#UKChurchChat Blog

Discussing faith on the internet - Social Media and Website advice for Churches. Faith stories, discussion and advice. Watch out for #ukchurchchat hour on Twitter - coming soon.

4 things to remember about the audience of your church website.

One aspect of your church website that needs to be considered is audience. Who is your site for? Well research shows a vast number of people will look at your website before they visit your church. It's your new front door! What about your existing church goers? Well they are a bit more forgiving. Let's look at this in a little more detail.

Regulars

Your regular churchgoes are most likely to know how to use your site, and will probably dive in to the menu system or click a link. Make sure the information they might be looking for is readily available. Oh yes, and if they feed back to you that something is missing or not up to date? It's ok to ask them to help edit your site!

New visitors

This group of people will get their first impression of your church from your site. The landing page (also called Home Page or Front Page) will be really important to these folks. Think about what images, words or messages you want to get across to them. Make sure the landing page is simple to read and attractive. Ask a few outsiders to check this page and ask them what the key informaton is that they might be looking for. Spend time on this. You will be amazed what vital (and annoying) information might be missing. Avoid jargon that is specific to church members - see below.

Christianese. Avoid this!

There is a whole set of words that we only use un church. Avoid adding content here that assumes people are already part of your church, especially on the landing page. You'd be amazed how many words you use that are technical, theological or just church specific. Even words like redeemed can be totally alien. If there are some really important words that mean something to your church, then there is an argument for exploring these more throoughly on your blog. You can always hyperlink words through to that part of your site. Another type of language to avoid is that which assumes people are already in the club. For example "Ask James for more information." Who is James? Unless you have a photo profile of your key staff, and you can hyperlink to that page you should avoid this kind of wording. You don't want to come across as a clique or club.

People expect accuracy.

Make sure that within the team who look after your website, someone has the job of checking for accuracy every once in a while. Times, dates, locations, frequency of events - this is all important. Check that your major events are all there and also that any changes to regular events are appearing as a newsflash or noticeboard.

One more thing - what about people who are totally brand new? Have you considered writing a page especially for them? Here is an example.

 

4 things to remember about your audience

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First impressions of your church

First impressions of your church

Where do people get their first impressions of your church? Well they might go and read a noticeboard which is standing outside, especially if you are a town centre church. Or they might have a church magazine posted through their door.

It's highly likely nowadays that the majority of people will get their first impressions of your church through your website. If you don't think you have any presence on the internet, try googling the name of your church because that's what people will do. Find out what they see. Don't forget many church organisations have a national directory such as 'A Church Near You.' You don't want those to be full of irrelevent out of date content either. Anyay, have a read of this infographic and please feel free to comment.

 

 

firstimpressions

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Five QR code ideas for your church

Five QR code ideas for your church

I was recently asked what those square code things are and whether they could be used by churches to encourage people to raise funds, for example. This blog contains a short introduction to QR codes along with some practical ideas that you could use in your church. Ask one of your Digital Superstars to help.

What is a QR code?

The term QR code means Quick Response code. Think of it as a 2D barcode that opens a link to a website. The concept it simple. If you have a web page that you want people to visit, then you can create a QR code that encodes a link to that page.

Here is an example. Try it out and see what happens. Not sure how? Keep reading.

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Is a digital presence for your church just a ‘nice to have’?

Is a digital presence for your church just a ‘nice to have’?

So, this was the tweet I ended up sending this morning:

 

This was a really unfortunate ‘start’ to a resumption of ‘adventures in church hunting’ in the new area that I’m in, having made excuses week after week. People forget how tiring it is looking for new churches – not being sure of exactly what it’s like, what kind of welcome you might get, how much pressure there’s going to be to ‘commit’, whether you’re going to find parking – and that’s if you’re already familiar with church. If you’re not familiar with church at all, then it’s even more terrifying, as who knows what is going on inside those buildings – sure it’s full of weird people, undertaking weird rituals!

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Find some 'Digital Superstars' for your church website

Find some 'Digital Superstars' for your church website

In my previous blog on ideas for church websites I mentioned the concept of Digital Superstars. I thought I'd flesh the idea out more in a more detailed blog post.

What are Digital Superstars?

These are people who find computer / internet skills simple and are happy to give a little voluntary time to help your church.

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