It’s not uncommon for church life to slow down during the summer months when regular programming hits pause and attendance drops while people are away. If staff are taking time off too, it might mean reduced meeting schedules and fewer emails and appointments to manage.
Even with less rush and juggle, the summer season in the church office need not be boring! Updating and organizing your church’s website can be a refreshing exercise of your creativity that also helps you engage with your inner Marie Kondo. Does your contact page spark joy? Could it?
To start, spend an afternoon or a day combing through your church’s entire website one page at a time. Take your time and jot down notes about old information that should be removed, typos, or broken links. It’s easier and more methodical to start fixing these small errors once you have a complete list to work from.
From there, try any or all of these five project ideas to make your church website shine!
Update Staff Profiles
- Did you know that the staff profile page is one of the pages new visitors are most likely to check out?
- Information about leadership and staff - their demographics, as well as their strengths, interests, values, and experience - speaks volumes about the personality of the church. These details are influential factors for potential visitors.
- For newcomers who have attended a few times, photos on the staff page can help put names to faces they regularly see on Sunday mornings, especially if you have a large staff.
- Make sure staff photos are refreshed every couple of years. Keep biographical information engaging and accurate, but short. If possible, have one person write all of the bios for consistency and flow.
- Depending on the size and structure of your church, you might want to consider adding profiles for deacons and key volunteers.
Add Some New Photos
- Swapping out old images for new ones is a great way to zhuzh up your church website.
- It is always better to use photos of your actual church space and community, instead of using stock photos. Perhaps a church volunteer who has a knack for photography can help you with this project. In some cases it might be worth hiring a professional, especially if you want to get some headshots of staff while you’re at it.
- Choose photos that communicate the right feel. Do the images convey a feeling of invitation, reverence, joy, excitement, or peace? Try and match the emotional tone of the images you use to the authentic expression of the body of Christ that your church represents.
- Does your church have ministries that are centred around food? Then include images of people eating together. Is there a vibrant children’s ministry? Show the kids learning and having a blast! Show teachers teaching. Show people in prayer. Show volunteers serving. Show what worship looks like. Show your community. Show how the building looks so that newcomers will recognize it when they arrive. Show guests what kinds of things they can expect to see to prepare them for attending in person.
- Last but not least, use high quality images, and ensure that you have the permission of the photographer and any people in the photograph to use their images.
- Simply put, Search Engine Optimization refers to things that you can do to give your website a higher ranking on internet searches without having to pay for results.
- SEO can seem complicated and mysterious, but there are some basic things anyone can do to improve their website’s ranking!
- Being a local church, you want local people to find you. For that reason, focus on “local SEO” practices such as optimizing your Google business profile, adding location pages to your website, gathering reviews on Google and social media and engaging with people who try to connect with you in these spaces.
- Decide on a list of keywords and use them. Keywords are words and phrases that people might type into an internet search that brings your website into the results. Keywords could be, “Vancouver Presbyterian church,” or, “Easter service,” “youth group,” or “churches near me,” (your Google Business profile helps with that one.) Even the name of your pastor can be a keyword if they are a well-known speaker, advocate, or author. There are so many keyword options, but if you know what kinds of searches will lead the right people to you, you can make sure these words are showing up regularly on your website so that the search engines know to send people your way!
- Understand that regularly adding new content helps - that’s why so many websites keep a blog. Make sure your content is high-quality and includes keywords (but avoid keyword stuffing which is penalized in search engine rankings.)
- Consider the ways links help. Backlinks are links to your website from outside sources such as online directories, forums, or guest contributors. Internal links–links that point to another page on the same website - help users find more content on your site, but they also help search engines understand your website structure.
- Check your website’s speed. It helps your Google ranking because quickly loading pages improves the experience for people visiting your website.
- Keeping search engines goals in mind when making decisions around SEO is a good guiding principle that can simplify your process. Google explains that their “ranking systems are designed to do just that: sort through hundreds of billions of webpages and other content in our search index to present the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second.”
Check Your Basics: Location, Office Hours, Contact Info and More
- Okay, so the church’s address probably hasn’t changed since the last time you updated the website, but the office hours might have!
- Make sure service times are prominent and accurate. This is a common piece of information that guests look for. If you have a change of location for an upcoming Sunday (like an offsite visit to a body of water for baptism) make sure to post it everywhere you can, well in advance.
- While you’re at it, this is a good time to check all of these details on your Google listing too. And, don’t forget your socials!
Feature Sermons or a Podcast
- The practice of sharing sermons via the church website continues to grow in popularity. There are so many good reasons for this, from allowing members of your congregation to see what they missed while they’re away; helping potential newcomers do their research; cataloguing your teachings for future reference; and more.
- If you already share your sermons online, consider expanding the possibilities of video and audio content. You could make a welcome video to share on your homepage, highlight a key ministry, or create a topical podcast that engages people in discussion and discipleship beyond Sunday’s message.
- Sunergo’s church website builder makes it easy to host your podcast episodes and share your RSS Feed with podcasting platforms like Spotify, iTunes, and Google. Sunergo websites also let you embed videos or livestreams right on your church website from YouTube, Facebook Live, and other services. Instead of searching for a link, your congregation can watch right from your website!
Bookmark this post for reference later so you can work your way through one or more projects this summer. Whether you already have a Sunergo website and need some guidance using features you’re not yet familiar with, or are interested in learning more about whether a Sunergo church website is right for you, our support team is here to help. Contact us!