that people can get to know them on the website before attending.

  • Offer Video Messages - before we go to a restaurant or hotel we check out the reviews.  We want to see pictures, hear what others say, and get the best understanding of what we are about to experience.  By offering your sermons via video on your website you allow potential visitors to get the great possible perspective on whether your church might be the best fit for them and their family.

So, leave the clutter behind and create a great first impression that helps move people from curious website visitors to worship service attenders.  

How else are you helping to make a great first impression with your website? What sites out there do you see that make a great first impression?

One other recommendation that I would encourage you to consider is a great value add that we have created: Live Chat. We have added a live chat feature to our website where a digital receptionist is logged in and ready to answer questions via live chat or visitors can leave a message that are returned within 12 hours.  This level of engagement has proven to create a “wow factor” and personalization to the first impression we are creating with the website.

5 Core Tools that Power Our Online Ministry

I have what I have often described as, "shiny object syndrome."  I see new technologies and chase them hard and fast until I find a new "shiny object."  Along the way many have stuck where others have been left behind.  Some are critical, some beneficial, and some are just fun to get to know.  Here are the top 5 that power our Online Ministry at Community Bible Church:

1) Media Social - this was our first core tool and continues to be the foundation of Online Church.  This all in one platform is our digital sanctuary where our Online Community comes to gather in worship together.  

2) Social Report - this is the tool we use to manage and monitor all of our social media platforms in one place.  I've gone through several similar tools and really appreciate the flexibility of Social Report and how the platform continues to develop.  

3) Zoom - this video conferencing platform is second to none!  We use it for our individual meetings, team meetings, prayer gatherings, volunteer trainings, and online groups.  We have found it incredibly easy to use and extremely powerful for almost unlimited capabilities.  

4) Live Chat -  this simple plugin to our website has proven to be one of the most powerful ministry tools imaginable.  We now have a full-time digital receptionist who greets visitors to our website, answers questions, gets people connected to people and ministries and prays with dozens of people each week who are in immediate need.  

5) Media Fusion - we have been late to the live streaming game, but grateful to have found great technology partners in Media Fusion who integrate with Akamai's network to provide a powerful live stream solution at an affordable price helping us reach thousands of people each week through our live streamed services.

Honorable Mention:

  • Mail Chimp - our email marketing platform
  • Slack - how we communicate/collaborate internally
  • Libsyn - our podcast hosting solution
  • Gecko Board - our data visualization dashboard

What core tools are you using to power your online ministry or organization?