If you are looking for a great starting point for a quick and effective church website strategy then you’re in the right place. This entire plan will take an hour, not months to create. So get out that pen and paper and let’s get to it. This guide assumes that your Church has the infrastructure to meet people’s needs, connect them with your community, and hopefully then have them return the following Sunday. If you’re a church planter, this guide will still be beneficial, but I’d suggest you going through this process a second time once your infrastructure is in place.
Step 1: Set your Goals
Determining your goals doesn’t have to be difficult. Just like driving, it’s hard to have a direction if you don’t have a destination. The best goals are time sensitive and have a tangible metric attached. For example: Create one blog post a week until December 31st. Or maybe it’s: Have 10 visitors fill out the more information form in the next 30 days. Or, getting 1,000 new visitors to your church this year. Creating clear, attainable goals for yourself, your team, and your ministry will provide you with tangible measurements of your success. This will be different for each Church, so take a long look internally and think of the biggest wins, and then put them down as a goal.
Step 2: Define your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? What types of communication makes the most sense to you and your church? Your audience matters, because it helps clarify everything on your website. Well you may say “But everyone is my audience”. Well that’s fine a perfect, but if everyone is your audience than you won’t be able to speak in a way that anyone understands. Your language has to be specific enough to come across as authentic. That all begins with defining your audience.
Step 3: Define Church Brand
A brand is often mistaken as a variety of different things and it’s important to understand its ambiguous nature. A brand is not simply your church logo or visual identity. A brand is not your slogan or your advertising campaign. A brand is not even controlled by the church behind it. Rather a brand is a collection of perceptions that reside in the mind of your audience. It is the gut feeling they have about your church. While you may not have direct control over your brand, you most certainly are its steward. Every interaction your audience has with you influences their perceptions. Your job is to cultivate, guard, and maintain a strong brand – the rewards of which are consistently loyal church attenders and church growth.
Step 4: Create Engaging Content
Ah, and we’ve finally arrived at the step that will take you the most time to execute. The content you create has to be engaging, and valuable to your audience, otherwise people won’t stick around your website to hear or read what you have to say. But the best part about this is that if you are recording your weekend messages you have a huge leg up. The messages are already engaging, so putting them up on your website each week is a great step in the correct direction. You could also create stories from attenders or members of your church about how their lives have been changed. Keep in mind that the intention is to be consistent and learn. Which brings me to the final step.
Step 5: Measure Results & Continually Improve
The best part about your online strategy is that it’s now super easy to measure what you are doing. The easiest way to measure is to use google analytics. www.google.com/analytics Once you install your tracker code on your website, you will be able to see where your visitors are coming from, what they are reading, how long they are staying on your website, and even where they are located geographically. All this information is only valuable if you check it, and improve on it. An example of this would be to look at your most trafficked blog post. If it’s a story from a member in your church about how their life was changed by Jesus, than you should create more content like that. If everyone is coming to your site to see when your service times are and get your address than that needs to be the easiest thing to find on your website. Get into the habit of looking at your analytics once a month and improving in order to better engage your community and reach more people with the Gospel.
Your church website will be a work in progress, yet as you measure your results and improve on them, it will become more and more effective at reaching your community.