This Easter, some people might want to visit your church for the first time in a long time.
This Holy Week, some out of town guests may want to visit your special services for holy week.
You don’t know who they are.
They don’t know where they want to go.
God has given these first time church visitors spiritual thirst that propels them to seek a church.
So what do they do?
They likely search the internet first to find a church website.
Will they find your church website?
If they do, will they quickly see your service schedule for Holy Week and Easter on your church website?
How Church Websites Failed Me
1. Looking for church in an unfamiliar city
I was in South Florida visiting family.
We wanted to attend a Christmas Eve service as a nearby church.
My parents had recently moved there so they were unfamiliar with any church to visit.
My sister and her husband lived in town, but they were not church goers.
We did two things:
- We asked a friend from another Florida city for a recommendation. When I asked him where that church was, he said use Google to find it.
- We went to Google and typed: “Presbyterian Church [insert city name here]”.
After all, I am an ordained Presbyterian Pastor, and every now and then would like to visit another church in my tribe.
The church my friend recommended did not appear in the first 10 entries.
I had to ask my wife what the name of the church was. .. .
Once I found the name, I only find the church website in Google if I got the right name in the search box.
Quick fix: This church doesn’t have it’s physical address on it’s home page of the church website.
That might help improve it’s appearance in Google for “Presbyterian Church [insert city name here]”
With just a few small fixes on their website they could rise to the top of Google quickly.
Question: does your church come up number 1 to 3 in Google for various keywords like your denomination and city?
Maybe even for “Holy Week Services Richmond” or “Easter Sunrise Service Panama City.”
2. Looking for the time of special services.
Because it was Christmas time, we were looking for service times for Christmas eve.
We searched several pages of the the church website and discovered
- It wasn’t on the home page.
- It wasn’t on the calendar.
- It wasn’t even in the on-line newsletter.
- I couldn’t even find their regular service times on Sunday.
Question: If you are having special services, can visitors discover it on your church website?
Hint: that information should be front and center in your home page.
3. We didn’t go.
Since we couldn’t find the answer to our question at the church website, we moved on with our search.
Ultimately, because of some other scheduling conflict that materialized about 3pm in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, we didn’t get to attend any church on Christmas Eve.
How your church website could help you at Christmas and Easter?
My experience at Christmas left me wondering.
- How can your church website help visitors find your church for special services?
- Are you planning special sunrise services this Easter?
- Are you planning special services for Holy Week, like Maundy Thursday, or Good Friday?
- Make sure that information is front and center on your website for the week or two leading up to that event.
You don’t know who God might lead to your church.
Perhaps someone hearing the Gospel for the first time.
Perhaps someone needing to come back to the Lord.
Perhaps a new visitor who is moving in from another town.
Let your church website help them find your church as God prompts their spiritual thirst this Holy Week and Easter.
Affordable Church Websites
Here is one solution to turn your clumsy embarrassing church website into a awesome front porch for your visitors to come and see you before coming to see you.
Sure, you could do it free, but has anyone fixed your church website site in 10 years?
Clover Website (affiliate link) is one solution.
I subscribe to a email list of church administrators and this one has been highly recommended in that list.
We just switched to Clover Church Websites Sites last month. Our Youth Pastor maintains it and loves it. They even have a live person that answers the phone if there are any questions!
We compared Clover to Bridge Elements which had a cheaper upfront cost, however the Clover Church Site was much easier to work with and edit. They are also going to be rolling out an on-line giving platform we may also switch to.
We use Clover Church Websites for the exact same reasons that you mention and absolutely love it. I have been responsible for many different websites over the years from designing them from scratch to taking over other people’s designs and Clover has made web site administration a joy again for me.
Very easy to use. I have several different staff who have no web experience updating various content. I mainly make sure that it stays within our graphic standards and make changes to structure when necessary.
Very good support from Clover. Extremely helpful and friendly and responsive. But I’ve had very little to call them about everything just works.
Definite limitations due to the fact that they’ve designed it for easy use by non-web designers but the benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh the limitations. We haven’t been backed into a corner by any of the limitations. Most have an easy work around.
The above information tells me what should be done. But I would like some suggestions on how to make the web site visitor friendly