5 Ways to Increase Attendance Through your Church Website
Your website is your first impression and it can be a path to increase attendance to your church. It’s the place people go to discover who you are, where you are, what you offer, and if your website offers what they are looking for. For churches, the website is not only the first impression but it’s also a key component for information, updates, and marketing outreach. Turning website visitors into attendees or church members takes some finessing and a few marketing tips.
- User Experience—Keeping Site Navigation Simple
- SEO—Optimizing your Website
- Location—Being Found Online
- Forms—Staying in Touch
- Sampling Sermons—Live Stream and Podcast
Increase Attendance Through User Experiences (UX)—Make It Easy For Users to Navigate
Something every church should do is periodically update or test your website’s user experience (UX). How the user navigates around the website may seem intuitive but plan to give it extra time during website development and website updates to ensure the paths your users take make sense, are seamless, and get the users to their destination quickly. When thinking about what will increase engagement on your site and increase attendance to your church, consider the following ideas:
- A pop up asking if the visitor is new.If yes send them to a page for FAQs or a new visitors page
- Visual next steps such as a menu item or button or image guiding the visitor to visitor information
- Making every step easy with just one click. For example, would-be users having only one click to register their children at nursery, or one click to contact,and zero clicks to find the location because it’s on the homepage somewhere
Increase Attendance Through SEO—Optimizing Your Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a clear way to bring more traffic to your website and increase attendance to your church. Once you’ve updated your website, and updated and simplified the UX of the site, you can then update SEO settings to bring more organic (free) traffic to your website. SEO can be complicated but we laid out a few steps you can easily take to improve your site’s SEO.
- Google My Business and other business sites like Yahoo allow you to input your church as a business into their system so you show up in location searches. When new community members are looking for a church you want to show up in local searches for your area. The best way to be found and increase attendance is to be found in these searches – you can’t increase attendance if you can’t be found.
- Social Media—It can’t be emphasized enough the importance of being active on the social media platforms that match your congregation’s demographics and preferences. Creating groups, a page, and events that are shareable on social media increases your chances of being seen and talked about by the friends and family of people within your congregation who follow you. It also increases your SEO ranking when social media platforms recognize you as a reliable organization.
A game of social telephone spreads the news like wildfire. It’s essential to being seen today online in order to increase attendance. Be sure pages include links to your website, visual social media buttons and links front and center (top or clearly easy to find in the footer).
Increase Attendance Through Connection Points
Increasing attendance to your church through your website entails making a connection between you and the visitor. Website visitors are looking for information, and church attendees are looking for connection. Bridge the gap by being as accessible as you can to those who are on your site. Some ideas on how to create connection points on your website include:
- Have simple and straightforward forms available for visitors to contact you.
- Have simple forms for registering children to nursery.
- Have clear directions on where to get social media connections.
- Have leadership photos available so visitors can recognize people they will meet at the doors or throughout the service. This makes it easy to feel like you’re in a familiar setting when you’re brand new to visiting a church.
Increase Attendance Through Impact Points
Humans are visual, to leave an impact quickly takes a visual effect. The easiest way to leave a quick impact on a visitor to your website is a profound and engaging header image. You want your visitors to feel welcome and moved to act. Here’s some ideas to accomplish that:
- Get a photographer to capture the essence of your church and showcase what that is in a bold photo front and center.
- Use simple and engaging words that describe the essence of your church.
- Make sure children have a place. Families are often looking to get their children involved in church. Highlight programs you have and a way for them to sign up easily (see previous ideas above).
Increase Attendance Through Trying Out the Sermons
These days visitors, especially to churches, have a lot of opportunities, and they want to be able to get a sample of the messages and pastor’s work in advance. One way to increase attendance is to showcase the sermons. Sampling the sermons is an easy first step. It’s also an easy item to check off your to do list if you’re already recording or streaming sermons due to Covid. Be sure to make a place on your site to host the video and audio files so visitors can try out the messages and weekly members don’t miss out if they can’t make it due to illness or vacations.
Your website is your church’s central hub location for information, first impressions, and it serves as an interactive digital hospitality volunteer. It needs to be ready to be all of those things. We must guide and welcome visitors through our websites.We must take advantage of the possibilities technology offers us to be able to make this possible. A well-thought-out website with an effortless and attractive UX will make all the difference when new visitors find you, as you show them who you are and why checking out and attending your church will benefit them. Take some steps toward making your website a really great handshake.