For most churches, their website is their most single important communication piece. However, without careful pruning and some research, it can quick become a maze for your visitors.
So how do you optimize your site for visitors? How do you make sure the most important things are clicked on and viewed? How do you make sure you give people what they are looking for? For me, I found doing the following three things on a church website helps make sure we are accomplishing what we want the website to do:
Establish a Clear Call to Action
Take a look at your menu. What words or phrase are you using for each section of the site? Are the words passive or do they encourage the visitor to take some sort of action? A great example of this is Elevation Church’s website in Charlotte, Nc.
See how the menu encourages the visitor to take action? With phrases like “Plan a Visit” and “Get Involved” you are telling the visitor what to do. By using these active phrases, you are doing the thinking for the visitor, thereby generating more clicks.
Give Your Visitors What They Want
It’s time you to a hard look at your website analytics. Hopefully, you already have a tool like Google Analytics installed to help you track your visitors. Look at your stats and find your top ten most visited pages. Now, ask yourself, how many clicks does it take to get to each of these pages? If it’s more than two clicks, you might want to think about moving these items further up your sitemap to make it easier for your visitors to find them.
This also is a good time to take a look at what people are not clicking on. Are there links that have been sitting on the front of your website that get very little traffic? You might want to eliminate that information from your site or fold it into another area. By removing this information from the front page of your website, you make choices easier for visitors.
Look Below the Fold
Pull up your church website and take inventory of everything that is “below the fold”. “Below the fold” is a newspaper term for everything that is on the bottom of the front page (conversely the “above of the fold” is where the pictures and headlines sit). In order to see these items (below the fold) on a newspaper you have to turn the newspaper over. The same thing goes for website information that you have to scroll down to see. Ask yourself, why is that information there? Is it really that important? Does anyone click on it? If the information is important, why is not above the fold where people can quickly access it? Move your information up accordingly.
Your church website is one of your visitors first impressions of who you are as a church. Taking the time to follow the above actions not only helps your visitors focus on what you want them to do and see, but it also helps you focus on what is most important to your church as well.
Question: How do you optimize your church website for your visitors? Please feel free to comment below.