mobile

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.

Discount on eConnect Conference

iConnect
iConnect

The eConnect Conference is going to be here before we know it!  In case you're not familiar with the Conference here are the key details that you need to know:

eConnect Conference

January 29-31, 2014

GROUP PUBLISHING HEADQUARTERS

LOVELAND, CO

You can get more details by clicking here.

I'm most excited to be able to share this special discount code with you for $50 off:

The code is:    SpecialOffer        (one word; case sensitive)

If you register by January 10th you will still get the early bird rate and get the cost down to just $149.  This event will be great for you to attend whether you know very little about technology or consider yourself an expert.  Group offers a very warm and conversational space for you to learn and engage with other ministry leaders about utilizing online tools for ministry purposes. I'm really looking forward to this event and hope to spend some time with you there!

3 Questions with Jason Caston

jason-nadmediasummite-3-300x199 I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Jason Caston.  Jason and I connected several months ago online and were able to finally meet in person at the iMinistry Conference.  I am continually inspired by Jason's work and learn from his knowledge, but most of all love his passionate heart for Christ.  Here are my 3 questions with Jason Caston:

1)  When you look at all that you have accomplished in your ministry online, what would you describe as your top 2-3 wins and why?

My top wins in ministry online are as follows

1. In 2011, I created an interactive live streaming channel for TD Jakes ministries.  This was for a conference and we had all the bells and whistles of social media integration, live chat, live video and mobile compatibility.  Well while I was monitoring the conference, I was in the chatroom just watching people chat and I saw something that literally made me just thank God, I saw people talking about how their lives were being changed right here online. They were watching the conference and the preaching and talking to people and all that was leading them to Christ, renew their minds and just total life transformation.  It was at that moment that I thanked God for giving the opportunity to work in ministry and be able to use my gifts, talents and abilities to help people see the awesome power of God.

2. In 2012 I finished The iChurch Method book and released it at a conference in Orlando.  I taught a session on Church Social Media and afterwards saw the response of people wanting to get the book and use it to help their ministries, it was a great accomplishment.

3. As my year winds down and I reflect on things,  I really just consider where God has me right now as a win.  I am gearing up for volume 2 of The iChurch Method, helping my church develop their online campus and enjoying the opportunities I get to fly around the country and teach church online.  I feel really blessed that God has me at the crossroads of what I am good at in life, what I like to do and what he has purposed for me to do.  I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.

 

2)  What led you to write the book iChurch Method and what are your hopes for those who read it?

The iChurch Method came about because I was able to see first hand how technology could be used by ministries to change people’s lives.  I was always a tech geek and enjoyed gadgets but I never really saw the connection between “taking ministry to the people” and “the internet is accessible anytime, anywhere on numerous devices”.  When I started to really get that concept, I started making IT decisions for the ministries that I was working at that led towards that goal.  I also wanted ministries that don’t have the resources to hire a developer or a “Jason Caston” to have something they could reference and use to either create their own online presence or be able to “speak enough geek” to not be taken advantage of by a web company that’s only trying to make money and not help the ministry advance online.

I originally came up with the concept while working at Crenshaw Christian Center in 2007, I saw that I had to revamp their entire online presence. Therefore, I took this approach, I first revamped their website, added multimedia, overhauled their online store, added new donation features, setup social media pages and finally laid out a mobile website.  When all was said and done, I looked back and thought...that’s an interesting strategy there... I wonder if that would work elsewhere.

In 2010 when I relocated to Dallas, I was recruited by T.D. Jakes Ministries and I had to show them that I knew what I was talking about so I came up with five areas that I could help them and explain my past successes.  These five areas were websites, multimedia, ecommerce, social media and mobile and these five topics from the interview later become the same five chapters I have in The iChurch Method book.

3)  Outside of the Bible, what 1 book has most shaped your ministry and why?

The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, this book is written in an interesting format in that it in the format of a modern day parable.  Where someone ordinary (who's name is Ordinary) leaves the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream, given to him by the Dream Giver.  He is trying to become Somebody but he must overcome believing that he is nobody.

This book empowered me to pursue my dreams, desires and God given purpose in life no matter what.  I genuinely started to believe that I had the gifts, talents and abilities to do something great.  There was nothing that could stop me becoming what God intended for me to be…except for disbelief and lack of faith in myself.  And since God doesn't make mistakes, I was created, purpose and destined to do great things in His kingdom.

 

I hope you will not stop at reading just this interview, but also visit Jason's website and then buy his book.  The iChurch Method is a reproducible system for any church to maximize web technologies in their own context.  

Here are some other posts in this series:

3 Questions with Becky Kiser

3 Questions with Peter McGowan

3 Questions with Tim Peters

3 Questions with Greg Smith

3 Questions with Mike Sharrow