As I mentioned in Friday’s blog article, Mark and I spent last Wednesday and Thursday in Daytona Beach as exhibitors at a conference for Lutheran pastors and teachers. We had a chance to talk with a lot of pastors, teachers, principals, and administrators about their websites. That’s something I really enjoy because it gives me a chance to hear first hand about the goals, challenges, thoughts, and frustrations they have for their church and school websites.
I thought I’d share with you some of my observations about church and school websites based on the dozens of conversations I had.
Additionally, I started to notice a pattern to many of these conversations as I tried to help pastors and teachers figure out the best next step for their church or school website. The end result was a simple 3 question flow chart which might help you figure out what’s next for your website.
By the way, do you know the difference between a Baptist conference and a Lutheran conference? Let me tell you…
1) Most Lutheran churches and schools have a website. The figure is somewhere around 75%, which is consistent with national averages.
2) Most Lutheran pastors and teachers are not happy with their website. Most of their websites either look old, look disorganized, are not up-to-date, or are frustrating to maintain.
3) Based on those first two observations, the question for most pastors and principals is not “Do we need a website?” but “How do we get our website to work better for us?”
4) Most pastors and teachers understand that a lot of people search for a church or school online.
5) Most pastors and teachers also understand that people do not go past the first or second page of the search results (because they don’t when they search), so it’s important to be on the first page of the search results.
6) Despite the two observations above, I don’t think I talked with a single person who was doing something to actively improve their website’s search engine rankings.
7) Many pastors and teachers don’t understand what people are searching for and therefore underestimate their need for search engine optimization (SEO). Several people told me their site was doing well in search engines and then proceeded to demonstrate that by googling the name of their church (e.g. “Faith Lutheran Dunedin, FL” or googling “Lutheran church in .” Yes, if there are only 2 Lutheran churches in your town, you will be first or second for that search. But the vast majority of people are not looking specifically for a Lutheran church or school. The real question is how your site is doing for “church in ” or “ schools”
One other observation… do you know the difference between a Baptist conference and a Lutheran conference?
At a Baptist conference, they remove all the alcohol from the hotel. At a Lutheran conference they not only have a reception with a cash bar but everyone gets a complimentary drink with their registration.
Just an observation. Please no flaming other denominations in your comments. 🙂
What’s the next step for my website?
One of my primary objectives when talking with people at the conference was to listen, try to understand their situation, and then recommend the website service or services that would best help them reach the goals they have for their website. That means asking the right questions.
After several hours of conversations, I noticed a pattern to the questions that were really helping people to hone in on what they needed for their website. The result was something of a flow chart which might help you decide the next step for your website.
1) Does your church or school have a website?
If no, a good place to start would be to build a free site with our NE1 Website Builder. Try it out for a week or two, and if you like it upgrade to the Ad-Free option and either the Domain, Bronze, or Silver hosting package depending on the price and features that meets your needs. With that you can have a nice looking website you can update yourself, with no ads, your own domain name, a calendar, an e-newsletter and more for $10-$30 a month and no set-up fee.
If yes, then continue…
2) How’s your church or school website working for you? Do you like it?
If no, consider having OurChurch.Com build a custom designed website for your church or school. Not only can we create a website that will look exactly the way you want it, but we’ll train you so you can quickly and easily add to it and update it any time you like. Request a free phone consultation where we can listen to your goals and describe to you a solution that will meet your goal and budget.
If yes, then continue…
3) Does your website show up on the first page in Google for “church in ”?
If no, then consider our Top Church Search Rankings service or Top School Search Rankings service where we guarantee you twenty top 10 search listings in the major search engines. Schools – if you’re not at full enrollment how much is each additional student worth to your bottom line? Churches – how much is soul of each person in your community worth?