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At OurChurch.Com, we are wrapping up Church Strategic Planning month. During the past month, we have been discussing what churches should be doing with their websites to finish strong in 2020 and plan for 2021.
At OurChurch.Com we start our annual strategic planning at the end of October/early November. This gives us time to evaluate if we are hitting our goals for the current year, brainstorm and research potential initiatives for the next year, and set projects and numeric goals for the next year (all before the end of the year).
Churches should also be doing this for the entire church, all communications and the website specifically. But what if you didn’t set any goals for the website for this current year? What if you don’t know how to evaluate a website?
Not a problem!
In fact, there is no better time than now to start that process.
Everyone I talk with says they can’t believe how quickly time passes. They can’t believe that it is the end of October already. So, when it comes to planning and putting initiatives in place, if you haven’t started already, that’s ok. In fact, next year at this time, you will be surprise about how quickly the year had passed but happy that you took the time to plan for the church website now.
But what should you be measuring when it comes to a church website? Here are…
3 Ways to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Church Website
1) Visitors to your website: How many visitors are coming to your website? If you want to take it a step further, you can also track how many unique visitors the website is getting each month and how many visitors the website is getting from the search engines. Tracking visitors from the search engines is a good way to see if new people looking for a church are able to find your church website.
We recommend using Google Analytics for this. It’s free and relatively easy to setup and use.
2) Visitors to specific pages on your website: Do you post your sermons online? If so, how many visitors are you getting to those pages each month? What other pages are being visited most often? Start diving into the traffic statistics for your website and it may surprise you. A few years back, we at OCC were very surprised when we learned that we were getting over 100,000 visitors a year to one blog post we had written and it was skewing our overall website traffic data.
3) Search Engine Rankings: What are your rankings for specific keywords in Google and the other search engines? Are you ranked in the top 10 for “church in [your city]”?
Evaluating numeric goals and traffic figures are wonderful but if you are trying to increase traffic and search rankings, what are you doing to reach those goals? That is when it is important to discover whether you need to set projects and initiatives that will help you reach those goals.
To start this process, below are
4 Sets of Church Website Evaluation Questions
1) Condition of the website: Does the church website look old and dated? Have we had the same overall design for more than 3 years? If so, what do we need to do to get a website redesign?
2) Directing people to the website: Are we directing our members to the website through announcements, information in our bulletin and newsletter, and email communication? If not, how can we start doing this?
3) Search engine optimization (SEO): Are we doing anything to improve our rankings in Google and other search engines? If not, what can/should we be doing to improve our Google search rankings?
4) Updates/Content: Are we updating the content to our website every week or at least every other week? If not, why not and how do we start doing this?
Once you consider the questions above, it is time to research and create projects and programs that will address any shortcomings. It will take some time to research the cost and time involved in specific projects, so assign the research and planning to specific staff or volunteers and give a deadline that the research and plans are completed within a couple of weeks, so you can determine which projects or initiatives you will take on in the next year.
After you determine which projects and initiatives you will take on for the next year, prioritize and schedule each project. Everything can’t be done all at the same time, so based on the research and time estimates for each project, space out your projects so they can be successfully completed. For example, if a project is estimated to take 40 hours to complete and the person in charge of working on it can dedicate 10 hours per week to the project, plan on it taking 4 weeks to complete.
I know this all may seem very time consuming and a bit complicated. However, if you take a step-by-step approach and break it all down into little bits, it becomes less daunting.
You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. – George Lucas
Comment and discuss…
- How are you going to evaluate your website and plan website-related initiatives for next year?
If you are interested in talking with one of our experts about church websites, complete the consultation request form below. We can help you evaluate whether a new church website design should be a priority for your church to help you better live out your mission in 2021 and beyond!