Church websites often make one common mistake – focusing more on the church than the visitors.
While it might seem like your site should be more about marketing, the opposite is actually true. Your site should be welcoming versus advertorial.
When done right, putting the focus on the visitor makes your church’s site far more engaging. Not only will it appeal to members, but to the unchurched as well.
When a visitor finds your church’s website, they’re not just looking for basic information, such as an address and service times. They also want to get a feel for what it might be like if they were to visit your church. Your church’s site is an extension of your physical church.
Consider it an example experience. If the example is nothing but marketing, visitors might think your church isn’t focused on what’s most important – bringing people together to share their faith. Make your site a true example of what attending your church feels like.
Feel Like A Visitor Versus Consumer
One of the main reasons to focus on the visitor is to ensure they feel like a visitor to your church versus a consumer. Think about it like this. How well do you respond to telemarketers? Are you more likely to buy whatever they’re selling when they call out of the blue? No, in fact, you just look for a way to get out of the situation.
When visitors come to your church’s site and are bombarded with requests to come out to events, donate to the church or spread the word, they’re going to leave and find another church site. Why? They feel more like a shopper than someone looking for a place to worship.
Inspire Instead Of Market
The most important job of your church’s site is to inspire those who visit. Whether it’s keeping members engaged throughout the week or helping someone through a hard time who may live 100 miles away, your site should help inspire them. Marketing just gets in the way of your message.
Before you think that marketing has no place in the church, remember that creating a great experience on your website encourages visitors to share content from your site. It also increases word-of-mouth advertising. By putting the focus on the visitor, you are marketing the church. You’re just doing it by giving visitors what they need.
Odds are, people are coming to your church’s site to solve a problem. Perhaps they’re struggling through a divorce or just lost a loved one. They’re seeking guidance and possibly even a new church. When they visit your site, what do you want them to find?
They could see details about the history of your church, the new addition you’ve built on and an invitation to donate. Or, they could see details about service times, your latest blog post, today’s scripture and a summary of your latest sermon. The second is far more appealing and may be just what someone needs to solve their problems.
You can have all the other details on your site too, but put the visitor’s needs first.
Create A Sense Of Community
Finally, your church’s website should help create a sense of community. Part of this comes from getting your members involved on the site. Consider adding a forum for visitors to ask questions and assign members to help answer questions and interact.
The idea is to show visitors that they’re always welcome. If they feel welcome on your website, they’re more likely to want to visit your church in person. Even if they never come to your church, they’re still building a stronger relationship with God thanks to your website. That alone is enough of a reason to focus on the visitor versus the church itself.
Is your church’s site focused on the right thing? Contact us today to see how we can help you to revamp your site.