How to resurrect a church website
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Easter’s here and spring is hopefully taking hold near you. New life is everywhere (especially as we emphasize the Gospel). Now, it’s time to resurrect your church’s website. Please!
If you created your website (and it still looks similar) more than three years ago, it’s dying. And if you’re not updating your website content weekly, it’s certainly feeling dead. Unfortunately, your congregation and community don’t like visiting the information grave.
Here are four ways to resurrect your website, make it new, and something worth celebrating!
Consider User Experience.
Few people enjoy doing something they find unpleasant. Your website needs to be enjoyable for your congregation while friendly to your community.
Do people in your church enjoy their experience of finding info on your website? How can you know? Ask them!
Create meetings with the primary and secondary personas (who the church is made up of). Ask questions like: When’s the last time you visited our website? What were you looking for? Have you ever looked for something and not found it? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate our website? What would you improve? Prioritize what you hear and start to fix them.
Add Google Analytics.
This free addition to your site will give you actual metrics on what information is sought and who is visiting. This is the foundation of resurrection.
Discover the top pages to fix first. And if “important” pages aren’t in the top 15 pages, you can rethink the organization so they’re more discoverable.
Reorganize for your Audience.
This is the heart of what kills most websites. Someone must discover answers to their biggest questions. Most don’t like to click more than three or four times and only spend about 30 seconds on a page to find the answer.
Organization must be a simple main menu (about six items) and about six dropdown items per main menu. This main menu should be ordered by importance from left to right.
It must make sense without knowing the church (this makes it friendly to the community). Most want About as the first menu item, and Contact as the last. Based on who goes to the website; the middle items will change (but usually you need a Ministries or Classes, New? or Guests, Events or Calendar, and/or Serve or Outreach tabs). Many churches have a Sermon or Resource tab, too.
Edit. Edit. Edit.
What’s the key information that most need to know about your church? Usually it’s Times, Address, Event Info, Staff Contacts with Pictures, Ministry Info and Sermon Series info. That will keep almost everyone happy.
Be careful if you want too much more — and review Analytics for current top pages. Imagine how simple a site would be if you had only this info! It would be like a breath of springtime air. Remove everything else from the main menu and it will help your site. Simply link to less important pages within your really important pages.
And each page? Write a descriptive headline and then list the facts contained in several bullet points. Stop writing long paragraphs. You’ll be surprised how your website will spring to life. Less is more.
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