Building a church website can be a monumental task. You must consider the design, layout, content, SEO (search engine optimization) and its overall usability. That’s a lot to swallow for even the most experienced church communications team.
However, once you get the website launched, the work is over, right? Well, unfortunately for most churches, this is the common belief: that once a website is launched, there’s not much else to do. To run a successful website, however, this is completely incorrect.
Building and maintaining a great church website is about small improvements that can, over time, serve to make your website better. These improvements might not be noticeable to average users but can generate tremendous value over time if they are the right improvements.
Today, I’ll share with you three small improvements that you can make on your church website immediately to give your visitors a better experience. These improvements do not require an entire redesign or the need for a professional. Instead, they are small steps that anyone could take to make their church website better and more user-friendly.
Use Action Words in Your Menu
If you want people to click a link, inspire them to take action. Most church website menus are full of nouns: Media, Ministries, Staff, etc. While this may accurately describe the content, it does not call users to action.
Instead, use words like “View, Read, Plan” that tell the user what they will experience once they click on the link. Here’s a great example from Elevation Church on utilizing action words.
This may seem vain, but it is important that you Google your church from time to time. In your search, you will see where your church ranks in the search results but, more importantly, you will see how you are represented in the description. You will not only want that description to be accurate, you will want it to also be helpful. Let’s take a look at the results of a search of “Brentwood Baptist.”
Notice how you not only get the description, but you get the menu options as well. This allows people to not only find your church, but to also reach the content for which they are searching faster.
You can achieve similar results by utilizing Google’s Webmaster tools, which is easy to join and features many tools to better help you understand how Google views your website. If you want a quick overview of Google Webmaster, check out this tutorial from SiteGround.
Install a Heatmap
One of the first things we did when redesigning our church website was to install a heatmap (I suggest you use CrazyEgg). A heatmap essentially tells you what people are clicking on, how far they scroll down and how they came to your site.
Wait! Doesn’t Google Analytics do all that as well?
Yes. However, it does not offer the results in a visual format that allows you to see your website data. Here’s an example of a heatmap on a webpage:
As you can see, the menu is the most clicked portion of the website. For a visual person, presenting data in this format is ideal. You can also see how far down people scroll on your site and then adjust your content placement accordingly.
Notice how the colors move from red to orange and then yellow. This shows that the prime real estate on your site is at the very top and that most of your visitors are not scrolling to the bottom. This is the type of information that helps our team determine the length of content (short and to the point) and where ads should be placed.
You can also utilize the heat map to determine where your visitors originate and from there, where they go on your website.
With this information, we can better determine what most visitors, who find us from Google, are looking for versus visitors from social media.
Improving your church website does not have to be a giant task. Instead, you can take small steps to slowly improve you site and offer your visitors a better experience gradually over time.
What steps have you taken to improve your church’s website? Click here to share below.