At the risk of turning off some people with “business like” language… I want to challenge Churches/Ministries for a moment to really examine the true reasons they are maintaining websites. With all due respect to the Church webmasters I know, I’m not sure most of them understand the true potential of the websites they manage. Furthermore, I simply don’t see much thought being put into goal setting, strategy and success measurement. Does your website have any goals? Are there any true objectives?
I want to just take a minute and challenge you. If you have any hand whatsoever in building/operating/maintaing a Church or ministry website, please STOP what you are doing. Pray, and ask the Lord that He would give you a true vision for what He wants the website to accomplish. Then, write down some possible goals… don’t worry if they sound silly, too ambitious or too simple. You have to start somewhere. Then, take these goals before your Pastor, board, elders, staff or whoever calls the shots in your Church and sit down to have a serious conversation about the site. Pray with these people, seek the Lord together for vision.
These things may sound overly simplistic, but you’d be shocked at how many Churches haven’t laid out even the most basic plan for their websites.
Here are some possible goals/strategies to help you get started on your list:
- Increase traffic and visibility to the website.
- Increase site engagement, and pageviews per visit (get people to spend more time on the site)
- Increased media consumption (sermons, podcasts, video streaming, etc)
- Improved social engagement (Facebook fans, Twitter conversations, etc)
- Increased sign-ups (contact forms, events, newsletter, etc)
- Increase conversion rate on various actions you want users to take on the site.
- More people tithing or making monetary contributions via the website.
- Reach people in the community looking for a new Church.
- Become a resource for people searching online about various Biblical topics.
(strategy is what ChurchSEO.org is all about and I’ll be covering many different topics in articles to come)
- Local SEO (ranking in Google Places, Yahoo Local, etc)
- Organic SEO (ranking in the main results for various phrases related to the website content)
- Site/page redesign to improve conversion rate or engagement.
- Optimizing sermon or content page for easy consumption and engagement (I’ll be reviewing this in great detail soon)
- Optimizing social network profiles and engaging on a one to one level with people.
- Start creating content on a regular basis via a blog or newsletter.
I hope some of these have helped to get you motivated and given you ideas as you set your own goals. Just remember, “without vision the people perish”. If you’re not willing to take the time to pray and strategize about this amazing tool that God has given you to reach people, you will probably never see the kind of fruit that God can truly produce through it.