By now, just about every church has a website. Good so far, but having a website is not enough anymore. Now, churches must make the most of it. Gone are the days where you could just toss up a website and leave it. Instead, a website is a living, breathing part of your overall effort to reach the community and to spread the good news. Here are some of the top tips for making the most of your church website.
Before we launch into these tips, it’s important to wrap your mind around the importance of a church website. It’s easy to think of a church website as an Internet placeholder — kind of like a cyber sign. It’s there. You have a website. Done. Right?
A website needs to be constantly curated, finessed, updated, refined, enhanced, and active. A passive site is a dead site. With that in mind, we are suggesting ways to improve your church website through both regular updates and some basic enhancements. Although the ideas outlined below may take some time, it’s time that is well spent to increase your outreach and effectiveness.
- Integrate your church calendar. A church is a happening place. The website is the perfect place to help people get up to speed on events. Simply integrate your Google calendar into your church website. Done.
- Add sermons — video or audio. If you haven’t added a sermon player to your website, it’s time to start. In case “adding a sermon player” sounds like a daunting effort of coding and tweaking, don’t worry; it’s not that bad. Providing audio recordings of sermon is helpful for people who want to sample a church’s preaching, catch up on a missed sermon, or fill their work commute with some excellent listening. You can even add podcasts to make it easier for people! Learn how to add a sermon player to your website.
- Connect with social media. Introduce your church website to the thriving world of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or whatever other social sites your church is on. If your church already has a social presence (and we highly recommend it), then be sure to connect it to your church website. In addition to providing a more integrated online presence, social connection also helps search engine rankings.
- Use an image gallery. People love pictures. Chances are, if you add a photo gallery to your church website, it’s going to get a ton of hits. Plus, it provides a personal and fun look at church life.
- Launch a pastor’s blog. Many pastors have found that a blog gives them the ability to articulate things that they are learning, and to provide an additional way to encourage and edify people. Your blog could go viral and reach millions, as some pastor’s blogs have. More likely, it could be a way to keep your own church family in the loop about things you’re learning, resources you recommend, and devotional thoughts you have.
- Use online donations. This is virtually guaranteed to increase your church giving. It’s called online tithing or online donations. Fewer people are carrying around legal tender or checkbooks anymore. For churches to engage with people where they are, it’s important to allow them to give online. This is the power of online giving. Online giving is provided for free with Sharefaith church websites.
- Change out website banners. Web banners and sidebar banners are an awesome visual enhancement to a website. In addition to just plain looking good, they can inform people at-a-glance about upcoming events. Check out our gallery of predesigned website banners, and easily add one using the integrated image editor.
- Invite multiple website editors and contributors. A church website isn’t a one-person thing. It shouldn’t be. Invite others to collaborate with you to provide content, change graphics, update announcements, add sermons, and perform other important website tasks. The more people that can contribute to the upkeep of the website, the easier it becomes. Plus, it’s more likely that your website will be updated more regularily, making it a more valuable resource.
- Use your mobile device to update your site. Want to keep your site updated on the go? No problem. In a few minutes, you’ll be able to perform any important church website update from the convenience and mobility of your iPhone or Android phone.
- Optimize your church website for the search engines. One of the most important things you can do for your church website is to make it easy for the search engines to find it, thus placing you more prominently in search engine results. In other words, if people are looking for “churches in Anytown, State,” you want your church website to pop up at the top. How do you do this? It’s called SEO — search engine optimization, and it’s not hard. By using a Sharefaith church website, employing the right keywords, and making a few regular adjustments, you’ll be set. Read more about church website SEO in our introduction to SEO and advanced tips. Quick tip: The more regularly you update your site, the better you’ll rank in the search engines.
In that list, we’ve merely scratched the surface. However, if you start doing a few of the things outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to transforming your church website into something of value.
All of these features — and a ton more — are available using Sharefaith church websites. We have created the fastest, most powerful, most innovative, and most effective way for churches to launch a website. As you can see by the list above, you will have a website that is easy to make the most of. Visit our church website page to get started and learn more.