Have you ever visited a church website that just made you cringe a little? Maybe the content was out-of-date, the homepage was confusing and jumbled, or maybe it just looked old. Whatever the reason, you probably took a quick look, made that cringy face, and then quickly hit the red ‘X’ at the top of your browser. Don’t be that church website!
From the very first moment someone visits your church website, they are going to get an idea of what to expect at your church and what your church is about. It’s important to make sure the message you are conveying is the one you want to convey. This is done by taking the time to regularly evaluate and improve your church website.
We’ve put together a list of ways that you can evaluate and improve your church website so you can be sure that nobody makes the cringy face when they land on your homepage.
Find Out What People Are Saying About Your Site
Your church website exists to help and to serve real people. Not personas or target groups, but actual people. Because of this, the first and best way to evaluate your church website is to hear the truth from people who visit. There are a few ways that you can do this.
Send Out a Survey
A survey is a great way to get a feel for people’s thoughts about your site. In the survey ask questions about how easy things are to find, what the overall feel of the site is, and if they would direct a visitor to your site. This can be telling.
Another way to get a feel about how people feel about your site is by simply asking around. Ask different groups of people from different demographics to get a more accurate response. If you really want to pursue this route, consider recruiting some people to ask around. Keep in mind that if people know that you are involved in creating and maintaining the church website, you might get a biased response, so recruit people that are removed from the process.
Include a Place for Feedback on Your Site
Lastly, consider creating a page on your church website designed just for feedback. Integrate a form with your church management software, and let people fill it out with things that they would like to see improved or different on your site. This is a great and easy way to capture people’s thoughts toward your site.
Steps For Improvement
Once you’ve gathered input and opinions from people, be sure to put a plan in place to actually execute on the feedback received. It’s one thing to hear from people, but it’s a whole other thing to actually listen to them and take action based on what you hear. Consider compiling a list of all the feedback and then meeting with your website team to plan how to implement the list. Prioritize the feedback based on urgency.
Take a Look at the Stats
The next way that you can evaluate your church website is to take a look at the website statistics. The best way to gather website statistics is by connecting Google Analytics to your website, or by using the reporting feature from your content management system. Looking at Google Analytics can be overwhelming, so here are a few key stats to focus on.
- Traffic Source – how are people actually getting to your site?
- Top Pages – what pages do people visit the most?
- Time on Site – how much time are people actually spending on your site? Are there specific pages that people spend more time on than others?
- Audience – what kind of visitors is your church website attracting?
- Call-to-Action (CTA) Click Through Rates – which CTAs are people clicking on the most? Are there any that people don’t use?
Find out more information about these statistics and your church website here.
These stats can tell you a lot about who comes to your site, what they do when they get there, and why they stay (or don’t). Try to keep an eye on these numbers monthly or quarterly so you can get a better idea of trends too.
Steps For Improvement
Gathering statistics and leaving them in a pretty spreadsheet isn’t going to do you much good in the long run. Be sure to set goals and put a plan in place to improve the statistics that need improving and maintain the statistics that are good. Consider revisiting these goals quarterly to see what goals are being met and which ones need to be tweaked.
Stay Up-To-Date on Church Website Trends
Lastly, one of the best ways you will be able to evaluate your church website is knowing how it measures up to the latest in church website trends. If your website looks old and outdated, chances are people won’t stick around long even if your content is clear. Take some time to learn what the current trends are and how you can use them on your church website.
When it comes to trends, keep in mind that less is more. You don’t have to jump on every single trend bandwagon to have a relevant church website. Incorporating one or two will go a long way. What you don’t want is a site that looks dated and has out-dated content and features.
Steps For Improvement
As stated above, identify one or two current church website trends and come up with a plan to incorporate them on your church website. While you are doing this, also plan to remove any content or features that are dated.
Today’s church website can be used to do so many things, and encouraging giving is one of them. If you haven’t set up online giving on your site yet, there’s no better time. Sharefaith Giving seamlessly integrates into your church mobile app, website or social media by providing you a URL, donate button or QR code. Share them anywhere and start receiving funds in seconds. Choose mobile text giving, pick your phone number and share. It’s time to make managing, monitoring and facilitating online giving easy for your church.