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Continuing our Destinations Month conversation on how to make your church website a destination for both those who are already a part of your church as well as those in your community…
One very helpful piece of “destination content” is a community resource guide.
A resource guide is a list of organizations in your community that provide specific help or services for those in difficult situations. Some types of organizations you could include in your resource guide include:
- Abuse hotline
- Addiction support groups
- Adoption agencies
- Christian counselors
- Food pantries
- Health clinics
- Homeless shelters
- Prayer hotline
- Pregnancy centers
- Suicide hotline
When creating your resource guide, there are some things you can do to increase its value and really make it great “destination content.”
5 Tips for Creating Your Church Resource Guide
1) Vet your resources. Don’t just Google homeless shelters in your city and then add them all to your resource guide. Start with the resources your church already has a relationship with, organizations that you know first-hand have a good track record for helping people. Before you add a new resource, meet with the director, ask for references, talk with those references.
2) Include a phone number, address, hours of operation, and a link. Some people who use your resource guide will be in urgent need of help, so including a phone number, address and hours of operation will allow them to contact that resource immediately. Others will want to investigate a resource first, so including a link is helpful.
3) Regularly share your resource guide with your congregation. Make sure your congregation knows your church website has a resource guide by mentioning it several times in services, email, social media, etc. Ask for feedback. Perhaps there are other resources your members know about which you hadn’t thought about. Do this every 3-6 months so you make new people aware and keep the resource guide in your congregation’s consciousness.
4) Reach out to the organizations in your guide. A resource guide not only helps the people in your church, but it helps the resource organization by promoting them to your church and by linking to them (links improve search rankings). Email the resources in your guide. Ask if they would put a link to your guide on their website and share it on their social channels. Their links and social shares will help others to learn about your church and improve your church’s search rankings.
5) Look for Spirit-led synergies. Hopefully the resource guide will be just the first step in your church’s relationship with these community organizations. Perhaps you could have the director of the pregnancy center speak at your church, perhaps some in your church would want to volunteer there regularly, and perhaps the pregnancy center would direct women in need of spiritual help and Christian community to your church.
When we are lost in the woods, the sight of a signpost is a great matter. -C.S. Lewis
From a church SEO perspective, because a resource guide can be a great resource for your community, it has the potential to gain lots of links and social shares which can help your church search rankings.
- Do you have a resource guide on your church website? Why or why not?
- What other types of organizations could churches include in a resource guide?