In this week's session of the Church Online Communications Comprehensive, we're going to switch our attention from the theoretical to the practical. We've spent enough time talking strategy; now it's time to get into the practical implementation. Let's start off by discussing church websites.
When the topic of church websites comes up in the discussion of online communications, it's hard to do it justice in only a couple weeks. While I'm going to focus on the highlights, it's important to remember that this will only be a sample of the many different best practices that can be applied to your church's website.
A good church website answers questions for visitors and members alike. This is instrumental in easily locating important information about your church. Below is a list of common questions every church website should answer. When creating a “What To Expect” page, here are some questions to keep in mind.
With everything having a website these days, how do you make your church’s website stand out in a Google search?
An essential thing to implement on your church’s website is SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is how we make things show up in search results. Without SEO, no one knows your site exists unless they already have its URL.
One could easily write an entire book on how to optimize a site for SEO, but here are some basic tips to get you started. Because your site will have a mix of long-term pages that aren’t frequently updated and timely pages you need to draw traffic to, you may not use all of these tactics on every single page. But implementing them when appropriate will make a big difference in helping new people find your site and get connected to your church.
Including content that will both provide useful information for members and attract visitors is the most crucial part of having a church website. Church websites that do not provide proper content are as useful as not providing any information at all.
Here are a few examples of essential content every church website should provide.
So you’re thinking of doing a complete redesign of your church website. The theme is dated, the info is out of date, and those 4000kb background images were never good ideas. That’s right. It’s time to burn the whole thing down and start over from scratch.
One of my favorite things on the Internet is horrible stock photos (seriously, just Google “weirdest stock photos.”). Why would anyone ever need a picture of someone wearing space glasses holding an ear of corn? The Internet is a strange and mysterious place.
When you’re picking pictures for your church website, you can either use royalty-free stock photos or images that are of your congregation. There are benefits to both options, so it’s important to weigh your options and choose an option that fits your church website’s needs.
Blogging has become a legitimate profession. There are blogging conferences, blogging communities, and endless blogging platform options.
I follow bloggers who make $5,000+ from one Instagram picture. Some feature products on their blogs and receive compensation from big-name brands. Kind of sounds like a dream job, right? People send you free stuff, you say a few nice things about it online, and you get lots of money. That’s my dream, at least.
In a previous post, I touched on some helpful sites to find stock photos. I believe there are many great opportunities to use stock photos; however, one place where I’d rather see candid pictures is a church’s social media stream and website.