How can you tell the things people need to know about your church? Online communication, with the help of analytic data, shows what people are looking for. If the majority look in a specific place on a church website, then we can assume that most people want to know that information about you.
When you look at website analytics, you can see the things people need to know about your church. Google can provide this information if you install a free file into your website programming. Your content management system also may have this data available to you.
Having worked with hundreds of churches and seen the metrics for their popular webpages, I’ve seen a trend.
Here are the 3 things that appear regularly on the list of “popular areas” for church websites and what we can learn from them:
- About: This is mainly for people from your community who are interested in visiting a church because they moved, are in a time of transition or want something different. They want to know about your church — what you’re about or known for. If you don’t have a denomination in your name, they’ll want assurance that you’re a normal church that believes the Bible. On the “about” website page, be sure you have a location map with service times listed. No one wants a lot of information. Say it quickly (bullet points are great), with controlled language, so they’ll believe the information when they visit, perhaps because it’ll be said from the platform during the welcome time. Tell them why they should love you and need you.
- Staff information: You will have two groups interested in you. The first group, the community, includes outsiders who don’t know a lot about your ministries. They want to see what people who go to your church look like. Pictures around your website should show your congregation, while the staff page should show a current picture of what each leader looks like. Your community wants to see if they’ll fit into your church based on what you are wearing and how friendly leadership looks. The second group, the congregation, wants to discover who’s in charge of ministries and how to contact them. Make sure everyone is dressed as they’d look on a Sunday and list what they’re in charge of. Have a contact phone number and email, depending on which you think your audience would be most likely to use.
- Calendar or events: This is mainly for people in your congregation. Of the things people need to know about your church, it’s the “what’s in it for me” area. Both internal and external audiences should see how active your church is and if there’s something for them or their family. Make sure this information is consistent, simple and searchable. Most prefer finding the information online since they can filter it easily and its always accessible. Be clear who each event is for, the benefit of participating, where it’s located, the beginning and end times and if there’s a cost or registration needed. If you’re a busy church, it’s important to help them make the decision to be involved!
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, & social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.