11 Practical Reasons To Have A Church Website in 2020 and Beyond
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A Church Website Is No Longer Optional: 11 Reasons Why
It’s a proven fact that over 95% of church pastors use technology at church — computers, smart devices, presentation systems, etc — and there is a growing number who use technology to support their sermons and messages during service. Surprisingly, not nearly 95% of churches have a website, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Millions of church-goers search the internet for their church website and as many would-be potential visitors also search for churches online before deciding to give a church a try.
If your church does not have a website or your church website lacks key elements, here are 11 compelling reasons you should have a website or spend a little energy bringing your current website up to date.
Reason #1: When Done Properly, A Website Keeps the Church Congregation Actively Engaged
Research tells us that well over 60% of those who attend services 2 times a month or more say that their church’s website plays a key role in keeping them involved. It also helps facilitate their participation and service within the church. Reasons cited are that the website allows them to passively explore service opportunities, connect with the church community, and communicate with church staff and leadership more readily.
Programs and Calendars and Signups, Oh My!
If the website includes service programs/bulletins, up-to-date event calendars, automated signup forms for volunteering, news updates, audio/video of messages — especially packaged into series, and social media links, you can keep your members informed and spur activation and participation in all of the things that are happening.
Reason #2: A Church Website Is the Hub For Key Beliefs That Shape the Church’s Mission and Message
All churches have core beliefs that shape the church and emanate throughout all of the messaging, programs, and communication. This is two-fold. Your website gives you the ability to share what church members believe with the community, prospective visitors, and others.
The other heavy lifting required of a church staff is the chore of communication. Many churches still allocate large portions of their budget for printing out calendars, program information, and service bulletins or handouts, and then mailing them or distributing them at the door before service. Moving to a digital platform — church website — gives you the ability to create these items and share them on your website, allowing your members and visitors to access them on a computer at home or a smart device while out and about or even in church.
Keeping The Masses Up To Date
In addition to saving a significant amount of time and money, and decreasing the use of paper, you’ll be able to make timely changes to important dates and update program information in realtime on your website in case anything changes — and things always change.
Reason #3: A Church Website Can Turn Many Time-Consuming Tasks Into Self-Service Efficiency
If your church is still keeping volunteer lists in spreadsheets and expecting members to signup on clipboards with paper forms, well… it’s time to stop. We all know that managing and organizing volunteers in a church of any size is a monumental task. When information has to be manually entered, mistakes are made and things often get missed. This is just one simple task that can be fully-automated in the context of a church website.
Signup forms for classes, meetings, nursery and childcare, mission trips, etc can all be automated online, making it easy to manage and reducing, by a magnitude, the amount of time and effort required to track and re-enter data that comes from other sources. Use your website as a foundation for all incoming information from members and use the time and effort saved for something much more valuable to the church.
Reason #4: A Church Website Introduces the Public to Your Church, Leadership, and Community Programs
Your church website facilitates a rich platform to tell the story, provide background and bios on your pastors, staff, and other key members of the organization, and prepare prospective visitors with the information they need before visiting your church. They’ll also have access to detailed information about what types of services and programs you offer.
Tell Them Who You Are
Making this information publicly available online can make visitors and prospective members feel much more comfortable visiting your church in person, as they will already have insight into what type of ministry they’ll experience and who will be leading them.
Reason #5: A Church Website Welcomes Outsiders to Your Congregation and Ministry
You can use the church website — especially the main landing page (home page) — as a platform to extend an open invitation to visitors and prospective members and anyone seeking spiritual guidance. Through proven design characteristics, church websites that extend a positive message and open arms portray a message of community and hope, and draw more new visitors.
We are always reminded that many prospective worshipers may be nervous or unsure about attending church simply because they haven’t been before and have some fear of being rejected. Your website should demonstrate front-and-center that all are invited and welcome.
Felt-Needs Landing Pages
Along with your main landing page designed to be inviting all who come, it is very important to build specific landing pages that attract an audience looking to your church, or any church, for answers. Felt-needs landing pages can provide biblical answers, comfort, and understanding to the unchurched and those who have never been introduced to Jesus. Addressing felt needs is a very important part of your church website content strategy.
Reason #6: Just Like A Business, Church Websites Should Be Promoted Through Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
As much as church isn’t business, it is, at least in the sense that there is healthy competition for members. That means there is also competition online for prospective visitors. Having a website is not enough if it is going to help the church grow. The goal is for more people to find your church online, receive your message and be drawn to visit.
SEO is very competitive. Many churches that do have websites compete for top rankings on Google for obvious reasons, so a little work and expertise will be required here. It can be as competitive as business SEO and the same principles apply — good keyword strategy, thorough research, and planned execution. Using a number of fundamental SEO techniques, your website content should be optimized to attract new visitors who are searching for relevant terms.
When Life Gets In the Way
People are now required, more than ever, to travel for work or they just aren’t able to attend services due to conflicting schedules. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to go to church — it just means they can’t attend. Google processes tens of thousands of monthly search requests just related to the search keywords online church and church services online. This doesn’t mean you have to become an online church. But, offering live or pre-recorded streaming of your services or uploading an audio format of your messages will help you reach more people and will boost online giving.
Reason #7: A Church Website Showcases Community Involvement
The church’s website should be used to demonstrate the extent and reach of your ministry, and more importantly, inspire others to get involved, even if they’re not current members. The website provides an opportunity to showcase programs and ministries your church oversees or supports within the community — things like after school programs, charitable outreach, even far-reaching ministries in other parts of the world. You will also want to highlight strategic partnerships with other nonprofits and community organizations your church partners with.
If the church holds any monthly or annual community fundraising events, parties, galas, whatever the case may be, the website is a great place to do this along with very tight integration with social media outreach.
Reason #8: A Church Website Can Facilitate a Secure Way for Members to Give Tithes and Offerings to the Church
Giving to religion (defined as giving specifically to congregations, churches, denominations, missionary societies, and religious media) has consistently remained the single largest recipient of charitable giving in the US.
Over half of all church giving is completed by credit or debit card nowadays and nearly 70% of members are willing to tithe digitally — especially on a mobile device. Using the church website as a central platform, you can make this a convenient option for your members.
Reason #9: A Church Website Increases Involvement in Study, Life, Reading, Family and Prayer Groups
If you let church members know when a group event is being held, they are more likely to sign up (and show up) for it — especially when the option of signing up is convenient and online. And, if your church can access a membership directory online, you’ll likely see more active prayer groups and more participation overall.
Additionally, you can share handouts and information from different groups on your website, so that others can access it and become involved. Overall, with an online presence, you’ll see more engagement from your groups and be able to build an active platform where your community members can really get involved and support one another.
Reason #10: A Church Website Offers a Cost-Effective Platform to Reach Prospective Members
Along with implementing an SEO strategy, mentioned earlier, you can also share links to pertinent information in email outreach and across all of your social media channels to reach prospective members. This includes distributing updates about new blog posts, content, event photos, etc.
Your website can serve as the central information hub for everything prospective members will need to know when considering your church.
Reason #11: A Website Provides Links to Social Media Outlets, Podcasts, Recordings, and Blog Posts—Spiritual Content People are Searching for Already
According to research, people are beginning to search for online church options in staggering numbers. Unfortunately, this equates to less people attending church in person. That said, millions of people want to listen to sermons by podcast hosted on sites like SoundCloud, BuzzSprout, Spotify or one of many others, or by watching a video. This gives your prospective visitors the opportunity to hear your message in hopes of drawing them in to a live service.
In addition, millions of people read blog posts too. A large part of the world’s population has access to, and regularly uses, social media.
Using an SEO keyword strategy, you can include the type of content that people are looking for right on your church’s website. You may also want to consider creating a regularly scheduled podcast. This could be a recording of your messages, a reading of blog posts, or even a “beyond the message” series to dive deeper into biblical topics that are just too in-depth for your weekly message during a service. It’s a great way to augment your weekly service message and spread your ministry in a much broader and deeper way.
After considering all the benefits that building a website can bring to your church, members, and community outreach, don’t delay in creating an ideal presence online. Delegal Digital offers sensible solutions for church websites as well as solutions for non-profits and other charitable organizations. We would be delighted to discuss your needs and determine exactly how we can help you spread the word. You can contact us easily at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing this very short contact form or just call 912.388.1440