Seven ABOMINATIONS you should never get caught doing
Thou shalt not give thy volunteer total control of thy site.
You already saw this story. You may already know that volunteers come and go. Who is the administrator of your website? In whose name is the website registered? Hmm...
What happens when the young volunteer leaves on not so good terms? Or, what happens when he or she has the password to the website, and is unwilling to share it? If you think that is bad, consider this. A popular church had their website domain name sold to a porn site by a disgruntled parishioner. The online viewers were in for a rude surprise that Sunday, when they tuned in for the live streaming of their favorite church.
2. Remember thy search engines, to keep them happy.
Great News! Bill and Melinda Gates just moved into your church’s neighborhood. They are looking for a new church home. Bill turns to Google to look for local churches in your neighborhood.
Uuh… Unfortunately your church shows up on page five! What would be even worse, is if your website never shows up! Much too often this happens.
It is no secret that people use Google to shop for churches. So, if your church website is not optimized, it may end up being ‘invisible’ to that person seeking a church.
Imagine this. As many as nine out of ten prospective guests will get their first impression of your church based on what they see when they go to the church website. That’s huge! It may be the most overlooked outreach tool we have.
The church that minimizes the value of its website, is the church that minimizes its opportunities to reach people.
3. Remember thy website, to keep it fresh.
The website is dated in both design and content. You are communicating an uncaring attitude and a sloppy approach to ministry.
Not only do search engines love frequently updated sites,
but a fresh website also:
incites visitors to check back often for new content.
allows you to feature announcements, or special events.
Of course, the above are just a few reasons to keep your site updated…
but there are also negative effects of a stale website.
For instance, if visitors see outdated announcements or content, they may assume that:
nothing new is happening.
you don’t really care.
your church is probably outdated too.
This could lead them to go searching elsewhere.
4. Thou shalt not forget the mobile phone.
When browsing the internet on a mobile phone, have you ever been forced to scroll from side-to-side to read a copy of a website? Or have you had to pinch-to-zoom because the words or buttons on a page were way too small? These are all examples of websites that aren't optimized for mobile.
Google announced a major mobile algorithm update in the summer of 2015
that penalizes websites that aren't mobile-friendly.
A big part of why Google continues to make these changes is to improve the web browsing experience for mobile users. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you'll likely lose out significantly in the organic search rankings. Can you really afford to miss out on all that traffic and all those potential parishioners?
Check this out:
More than half of consumer interaction with brands happens through mobile devices.
The big names in the tech industry are looking into the mobile industry as the future, as this Google announcement shows. The conclusion is that a mobile website is absolutely a necessity for creating a fully functional online presence.
5. Thou shalt not forget social media.Social media helps increase trust in your church
Seeing that you are active on social media helps to fill potential customers with trust, it signals that you care about your customers.
Social media is a great way of promoting your content
Social media when used in conjunction with high quality content creates a highly effective way to attract new people to your church.
Social media will drive traffic to your website
Being active on social media will help you increase the amount of traffic that your website receives. People expect your company to have Facebook and Twitter profiles because it’s a way they can contact you and find reliable information. You look legitimate, and the more people hear about your church, the more credibility you will gain.
6. Thou shalt have no multimedia content that autoplays.
Shhhh ... I wasn't supposed to be on this site at work!
Imagine this scenario. Someone is enjoying what they think is a silent browsing session. Suddenly they're bombarded with your theme song. Then comes a talking head on a video for which they didn't press the ‘play’ button. Frantically, they are trying to find the ‘stop’ button. What do you think they are going to do?
Some might fumble for their mute button ... but maybe it is easier for them to locate the back button in my browser than my computer's volume controls. Although Facebook and Twitter now autoplay videos in our feeds, it is good to note that they are always on mute unless users choose to unmute them.
Extend the same courtesy to your visitors by not forcing your multimedia content on them. Either let them choose when to play it, or at the very least have it start with the sound off.
7. Thou shalt not use facebook as your main tool.
One beautiful morning, you pour yourself a cup of coffee and fire up your laptop. What you see next is shocking!
Upon logging into Facebook to post articles to your ministry page, you are greeted with a message that reads: “We removed content that you posted. You would be blocked from posting for the next 24 hours and possibly have your account permanently disabled,” Facebook warned.
Just a quick reminder:
Your website belongs to you. Facebook does NOT belong to you.
On your website, you are free to post and say anything you wish to say to your viewers. However, Facebook will monitor, remove and delete any content it deems not appropriate for its audience. It is always advisable to use your website as central place from which all subscribers receive information.
Use social media to point your followers to your website.
Your social media page can be deleted at anytime, and so will your followers. Instead, build a subscription list on your website. Collect email addresses on your website so that you can connect with your audience when there are special events or news. People tend to keep email addresses longer and it is a more reliable form of communication.