When the world started building websites, people were amazed. They instantly questioned, “will they catch on?” I remember my first conference in the mid 1990’s that talked about their power. Most of us got caught up in the technical programming complexities and how the tool was actually created. I left wondering if anyone would want the hard work of creating them!
Dial-up modems gave way to high speed internet, wifi, and now mobile; so the pace of website popularity has become mainstream. Websites are everywhere, and we take them for granted. Perhaps though, we’re still too bogged down with the “tool” and developing content that we’re missing critical issues.
Popularity of the method doesn’t mean that all of our websites are useful. In fact, having a website can waste your time if you’re not doing the right things with them. Your congregation and community may even find the information they’re looking for all while you’re missing out on the key power of having a website.
A church’s website should help the church leadership while delivering the right content to its audience!
Here are 3 critical errors most Churches are not considering and therefore not benefiting from:
- Don’t think of your website as a brochure. They’re a conversation. A printed brochure simply offers information for someone’s understanding. A website can do so much more — it wants interactivity and engagement. A website needs to listen, take information, process requests, and deliver information on demand. A good communicator listens more than they speak.
- Don’t answer the “now what?” question on every page. You should know why you have your content on your website. You anticipate a desired response from it (or should). Like an understanding salesperson, you need to direct people to what is next (what you want them to look at or make input). It’s like hearing a good story and asking “why are you telling me this”; you can guess but who better to guide you than the person telling the story! A good communicator leads people with content. Keep them engaged!
- You’re not watching the metrics. Your website wants to tell you about your audience and your content. Websites are collecting a ton of information and Google Analytics is collecting that information for free (if you set it up properly). Once you login, you’ll discover who’s reading your content, how long they spend, what pages they go to, what search engine and keywords they used to find you, and lots more. A good communicator uses this data to shape their content.
Websites offer so much more for effective church communications than print materials. It’s the real reason we all have websites. Harness the power now!