It is now the 2nd month of the new year and the trend towards communicating online has grown vastly. As we look back on 2010, evidence of transitioning online can be seen in the media with movies such as The Social Network and in the marketplace with new gadgets such as the Apple iPad. Social networking has even begun to revolutionize the way churches are reaching out to their congregations. Even religious leaders such as Pope Benedict XVI are making public statements endorsing sites such as Facebook as a preferred way to reach out and grab the attention of others.
What is your church doing to attract visitors?
Sadly, many churches don’t know how to use their website effectively. A great design mixed with audio and video is wonderful, but it lacks key elements that attract and promote your church’s website at no cost. Here are a few things that I’ve noticed that unsuccessful church websites are doing that are crippling their efforts to reach a new group of online visitors:
- Lack of interaction. Websites and blogs are meant to be a great source of information, but without being able to interact with your readers, you will never be able to learn about them. As it relates to marketing principles, it’s important to know the types of visitors your blog is attracting. Based on what you learn, you can improve your design, get new ideas for topics to write on directly from your visitors, and give your readers a chance to directly ask questions. What a great form of witnessing to others and fellowship all online!
- No easy way to share content. Technology can be complicated. With so many different ways to share the articles or sermons that your blog offers, you should always ask for and provide a way to share it with others. Sometimes a story can inadvertently go viral simply by posting a link to share the story on Twitter or Facebook. There are many plugins freely available for WordPress blogs and other CMS and blogging software that easily posts these links for you.
- Lack of good content. Lets face it… posting a transcript of a sermon might not be ideal. Don’t be afraid to let your blogs become more personal and less formal. Try to write as if you were speaking to a friend. Your article is the beginning to a conversation that you’re trying to start and grow amongst new visitors.
- Lack of purpose. With such resources available such as the book “The Purpose Driven Life,” it’s important to remember that we, as Christians, should have purpose in all things that we do. Posting information aimlessly online without planning out the goals that you want to achieve is not smart. If your purpose is to encourage non-church goers to attend your service, great! If your goal is to make money blogging as an additional source of income to support your ministries, go with it!
The world is moving more and more towards relying on the internet for their information. Keeping these key points in mind will help you increase the traffic to your blog and provide readers with a new source of social networking.