The kids are back in school and your fall church programs are beginning. I used to love going to school in the fall. I remember the feeling when I arrived at school in my new clothes with my new backpack loaded up with fresh notebooks. I’d open the notebook cover to a clean, first page and enjoyed the first pen strokes as I wrote the first sentence. Of course, the feeling quickly wore off as the weeks progressed.
It’s time for you to think fresh and different at your church. It’s the fall! Your congregation and community will have a sense of anticipation that only the NEW start will bring. You’ll have more attention than normal. Embrace it!
Perhaps you’ve had your church website for awhile with no major updates. Or maybe this is a fresh new design that was just launched. Either way, you need to do these 3 things. Now.
- Ensure the information is up-to-date and answers the common questions. Like: what programs are new or different this year? Are times the same? Locations? Create a “new” callout on a page — marketers know its power of attraction. Use social media to link to these new areas. Don’t have anything new this year? Write fresh new descriptions so that it feels fresh or change the photos on the church website pages.
- Review Keywords. These are the words that search engines love that help people find you. Think about your congregation and community; what would they be searching for? It’s either a pain/need/concern or a solution. List everything that you solve and their corresponding solutions (in words that people would use in Google). Use those specific words in the headlines (h1 tags) and in the content of your church website pages (and meta tag area if you can). The more you use a keyword on a page, the more likely someone will be directed to the page by Google, Yahoo or Bing.
- Start fresh this fall with editing. Rarely will anyone complain that a page’s content is too short. Edit all paragraphs to just the essentials and add some bullet points for “takeaways”. Remember the way you should’ve taken notes at school? You synthesize long lectures into an easy-to-scan outline so you can review it quickly. That’s what people want when they come to a church website. They want just the facts. Aim for only 50 words on a page.
It’s fall! A fresh start. If you don’t have the communication tools in place, it’s also a good time to start talking about adding to budgets that’ll get approved in a few months. Effective communications bring people to events and ministries. The fall’s a good time to focus on it! Start with the church website now.
This post originally appeared for the digital Worship Facilities Magazine. Mark MacDonald is a regular writer for this and other national publications.