Congratulations, you've spent the money, the time, and your church now has a fantastic new cutting edge church website. So now what? Does anybody even know it exists?
The great thing about the internet is that thanks to the folks at Yahoo, Google, and Bing, the internet is very searchable. Despite what the SEO (search engine optimization) fanatics will tell you, if you're using a proper church website tool like SteepleConnect
, you can rest assured that if you've got a website, people will find it with virtually zero additional effort on your part. So what does this mean? Well - for starters, it means that people looking for your church, or churches geographically near your church, or churches that offer the things your church offers, WILL find your church. And hey - that's great news! After all, one of the primary goals of any church website is to bring in new members and serve as passive marketing for your church.
... but that's just where it begins.
This isn't the 90s anymore, and church websites need to be more than just a static billboard in the air saying "look at me, look at me!" Church websites, like the ones offered by SteepleConnect
, are fully interactive portals for members of your church to share comments, post prayers, and lookup full directory information. But while the technology exists, and the capability is there, convincing your church's congregation to hop online and start participating can be a bit more of a struggle. Here are a few ideas on how to get the most our of your shiny new socially enabled church website:
1. Talk It Up!
You simply cannot expect people to start using things they've never heard of, and even then it takes more than a few reminders before they're willing to hop on board. Mention in verbally in church on sunday, every sunday if you can. Post it prominently in the weekly bulletin.
2. Host a "Signup Sunday"
Modern church websites have the ability for members to sign up for accounts and connect with your church so they can view members-only content like the online directory and view/post to the prayer wall. These are all great features (and are completely free from SteepleConnect
), but they only work if the members of your church actually have accounts and know how to log in. Try hosting a "signup sunday" where members are encouraged to sign up during coffee hour using several laptops made available by the church. Have somebody there to help people through the process. This will greatly increase awareness about the website, and will completely remove the hurdle of misunderstanding.
3. Integrate it into the things you already do.
Does your church pass around index cards for members to write down their directory information every year? This year, consider handing out index cards with a link to your church's online directory (free from SteepleConnect
), and simple instructions detailing how to update it. For those technophobes in your church, allow them to update their contact info the old fashioned way while encouraging those who are willing to do it online.
Does your church send out prayer requests in a series of mass emails? Consider posting the prayers on your church's online prayer wall (free from SteepleConnect
) instead, and encourage your members to subscribe to that. They'll continue to receive email notifications, but in a way that is far easier to manage. Additionally, your members will find that they too can submit prayers through the church website, as well as updates, and pray for people while they're there!
4. Get Feedback and Start an Online Discussion
On Sunday morning, put forth a question or comment and encourage members of your congregation to respond to it in a private forum you've set up on your church's website. Virtually extend "coffee hour" discussions into the rest of the week, and get valuable feedback regarding what people in your church are thinking.
These are just a few ideas, and we're sure there are plenty more. Give one or two a try, and let us know what works and what doesn't!