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Web Traffic

It’s Easy To Use Church Websites To Go “Fishing For Men”

It’s easy to use church websites for outreach.

But, one of the biggest mistakes I see small churches make with their websites is believing “if we build it, they will come.” In other words, they build it, launch it, then sit back and wait for the masses to arrive.

And, of course they don’t.

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Web Content

Get More Website Traffic Free

Want to get more website traffic free?

One thing you can do to increase traffic is to optimize your website for search engines. But to be effective, you’ll need to commit lots of time and effort to learning about SEO, and applying the best techniques.

You’ll also need to stay on top of changes and updates to the search engines as search continues to evolve.

That’s a lot to learn and manage, so most small churches simply don’t do it.

Another way to get more website traffic free is to produce useful content and regularly update it. Adding a church blog can be a tremendous help. But, again, maintaining a blog is big commitment.

There’s an easier way to produce useful content that makes visitors want to return again and again. And, this weekly update should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

Try adding a “This Sunday” section to your Home page.

Get more website traffic free (before “This Sunday”)

Adding a “This Sunday” section to your website gives your visitors a sneak peek at what’s coming up during worship service this Sunday.

You have just two rules to remember: keep it brief and keep it fresh.

Keep it brief

You shouldn’t include every single thing that’s planned during your worship service.

A one- to three-sentence summary about who will be speaking and what they’ll be teaching is all you’ll need to keep visitors coming back each week.

If your church regularly welcomes guest speakers, “This Sunday” alerts your site visitors that the pastor won’t be in the pulpit (that’s an important piece of intel for first-time visitors who are expecting to hear the pastor teach when they visit).

Keep it fresh

Ideally, this section should be updated every Monday so that it’s fresh all week leading up to Sunday.

My church also encourages new visitors to explore more of the website by adding “sticky” features and hyper-linking key terms and phrases:

  • Pastor/Elder name = linked to “Our Leaders” page using anchor tags
  • Sermon Series title = linked to our “Sermon Library” page
  • Scripture reference = interactive tooltip

Adding a “This Sunday” section on your Home page is a super simple way to build a loyal audience of recurring visitors who will return weekly to see what’s new.

If you add the section to your website (or use one already), leave me a link to it in the comments below!

 

Image Credit: Joan Campderrós-i-Canas | Flickr cc

Categories
Web Content

How to Use Tooltips to Make Your Website “Sticky”

I just love sticky websites, don’t you?

Sticky content refers to content published on a website, which has the purpose of getting a user to return to that particular website or hold their attention and get them to spend longer periods of time at that site. Webmasters use this method to build up a community of returning visitors to a website. –Wikipedia

Sticky websites make you want to keep going back again and again. The content holds your attention, so you’re less likely to bounce off the page seconds after arriving there.

For me, websites that save me time are sticky. When I visit a site that’s added thoughtful features to make my browsing more efficient, it makes me feel like the site owners considered me, and are truly interested in caring for me while I’m there.

This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but the more time a website saves me, the longer I tend to stay on the website.

My church definitely wants our website visitors to stick around. We want them to feel cared from the moment they arrive, and throughout their visit. And, we want them to come back often.

Creating sticky visits

I’m always on the lookout for tools or creative methods to help me add thoughtful little features to my church’s website. We especially want those new to our church to stick around, and enjoy a productive visit.

One way we accomplish that is by providing features that help visitors get the information they’re after, without them having to take extra steps to get it.

For example, take a look at our Core Values page. Notice how all of the Scripture references appear as “tooltips” when you hover your cursor over them?

Pretty neat, huh?

The little things make a BIG difference

It’s such a small detail. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to overlook.

But, think about your own browsing experience on another church’s website. (Can’t ask you about your own website, because you may be a little biased.) 🙂

Did you check out their “About Us” section? I’ll bet it’s likely you’d need to have taken a Bible in hand to read a page or two in that section.

Did you? If you didn’t, why not?

Didn’t have a Bible nearby? Did you get discouraged because it looked so time-consuming, and you didn’t have the time?

Maybe you just plain didn’t feel like making the effort?

Do you think that church published that page because they wanted you to ignore it and bounce off the page?

Of course not!

We want people to stick around and consume the content on our web pages, don’t we?

So, make it easy for them to do what you want them to do.

Here’s how to use tooltips to make that happen.

How to use tooltips to captivate your visitors

There are lots of tooltip makers out there.

But, we use the Reftagger WordPress plugin from FaithLife (Logos Bible software) to add interactivity to Bible references throughout our website.

(I also use it here, on Church Website Ideas . . . check it out: John 3:16)

As you can see, Reftagger automatically tags the reference and instantly shows your readers the Bible verses when they hover over a Scripture reference.

A tooltip displays the verse’s text, so your readers can stick around. They won’t have to leave your site to look up the references (they won’t need their Bible to read your About Us page anymore!).

They’ll even be able to view the entire passage by clicking through the tooltip to an online Bible reader.

Using Reftagger’s online tools, you can customize the look and feel of the tooltips so that they match your website’s styles. You can choose a default Bible translation and online Bible reader.

And, talk about a sticky feature: if your visitors use Logos Bible Software, you can include a link that will allow them to open the Scripture passage directly in Logos (VERY cool if you want to, say, create interactive Bible studies on your church blog).

What a great way to encourage longer visits on your website: help your readers dig deeper into Scripture, find answers, and connect with the Word.

Don’t have WordPress? No problem. FaithLife also offer tutorials for installing Reftagger in Blogger, Drupal, and Joomla.

And, adding Reftagger to any website is as simple as adding a few lines of code to the footer of your template pages.

It’s your turn to tell us how to use tooltips

How can you use tooltips to make your church website content sticky, and easier to consume?

Share your ideas! Leave a comment below.

Categories
Web Content

The Church Lingo Page is Your Website’s “Secret Decoder Ring” (Part 2)

Years ago—before God rescued me—I ran with a circle of fun-loving Puerto Ricans. We were employed at the same company, and worked the same crazy-late hours.

Over time, they kind of “adopted” me as their “little sister”. They taught me how to dance the salsa and the merengue, and introduced me to ceviche. Yummy fun!

My favorite (and, oddly, most disappointing) memory with them occurred during the one Christmas holiday we spent together. They invited me to go “a trullas” one evening after work.

For the uninitiated, “parrandas” or “trullas navideñas” is when a small group of friends gather together to “asaltar” or surprise another friend. I’ve heard it described as “the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling”.

Basically, we arrived very late and very quietly at the front door of one of their good friends. The family had long gone to bed, as had most of their neighbors. At a signal, everyone started singing and banging on the door; I was stunned! We totally surprised them, which I later learned, is part of the custom.

I kept wondering if we were going to find ourselves flying face-first into the snow. To my surprise and initial delight we received a warm and happy welcome!

[framed_box width=”625px” bgColor=”rgba(245,242,134,1)”]Bonus: Download a free blueprint containing an easy 3-step process + resources to help you create a church Lingo Page your website visitors will value and appreciate.[/framed_box]

But, disappointment arrived in short order. See, they all spoke English really well. I guess I kind of expected that since they all knew I didn’t speak Spanish, they would speak English so that I could participate and be fully engaged in the festivities. Unfortunately for me, my friend’s friends weren’t as hospitable as I’d hoped they would be.

For the first few sentences, everyone spoke English. But it only took one person to begin speaking Spanish. That was it.

The party went on for more than an hour, everyone around me laughing, singing, and speaking Spanish, and no one translating or helping me to understand what was going on or what was being said. Mostly, I sat there nibbling, feeling anxious and alienated, and wanting desperately to leave.

I was glad when we did. I never went back.

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers… Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)

Hospitality is both commanded and commended in Scripture. You already know people new to your church will very likely experience their first encounter with your ministry, online. And, you already know they’ll have a lot of questions.

Some of those questions will be answered by the “brain content” you include on your website. But what about the questions they’re really anxious about? Questions like, “Will these people care about me,” “Will I understand what they’re talking about,” or “Will I be able to fit in”?

[testimonials autoplay=”false”] [testimonial author=”Yvon Prehn” avatar_type=”url” avatar_value=”http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/1-Cropped-jpg.jpg” meta=”Effective Church Communications” link=”http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/about/yvon-prehn/”]A Statement of Faith is expected, but very few church websites actually tell people why they believe what they believe or even explain the terms in it.  This is such a missed opportunity because comprehensive explanations can be a wonderful way to engage people about the Christian faith.[/testimonial] [/testimonials]

The thing we’ve got to keep in mind about the content we’re creating for our church websites is that we’re not merely uploading a video, or adding some more text to a page. By providing content like a church Lingo Page, we’re engaging in “virtual hospitality”.

Dictionary.com defines hospitality as,

1) the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; 2) the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

So, to be hospitable is to receive or treat guests or strangers warmly and generously.

Adding a church Lingo Page to your website is expressing love in action. You’re putting yourself in your visitor’s shoes. You’re taking the initiative to reach out and engage them in a warm, friendly way. You’re seeing that their need to feel welcomed and valued is met.

You’re not leaving it up to them to ask questions about words and phrases they don’t understand. They may not.

Even with a Lingo Page, they’ll still have plenty of questions, for sure. But, making the effort to provide the page for them is a kind, generous, and hospitable gesture your visitors will appreciate.

Whether they’re searching for answers about the Christian faith, or looking for a community of like-minded friends, giving your visitors the inside track on some of the “local lingo” they’re likely to hear can make them feel at ease. And, that may make all the difference in their deciding to pay you a visit.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I made the case for creating a Lingo Page. I explained how the page would benefit your website visitors. I also talked about why this method of helping your audience decode “Christianese”—the unique jargon and terms used in the Christian faith and in your church—was superior to mere “word swapping” on your church website.

In this post, I’ll share some tips for creating effective church Lingo Page content. Along the way, we’ll look at a few church Lingo Pages I’ve discovered in my travels.

Best practices for writing Church Lingo Page content

The main thing to remember about creating Lingo Page content and linking it to your website, is that the content should be easy to read, useful, and easy to find. It should be written and compiled with your new visitor in mind.

That means, the goal isn’t to overwhelm them by defining and exhaustively explaining every unique term and phrase of the Christian faith. Keep it simple. The goal is to help your visitor’s feel welcomed and cared for. The goal is to introduce them to the life of your local body.

By defining and introducing context to the Christian vocabulary and unique terms and phrases used in the life of your local church, you’ll equip and encourage people new to both to enter into the conversation.

Here are a few tips to help you create useful church Lingo Page content:

Make your content easy to read

I’ve mentioned this before. The text on your website must be easy to read. Make sure there’s a high contrast between the color of the text and your website’s background color. The font size should be large enough to make it readable. Make use of whitespace. Break long paragraphs into short chunks. Use bullet points and numbered lists.

Write in a “natural”, conversational tone

The new terms and phrases are tough enough to get a handle on. Don’t make your visitors slog through dry, corporate-sounding definitions and explanations. Keep it interesting. Write like you’re talking to them. My favorite thing about Second Place’s Lingo Page is that they include examples of what guests might actually overhear.

Include a variety of terms

A Lingo Page is different from a “What We Believe” page or a Ministry Description page. A Lingo Page might include some content from both, but it serves a different purpose.

Here are a couple examples of what I mean. The student ministries at Roswell United Methodist Church and Vienna Presbyterian Church, both include “lingo” pages for their visitors. But, these two pages are really Ministry Description pages.

Your church Lingo Page should include terms and phrases common and unique to the Christian faith as well as unique terms and phrases regularly communicated at your church. For the latter, you might include any acronyms, nicknames, titles, or other ministry jargon unique to your local assembly. That also could include denomination-specific terms and lingo (the first time I saw the word “narthex”, I thought it was a typo).

Include an introduction to the page

The  introduction to your church Lingo Page is the “tell” of your care. That two- or three-sentence paragraph is your opportunity to help set the stage for your reader’s initial impressions of your church. Your motivation for creating the page means more to your visitors than the page itself.

Don’t assume they’ll “get it”. Tell them what motivated you to provide the page for them. Make sure they know you’re thinking of them!

Make your content informative, but not exhaustive

Remember, the goal isn’t to overwhelm your website visitors by defining and explaining every single term you can think of. Start by sticking to a few terms found on your website, or regularly “heard in the halls”. Expand your list with terms or phrases people frequently ask about.

Resist the urge to provide an exhaustive explanation of every term you do decide to list. One to three sentences summarizing the core idea is best. For ministry acronyms and terms, a high-level description of the ministry is best.

Make good use of internal linking

Thoughtfully linking your web pages helps guide your visitors as they move through your website. If your list includes names of ministries or groups more fully described elsewhere on your website, linking to those pages creates an easy path to more information.

Remember, the quickest way to make a visitor leave your website is to frustrate them. So, be sure not to skip including a summary description on you Lingo Page of the ministry or group you link to. Otherwise, your visitor will be subjected to clicking back and forth between your Lingo Page and the description pages—not good. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Invite people to ask questions

Let your visitor’s know you welcome their questions and feedback. Invite them to connect. Include a link to your Contact Page to make it easy for them to get in touch. Many people may be hesitant to ask questions while on your website. Nonetheless, they’ll be pleased to see you’re open to it.

Make sure the page is easy to find

Remember, the reason you’re creating this page. Be helpful and hospitable. Make sure your church Lingo Page is easy to find. Provide a clear link to it in the “About” and “I’m New” sections of your website’s main navigation. Also, link to the page in the secondary navigation of each section.

Great church Lingo Page examples

For two examples of great church Lingo Page content, check out Hope Culture Church and Canyon Creek Church.

How can you use this information for your website?

I created a free, 3-step blueprint  that you can use to easily apply the most important information from this post to your website.

The blueprint contains the 8 best practices on this list…

… and a super-actionable 3-step process and resource list that you can use to create a church Lingo Page your website visitors will appreciate and value.

Click the graphic below to download the free blueprint:

Image Credit: Dave Walker | CartoonChurch.com

Categories
Web Content

How to “Decode” Your Church Website Content (Part 1)

Visiting a new church is stressful. It’s not easy to walk into a new, unfamiliar environment. Chances are, to alleviate some of the pressure, your potential first-time guest will want to get an idea of what he can expect. So, he’ll swing by your website to check things out.

Talk to the hand…

Now, if your aim is to make new visitors to your website and church feel at ease, you must take great care to ensure that your presence online accurately reflects who you are offline. So, it’s natural for you to want to communicate your message using terms and phrases you’re familiar with.

But, whether it’s building or room names, ministry acronyms, member pseudonyms, or terms unique to your denomination, the “insider language” your local body uses to communicate with one another, may be off-putting to those attempting to enter the conversation for the first time.

There’s also a school of thought that using certain words and phrases related to the Christian faith, creates a barrier for those who aren’t familiar with them. Advocates of this idea suggest that churches should make it their priority to create Web content that’s more “non-believer friendly” by replacing words like sin, salvation, repentance, and faith with less “churchy” alternative expressions.

So how can we solve this problem? What’s the best solution?

As we use our websites to serve and communicate online, how can we balance remaining true to our identity as a local body of believers in Christ, with helping our visitors to feel less alienated and more warmly welcomed?

Here’s an idea: add a Lingo Page to your church website!

In this first of two posts, I’ll step you through the what, why, and how (with examples) of creating one!

What’s a Lingo Page?

The Lingo Page isn’t a new idea, but one inspired by the print publishing world.

Dictionary.com defines a glossary as

A list of terms in a special subject, field, or area of usage, with accompanying definitions. Their purpose, for example, at the back of a book, is to explain or define difficult or unusual words and expressions used in the text.

A Lingo Page on your church website accomplishes the same purpose. You use it to define and explain terms specific to your local body, and to the Christian faith, in general.

Why a Lingo Page is better than “word swapping”

As I said earlier, some have suggested that using certain Christian words and phrases—a.k.a. Christianese—creates a barrier for those who aren’t familiar with them. Proponents of this idea point mostly to non-believers as the ones who are alienated by the so-called “insider” language Christians use to share our faith.

They suggest that, in all of our communications, words like sin, salvation, repentance, faith—even worship and Holy Spirit—should be replaced with less “churchy” alternative expressions that they claim are much more meaningful.

This topic deserves a more in-depth treatment. But, that’s not what this post is for. However, I’ll say simply that I think this idea falls short. Here’s why.

Non-believers do not understand Christian jargon, and they never will. That is true. Some may feel uncomfortable or even “turned off” by some of the terms and phrases. True again. To others, the Bible may even seem like nonsensical gibberish. That is absolutely true.

But, the non-believer’s discomfort with, and inability to understand, the Bible is not a problem of antiquated or inferior words and messaging.

In his commentary of 2 Corinthians 4:3, John MacArthur notes,

The false teachers accused Paul of preaching an antiquated message. So Paul showed that the problem was not with the message or the messenger, but with the hearers headed for hell (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14). The preacher cannot persuade people to believe; only God can do that.

Words do matter. But, merely using more “neutral”, contemporary, or accommodating phrases and terms will not inspire understanding. It also won’t move people to believe the message of the Gospel. Only God can do that.

Church website content should communicate …and serve

One goal of the content we create for our website is to communicate who we are as a local body. We want to be authentic. We want our church website content to accurately reflect online what people can reasonably expect to experience offline.

However, developing our content using “religiously neutral” language will not sustain a visitor’s confidence if, when they arrive at our churches and Bible studies as first-time guests, [lightbox type=”iframe” href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/4H-29cJSuv8?rel=0&showinfo=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″]they encounter this[/lightbox].

People will naturally have questions about what you’re communicating if your vocabulary is new to them. But, merely swapping out certain words and phrases with more “comfortable” terms will do little to help them understand the true and deeper meaning behind the words and phrases you use.

Even “religiously neutral” language needs to be defined and explained if the concepts behind the words and phrases are new to the hearer.

We serve people well when our church website content is clear, current, complete, and consistent with who we are as a local body, offline. To accurately communicate ideas new to the hearer, definition and context are crucial.

That’s why creating a Lingo Page for your church website is superior to mere “word swapping”.

You’ll “decode” your content by defining and introducing context to Christian vocabulary and the unique terms used in the life of your local church. And, you’ll create church website content that equips and encourages people new to both to enter into the conversation.

Gee, that kinda sounds like disciple-making.

It’s your turn

Do you think adding a Lingo Page to your church website is the best way to serve people unfamiliar with your family or your faith?

Leave a comment!

Image Credit: Henry Burrows | Flickr cc

Categories
Web Content

The Secret to Creating Inspiring Ministry Descriptions

Composing ministry descriptions that are both informative and inspiring to visitors of your church website is a bit of a balancing act.

It’s also easier to accomplish than you think.

Why you need content for brains AND hearts

Tim Peters, a church communications advocate, coach, and leader, published a short but insightful article on his blog about the two types of essential website content.

To make your church website engaging to any audience, you must publish  brain content and heart content.

As Tim points out,

Brain content is informative and knowledge driven. Heart content is inspiring and emotional. These two are not at odds with each other; rather, they work together to give visitors a total experience. Each serves a specific purpose.

He goes on to offer some great examples of both types.

Now, maybe you’ve got the brain content covered. Most churches do. But, what about the heart content?

I’d venture to say most small-church communicators would admit that consistently producing, adding, and updating their website with warm, heart-tugging content is one of their biggest challenges.

I can certainly admit, it’s a challenge for me.

If that’s you, too, and your church website is missing heart content, what’s needed is a simple way to kick-start production, right?

Here’s an idea! And the good news: you can use content that’s already on your website.

The secret sauce for inspiring ministry descriptions

It’s no surprise that Tim included Ministry Descriptions in his list of “brain content” examples. Brain content is commonly used to construct ministry description pages.

However, one of his “heart content” points focused on the need to communicate how your church helps people grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. That point made me think about, well, ministries.

So, why not start by expanding your ministry descriptions. Heart content is the secret sauce.

Don’t stop at merely describing a ministry in your church. Make your ministry descriptions head-filling AND heart-tugging by describing the benefits people receive by connecting.

How to do it

Begin by breaking down a ministry description into a list of features.

Think of ministry features as the who, what, when, where, of your ministry descriptions. The benefits of the ministry are the why.

An easy way to talk about the benefits they’ll receive is to answer the question, “Why is this so great?” for each feature you list.

For example, say your website describes a feature of your youth ministry like this: “Youth (who) meet together in the Fellowship Center (where) every Tuesday evening at 6:30pm (when) for games and fellowship, and then break up into middle and senior high groups for age appropriate Bible study (what).

That’s all brain content. Head stuff. Informative, but not too captivating.

Now, add the secret sauce—the heart content. Why is this so great? Your answer might be something like,

Connecting here is AWESOME, because getting together for fun and learning encourages teens to grow relationally and socially. They also become skilled at applying God’s principles to the issues they face in their everyday lives–at home, at school, everywhere!

BOOYAH! Here’s what you’re really offering them!

Here’s why they want to be a part of your congregation. This is what they’ll get: not merely access to a youth ministry, but an opportunity to see their teens grow relationally and socially, and become skilled at applying godly principles to every-day life.

What parent wouldn’t want THOSE BENEFITS for their kids (and for themselves)?

So to recap…

[process_steps type=”vertical” size=”small” number=”5″] [process_step title=”Step 1″ icon=”desktop”]Check out Tim’s article: Church Website Content Checklist[/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 2″ icon=”search”]Carefully review the pages of your website, especially the pages where your ministry descriptions live.[/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 3″ icon=”list-ol”]Break down each ministry description into a list of features of that ministry. [/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 4″ icon=”edit”]For each feature, answer the question, “Why is this so great?” [/process_step] [process_step title=”Step 5″ icon=”heart-o”]Assemble the pieces into a new ministry description that’s both informative AND inspiring. [/process_step] [/process_steps]

Now it’s your turn

Do your ministry descriptions inspire people to connect? Share your ideas (and methods). Leave a comment!

Image Credit: Paxson Woelber | Flickr cc

 

Categories
Web Content

12 AWESOME Student Ministry Websites for Your Inspiration

My last post about youth ministry websites contains a roundup of expert advice to help youth pastors think through whether or not creating a website to serve their student ministry is right for their church. In this follow up, I’ve gathered together 12 of the best student ministry websites I could find.

Finding student ministry websites that presented an engaging, interactive, informative hub for teens and parents was both challenging and insightful. I saw a lot of beautiful, dead websites—websites that looked great, but offered no value because they were no longer being maintained.

Being a WordPress fan, I was pleased to see several built on the platform using quality, premium themes like Steven Gliebe’s Resurrect. (By the way, Steve just rolled out another great looking theme he calls Exodus. I love the simple wide, flat design. Check it out!)

My criteria for selection

I see a lot of “best of” articles that round up great looking websites. Without question, a beautiful design is essential to creating an excellent first impression of a church or ministry. But while great looking design is important, it’s also subjective.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A design that I think is incredible, might leave you yawning. So my idea of great design wasn’t the only criteria I used for choosing these websites.

Great ministry websites don’t just look good, they DO good. At a basic level, they reward their visitors with up-to-date event details, an easy-to-navigate structure, and lots of white space to make viewing easy on the eyes.

So, the websites in my roundup passed the test for these essential features:

  • Great looking, contemporary design
  • Uncluttered layout
  • Easy to navigate and find stuff
  • Up-to-date events and details (this one disqualified a ton of great looking websites)

Since I don’t know what goals were made for these websites, I’m hesitant to judge them on the basis of including interactive, disciple-making content (e.g. sermon media, bible studies or devotionals, blog, etc.).

Although, some do offer such content. That was awesome to see. I also enjoyed seeing a few sites go the extra mile in providing tools and resources to help parents do the equipping.

Do your reasons for building a student ministry website include discipleship and/or outreach?

Is an objective of your mission to help young people meet and know Jesus, and grow in their faith?

Then you would do well to include website content that actively supports that mission.

So, without further adieu, here’s inspiration. Enjoy!

12 Student Ministry Websites for Your Inspiration

[portfolio column=”3″ layout=”sidebar” sortable_all=”false” cat=”studentministrywebsites” titleLinkable=”true” more=”false” moreButton=”false” lightboxTitle=”image”]

Now, it’s your turn

Does your church have a student ministry website that would meet my criteria? In your online travels, have you seen any that do?

Add a little inspiration by sharing a link or two in the Comments below.

Image Credit: Sean MacEntee | Flickr cc

Categories
Web Content

Link Roundup: Get Your Church Website Ready For Easter

Is your church website ready for Easter?

The Easter season is just around the corner. When people begin thinking about where they’ll attend services on Easter Sunday, their first stop will very likely be the Internet.

Your website is your church’s new “front door.” When they arrive there, will what they find make them want to come in (to your church), or will they leave and continue their search.

Using your church website to welcome and connect with your potential guests and congregation is a no-brainer, especially during Easter. The goal of this link roundup is to help you get your church website ready for everyone who arrives there during the next few weeks.

If you apply even a few of these “evergreen” tips, your church will be off to a great start extending the kind of hospitality online that converts website visitors into eager, first-time guests.

Get Your Church Website Ready For Easter

Easter Sunday is the Super Bowl of Church Attendance
by Carol McPhail on AL.com

Many churches experience a substantial increase in visitors on Easter Sunday. Maybe your church is one of them.

As the greatest day of celebration in the Christian church year, Easter draws those who want to hear the good news. “They are so hungry for hope, so eager for a message that tells them they can begin anew and that no matter how bad things may seem, there is new life ahead of them,”…

New Research Reveals Why People Visit Church Websites
by Jeremy Weber on Christianity Today

Jeremy’s post on Christianity Today offers a concise summary of the results of a one-year research study conducted and published in 2012 by Grey Matter Research. While the research and resulting data are not “holiday specific”, they still serve to inform churches of the kind of information your website visitors are looking for.

The top three pieces of information your visitors are looking for, generally, will be especially needful to them as they assess church websites to help them determine where they’ll attend Easter Sunday services. Grey Matter Research reports,

Most commonly, people visiting the website of a place of worship are checking to see the times of services (43%). Other common activities include checking what activities are offered (e.g. youth groups, studies, events – 29%), looking for a map or directions to the church’s location (28%), watching streaming video (26%), and listening to streaming audio (26%).

9 Website Tips to Get Ready for Your Easter Service
by Daniel Threlfall on ShareFaith Magazine

Building anticipation, creating eye-catching graphics, and creatively using social media are three of my favorite tips from Daniel’s post:

Videos are an excellent form of content that can provide encouragement and increase attendance at your service. Try creating a quick video about your Easter service. Even a video taken with your phone will do the trick. Interview people, discuss your service, and share some info on what it’s all about.

Your Church Website: Be Sure it is Ready for Easter
by Yvon Prehn on Effective Church Communications

This is the first of two posts Yvon wrote on the subject of getting your church website ready for Easter. There’s some overlap in the tips offered. Both articles also contain some unique content. I especially like the Easter “give-a-way” ideas she includes in this post.

9 Essentials to Prepare Your Church Website for Easter
by Yvon Prehn on Effective Church Communications

One of my favorite tips from Yvon’s post is to add a section that answers the question, “What do we do when it isn’t Easter?”

Make the service times, parking directions, child care and programs all easy to find. This is especially important for an event like Easter where you may have totally different service times than your regular ones.

My Top Church Websites This Easter
by Steve Fogg on SteveFogg.com

Since 2011, Steve’s been assembling a wonderful collection of some of his favorite Easter-themed church Web pages. If you haven’t yet designed your Easter Web graphics, these examples can offer great inspiration.

12 Great Examples of Church Website Design for Easter
by Steve Fogg on SteveFogg.com

This is the 2013 edition of Steve’s Easter-inspired church Web page collection.

Encourage Members to Invite Friends to Church With App
by Lauren Hunter on Church Tech Today

Proactive churches are already planning and engaging in outreach efforts to invite their communities in. Lauren shares her experience with ChurchInviter, an app that integrates with your church website to provide your members a simple way to send e-vites to their family and friends. Perfect for Easter outreach!

 

I realize you may already be overwhelmed with Easter season planning and preparation. Perhaps your church is in the throes of putting together a special program, and planning fun activities for the kids. But, in all of your planning and “house cleaning,” please be sure you include getting your website up to snuff.

At the very least, make sure people know how to get to you, and what time they should come. Directions to your church and your Easter Service time(s) must be clearly visible on the Home page of your website, or one click away.

Seen any other useful tips or articles out there? Please feel free to share your favorites in the Comments.

Image Credit: John_Stockton | Flickr cc

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Web Content

Why No One Visits Your Church Website

“I just don’t think our church is using our website.” It’s an issue I hear all the time.  The truth is that this has very little to do with your website design. It really has to do you and how your church utilizes your website. Most church websites suffer from content overload, too much content with very little focus. Keep reading to see how we can get back to simple church websites that are an effective ministry tool.