Americans are applying their buying and shopping habits to church. They’re researching your church online and deciding whether to engage based on what they see. So what is your church’s website doing to turn visitors into participants?
Three out of every 10 American adults search for information online about a church or place of worship, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.
A study by Comscore found that 70% of people research a business online before visiting in person. And in a survey by Google, 50% of people who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 18% of those searches resulted in a purchase.
In other words: people are church shopping. And that means a strong digital presence can increase your physical presence.
Most websites try to do too much. Join this group! Come to Sunday service! Send a meal! Go on a mission trip! Download the church app! Creating decision fatigue before a person can get a feel for what your church is about is a recipe to run them back to Netflix. Churches must captivate their audiences to compete with digital platforms that excel at diversion.
You’re probably trying to balance people’s requests to have their ministry or their event on the home page. But to create an inviting home page, be relentlessly focused. And try to avoid these three website mistakes.
According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group, websites with a clear focus and simple navigation are more effective at retaining visitors and converting them into customers.
The idea of audience first has been around since Aristotle. What is the main group of people you’re trying to attract to your church? Families with young children? Dads in their mid-30s? City dwellers in their 20s and 30s within 20 miles of your building?
They all want to know: is this place for my family, do they share my values, and what do I need to do to take the next step? The information you present and the stories you share should revolve around their answers.
What is it that you most want your target audience to do as a result of visiting your website? Attend a service? Download your church app? Choose one to be the main call to action (CTA) on your site, and make it visually prominent. If you want people to download your church app, mention a few of the most popular features, such as praying for others/sharing prayer requests, or getting help reading scripture.
You can also consider including a secondary CTA, which requires less of your visitors, such as watching a video or reading an article.
Humans have the attention spans of goldfish, which demands that your church website offer a clear, compelling story in 15 seconds or less. The best way to do this is through video. More than ever, people want videos—in fact, 80% of people prefer videos to text. Whether that’s a weekly sermon, a personal story, or an explainer on how to use your church app, videos get more clicks. According to the Pew Research Center, 21% of people watch religious focused videos.
In addition, use professional quality images of your people (not stock photos!) engaged in activities around your church. By showing the faces of your community, you’re giving visitors a sense of the culture and spirit of your church. Pair these images with brief copy to improve engagement.
Apollos helps churches navigate the digital landscape, letting you focus on what you do best. Please reach out to us if you’d like help shifting your digital presence to grow your church.