Ok, so you have a Church website that has been up and running for a while and it seems to be doing pretty well. But how well do you really know your website visitors? Are you paying attention? Are you really meeting their needs?
Conversion Rate Optimization… For Churches?
In the internet marketing world, conversion rate optimization or “CRO” is a huge topic. It’s about how to take your current website traffic and get that audience to perform an action (conversion) at a higher rate. There is an entire sub-industry in the internet marketing world dedicated to it. I’ll discuss in later posts how Churches can use some some of these tactics, but for this post, I just want to keep it basic…
One of the first principals of good CRO is knowing your website visitor.
- What’s the average demographic of your visitors?
- Are you meeting their expectations?
- Why are they on the site in the first place?
- How did they get there?
- How long do people spend on the website?
- How many pages do they visit on average?
- Are most visitors new or returning?
- What pages are visited the most often?
- Are most visitors from the local area?
- What organic search phrases are visitors using to find your site?
This list may seem daunting, but with a free and widely accessible online tool (Google Analytics), you can get the answers to these questions very quickly. Once you have the above answers, the big question is how to make the data actionable. But that doesn’t have to be over complicated. Here are a few use cases…
Are most of your website visitors first timers?
Response: Make sure you are giving high visibility on the website to service times, mission statements, bios, and other information you think a first time Church visitor would need to see.
Are there pages on the site that are visited more than others?
Response: if you find that a deeper page of the website is getting a lot of attention (the events page for example), give the page more prominence. It’s clearly popular so give the people what they want!
Is there a large amount of traffic from outside your geographic area?
Response: If the majority of traffic is coming from outside the area, a possible response could be to give some more prominence to teachings and other resources that would be more relevant for non-locals.
Those are just some examples. The core point is that you have to know your audience! Ministry is about serving people… but how can you serve them effectively if you don’t know them! That principal is very key in offline AND online ministry.
Most Churches don’t need to do elaborate user testing or split tests to discover these key insights. Simply pay attention to your website analytics, listen on social media, and really try to keep your pulse on what visitors want. Small changes to accommodate your visitor’s needs can make a huge difference.
This post was only loosely related to CRO, but if you’re interested in the topic, here are a few of my favorite resources:
- Conversion Rate Experts
- MOZ.com CRO Category
- Site Tuners Blog
- Unbounce Blog
- Visual Website Optimizer Blog
Some of my favorite CRO tools:
Sharing is Caring
This is the point in the post where I ask you to share this article with your Pastor, Church/Ministry webmaster, creative director, and just about anyone you know that manages a Christian website. I believe that there are massive opportunities being missed because of a lack of understanding of SEO. No hidden agenda here. Just want to be a helpful free resources for Churches and ministries. Thanks for your support.
Leave a comment if you have any questions or need help implementing what I described above.
Grace & Peace,