4 Reasons Why Church Websites Don’t Attract Visitors

driving trafficIt 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.

Hi I'm Kyle! I'm the author of KyleLogue.com, a blog geared towards doing everything to make money blogging. I’m willing to share information with you that will help you to increase the traffic to your blog and that will help you make money blogging. My goal is to focus on the strategies and methods of creating a blog from scratch and to build the number of readers and subscribers you have from the very beginning.

14 Responses to “4 Reasons Why Church Websites Don’t Attract Visitors”

  1. As a pastor in a small town, one of my major hurdles for our church website is simply getting it seen by people in the community. I'm not targeting the whole world, I'm targeting the 3,000 people who live in or just outside of town. I do hope that our church website can become an entrance for visitors to our church. Maybe we just need to get the url out there a bit more.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Feb 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Chris, I took a quick look at your website. First you're doing great in search engines for "churches in Nokomis, IL" and "church in Nokomis, IL" That's huge, so way to go with that. Second, I noticed your church has a facebook group, but not a facebook page. A facebook page would be much better because when you post items (news, pictures, blog posts, scripture, questions) to the wall of a Facebook page, those items go into your "fans" news feed for them to see. Members of your church will see those things and be able to share them with their friends, which will help them to introduce their friends in the community to the church.

  2. It really wasn't too hard to rank well with the keyword for our town. After optimizing the site itself as much as possible, I asked myself what else I could do. Then, I realized Google probably thinks a lot about itself. So I asked church members to review the church via Google maps. Currently, there is only my review and one other church member's review, but this was enough to get us the extra push up the rankings.

    Yeah, I've been working on a Facebook page as well, mostly for the video benefit that was written about on this blog a few days ago. Our Facebook group has been great to get a message out to those in the group (it does post to their News feed, it looks like "Chris Huff > Grace Baptist Church of Nokomis Illinois" and it goes into the feed of each member of the group, as if it were a wall post on their wall). While this works in getting information out to the group, it's not conducive to sharing it with others.

    And the group has stayed pretty small. I think the only member of the group who isn't a member of the church is my mom. I really liked finding out a few days ago that when video on Facebook is shared (versus a video on Youtube), there's a way to like the page and build a fanbase. This would be a huge advantage.

    I've also been reading a lot about building community using the Facebook page, and directing back to the website when appropriate. I need to kick it into gear and finish the Welcome page.

  3. Paul, thank you for writing the article; it was full of insight. One concern that I have, is that our website can appear to be overwhelming, with the number of specialized pages we have, & a separate page for blogging. I just don't know if the balance is there; we want to bring additional traffic to our site, not discourage potential visitors (to our site, or our church), based on the enormity of our site.

    Bishop Michael Mitchell
    Senior Pastor, Shabach Church
    Portland, Oregon

    • Hi Michael,
      Im glad you enjoyed my article. Having a feature rich website doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. Sometimes providing better organization can make things so much easier. Take for instance the blog StevePavlina.com. This blog is full of tons of information, but instead of providing just a welcome message, steve also provides a "Where to Start" section that gives more instruction on how to access the blogs content. People like to know how to take advantage of your website even if they're not quite up to speed on how to click all the links and figure it out for themselves.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Feb 21, 2011 at 7:11 am

      Hi Michael, first of all it was Kyle who wrote the article. I want to be sure he gets credit for that. One way you can keep your website from being overwhelming to visitors is by grouping your menu items into sub-menus. Instead of having pages about your church, your history, your pastor, your statement of faith all in the main menu, put all of those pages into an "About [your church]" sub-menu. You can further simplify your site but grouping other pages into sub-menus as well.

  4. Lack of purpose is such a key thing I find.

    You could call it lack of vision. I was tasked by my pastor with managing the development of a website for our church – and right from the get go I told him I can do that but first you need to organise the purpose or vision for it and document it.

    Once that's done the rest pretty much falls into place. Now we've entered a different battle in that the person who's bene given teh task of ensuring it stays up to date wants to totally change the thing around (leaving aside that the pastor signed off on what is there). My answer – let's walk first before we try to run. O translated … let's make use of what we have before we start trying to change everything. Lack of purpose indeed!

    • Hi Stuart,
      Generally speaking, website owners like for their website to be pleasing to them instead of first being pleasing to others. Church staff members can get excited once they've been given the keys to the website and don't realize that a vision was already cast. Websites in themselves can be a tool for evangelism. Purpose is indeed key!

  5. Great post Kyle. Many churches would see a likely see a significant boost in traffic to their sites if they simply had an active blog. One key is changing the perception of the purpose of the ministry's website to engage rather than just inform people.

    I've talked with several pastors who see their website as a place to inform their current church members and aren't interested in doing anything beyond that online. I don't really understand that mindset. But I've run into it more than once.

  6. Thanks for the info. I have been at this several months and have redone it many times. Seems like the 90's way has joined the dinosaur. I am using Joomla now and its great for content. I can really get plugins and stuff I need to just work. The problems I have had is the site has only so much I can do with it. Not that someone else could do more. Its me. I am trying to make it easier for others to enjoy as well as learn. Seems what I am doing is paying off but sure takes a long time. Really I am seeking to do this one time, but here lately I am doing this and wanting to help others do the same also. Why should the Lord have to teach everyone how to do it again. So when I get done I will try to bundle the site and plugins so others can do it. most ministries do not have the time to sit down and learn all this code. I didnt know anything about Joomla 4 months ago but now I can fix the .php fills if needed. I think there should be a CMS built for churches. everyone of them need the same things. a place for the church stuff, missions, etc, then a place for news, sermons, listening, video, and then an app to download the stuff right to iphones and androids. then the site has to look right for ipad, kindle, android tablets, and everything else as I think I am the only one left on a computer. Then we have to think about the dialup people cause after all there is still people in the country that need the Gospel. If I figure all this out and am able to bundle it, it will be out of date by then but if it works then its not broke. Any Ideas from anyone else.

  7. Love the idea of being able to share content, about to suss out a way to add a facebook like button to our sermons

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  3. » 5 Reasons Why Church Websites Don’t Attract Visitors - Mar 22, 2011

    [...] Kyle Logue (of KyleLogue.com) wrote a little about some reasons why church websites don’t attract visitors or cause people who do visit the site to return.  He has some good insights that are important to church marketing.  A poor church website will result in poor results for your church marketing efforts.  I encourage you to take a minute to read Kyle’s article, “4 Reasons Why Church Websites Don’t Attract Visitors.” [...]