How to Get More Visitors to Your Church Website
What’s better than having a great website for your church? Having visitors to that great website! Without visitors, you’re just wasting time writing for yourself. Here’s how to get more visitors to your church website.
The most important reason to have a site is so people searching for information about your church can find it. Many of those visitors will find your site by doing a Google search. Good church SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will help make your site more discoverable in searches.
However, SEO is not enough. SEO will reach visitors searching for your church, but what about people already in the church? Or people who don’t think to do a Google search for your website? To reach these visitors, you need to let them know your site exists. You need to publicize your church website. Here’s how:
Step 1: A Memorable Domain Name
Before you start publicizing your church website, you need to have a domain name that people can remember. In case you don’t know, the domain name is the website address in the address bar of the web browser. For example, you’re currently reading this on goodchurchwebsite.com.
If you have a website, you have a domain name. Of course, some domain names are better than others. Ideally, your domain name is your church name and city. Domain names for churches generally end in .org, but they can be .com, .net, or something else.
You might have a domain names on another site, such as firstbaptistdubuque.weebly.com, or www.lutheransonline.com/firstenglishdubuque. Those names are a lot harder to remember than firstbaptistdubuque.org or firstenglishdubuque.org.
Shorter is better, but something like ascensionmadison.org is more memorable than ascmad.org. Having a simple, memorable domain name will help you get visitors. Domain names cost about $10 a year.
If you don’t have one, go here to quickly get a domain name.
12 Places to Publicize Your Church Website
Once you have a memorable domain, you need to get it out in front of potential visitors. Here are 12 places to mention your website:
If you have a bulletin or worship folder for your church services, add your domain name to the front cover, the header, or at the end. For bonus points, try asking a question or having a poll at the end of the bulletin with a link to a website page for submitting answers.
A good rule of thumb: Anywhere the church phone number is listed, the website address should be. Adding the website to the church’s standard letterhead makes it easy to remember.
3. Announcement Sheet
Hopefully, worship attendees are taking home the church announcement sheet and posting it on their refrigerator. Even better, perhaps they’re taking the announcement sheet home and entering dates into their Google calendar. If so, make sure whatever they’re taking home has the website address on it.
4. Church Newsletter Cover
Instead of sending out a dedicated mailer to remind members about the website, add a blurb to the cover of your church newsletter. Perhaps something like: “Remember to visit our website at AscensionFDL.org for the most up to date information.” Right under the return address label is a great place for a text blurb.
5. Email Address
Once you have your own domain name for your website, it’s easy to set up your email to be at the same domain. Having an address like firstname.lastname@example.org is much more professional and memorable than email@example.com. This way, anyone who sees your email address is automatically reminded of the church’s website address.
To get started using your domain for email, check out Google Apps for Nonprofits.
6. Email Signature
Along the same lines, make sure you include your website address in your email signature line. That way, everyone you email will be reminded yet again of the site when they finish reading your emails.
7. Church Sign
Don’t discount that traditional form of church advertising: curb appeal. For someone driving by who’s curious about a church, coming inside to visit is a huge step, but checking out a website is easy. Putting your website address on the church sign lets people in your neighborhood find out about the church, without forcing them to commit to coming inside.
8. Phone Book
Yes, even in 2014 people still use the phone book to find a church. Having a display ad in the telephone directory is especially important for connecting with visitors to your area, or for people looking for a church to attend for a holiday. Remember, anywhere with your church’s phone number should also have the website listed.
9. Membership Directory
Of course, make sure you don’t miss the telephone directory you directly control: The membership directory. Whether you have address and phone listings or a full-blown photo directory, make sure the web address is prominent and easy to find.
10. Voicemail Message
If you’re following my advice, then anyone who calls you should already know about your website, right? Still, it’s really important to mention your address on your church’s voicemail greeting. If someone calls and gets voicemail, they’re obviously interested in the church. Since you couldn’t greet them on the phone, give them an easy next step to find out whatever they’re looking for.
11. In Worship
You probably don’t want to do this every week, but make sure to mention the church website in worship occasionally. Give people a reason to visit. For instance, if you just posted the mission trip pictures online, let people know!
12. Pre- or Post-Service Announcements
Lots of churches project announcement slides before or after the service. Throw in a slide about the church website. It’s welcoming to visitors, and reminds members that the site exists. Again, be sure to mention when there’s something new worth checking out.
Remember, if your site is poorly designed or has out of date information, you don’t want visitors yet! The only thing worse than having a site with no traffic is having a site that repulses people looking to potentially connect with your church.
Don’t publicize your site until it’s ready for visitors!
Finally, once you’ve made your website easily accessible to members and people looking for it offline, it’s time to make it easy to find in searches. Check out the Church SEO 101 Guide to get started.
What did I miss? Where else can you share your church website address?