ChurchProduction.com: The Three Big Mistakes Most Churches Make on Their Websites
Church Production


The Three Big Mistakes Most Churches Make on Their Websites

By Cathy Hutchison
May 2, 2015 9:37 am EST

Topics: Church in the Digital World
Tags:

Print this story


ADVERTISEMENT


In my day job, I have the opportunity to look at a lot of church websites. The thing is, I keep seeing the same three mistakes made on the majority of the sites I visit. Here is what they are and how to fix them:

1. We can't figure out where you are located.

You would be surprised at how difficult it can be for a first time visitor to find your address. Mostly, because we don't know where to look for it. Best practices of websites have it in the footer of every page. Better yet, is to also include a "contact" page in the main navigation because that is where people are used to looking for that information on corporate websites. Other good practices are to have an "I'm New" section that gives directions and other details that help people with the basics when they want to visit your church. (Note that many churches share similar names. Make it easy for people to know they've found the right website.)

2. We can't find you on Google.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a big challenge for everyone--but especially for churches. At the very least, you want to come up under the name of your church and the city (or simply just "church" and the city) so that if someone drives by your sign and wants to learn more they can. Here are some things you can do to improve your presence in organic search:

- Make sure you have a business listing on Google maps. This will give you visibility when people search for churches in their area.

- Name the pages on your website based on the search terms you want that page to be found under. For example, instead of naming your contact page "http://yourchurch.org/contact.htm" use "http://yourchurch.org/yourchurch-dallas.htm". It will make you rank higher when someone types in the term "your church+dallas". (Of course, substitute the name of your actual church and actual city ).

- Maximize your metatags by making sure your keywords are in the title of the page and the description.

There is more you can do, but those three suggestions will bring about improvement. If you happen to have a site built in Wordpress load the Yoast SEO plugin which will help you optimize each page of your site for the keywords you want to have draw people to your site.

3. Stock photos make you feel cold.

The thing about stock photos is that they feel like stock photos. Impersonal. Generic. People checking out your church need to see photos of the inside filled with real people from your congregation. While it is great to promote your preaching series or state your doctrine and use imagery to support that (I often see a stock photo Bible on the doctrine page), what people really want to know is: "Will I feel welcome there?" and the best way to tell that story isn't with words, it is with pictures.

Are you a formal church? Casual? Do you have families? Singles? Empty nesters? Are you a small community where I can connect with everyone or are you large with all of the resources and programs I am looking for ? All of that can be told effectively through images. Hire a professional photographer (or a skilled volunteer within your body) and invest in getting the photos that you need to make it feel on your site as if someone is already visiting. It is a daunting thing to decide to drive to a church and walk into a room of people you don't know--especially if it is something you've never done before. You can lower that barrier by allowing people to see what the experience will be like through static photos. (Video is great too, but photos communicate the message much more quickly and leave control of the browsing to the person with the tablet or mouse.)

So, how does your site perform in these three areas? Do you have work to do or is your website doing a great job of helping people get through your doors?

 


What people are saying about this story
Add your comment:

Name:
Email:
Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:



ADVERTISEMENT


All entries for this blog:

  The Three Big Mistakes Most Churches Make on Their Websites
  

  Connection vs. Static
  

  Holiday Gift Guide for Church Techs
  

  How to Create Infographics in 5 Simple Steps
  

  Automate your social media—or anything really—with IFTTT
  

  Developing a password strategy
  

  Do you have these five common mistakes on your LinkedIn Profile?
  

  Leveraging Google Authorship
  

  Will you still think missionally when the costs drop?
  

  Committees vs Task Forces
  

  What culture are you creating?
  

  Three Trends that Churches Should be Aware of
  

  How engaged is your team?
  

  Simple digital tools for coordination
  

  Alternatives to Linear Presentations
  

  The Future of RSS Readers
  

  Thinking about Upgrading to Windows 8?
  

  Holiday Gift Guide for Church Technical Professionals 2012 - Top 10 Gifts under $30
  

  Sometimes the challenge isn’t a technical one…
  

  The Dangers of Vanity Metrics
  

  Switching from Sheet Music to a Tablet
  

  Some Digital World Tools Have Unexpected Power—even on a small scale
  

  Making it personal
  

  Why you might want to check out WePay…
  

  Three trends for technology and auditoriums
  

  What is the one thing you plan to STOP doing in 2012?
  

  Do you know about Square?
  

  Finding time to unplug during advent
  

  WFX 2011 - Exploring the Social Media Landscape
  

  What I love about Google Voice
  

  SEO for beginners
  

  Catching up with the tools
  

  What should we do with Google +
  

  The Social Media Audit
  

  Apps for spiritual development
  

  Quick and easy websites
  

  Are we all cyborgs?
  

  Twitter 102 - Using Twitter as an Organization
  

  Applications for Managing Social Media
  

  Using Digital World Tools to Improve Meetings
  

  Digital World Culture Shifts | From Polished to Authentic
  

  Meet the Cartographers | Camron Ware of VisualWorshiper.com
  

  Digital Church 101 | Overview of the Culture Shift
  

  Digital Church 101 | Overview of the Social Media Landscape
  

  The best apps to load before WFX in Atlanta
  

  Planning for Crisis Communications
  

  Celebrating the Hyperlocal
  

  Managing Image on the Web
  

  Ten “Crash Landing” Strategies for Facing Down the Blinking Cursor
  

  Virtual Teaming
  

  Designing your Mobile Site
  

  Digital World Culture Shifts | Privacy vs. Transparency
  

  Developing your Social Media Strategy
  

  Meet the Cartographers | Andrew Conard of Resurrection Online
  

  Digital World Culture Shifts | Leadership Changes
  

  Top 10 Reasons Linked In is Useful
  

  Meet the Cartographers | Mark Horvath of invisiblepeople.tv
  

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter
Designed for tech directors and systems operators in churches like yours, our newsletter provides you with updates, articles, news, products and more!
ADVERTISEMENT
 
ADVERTISEMENT