Church websites today tend to share a lot in common with Kevin Costner’s classic 1989 movie, Field of Dreams. As the movie begins Kevin’s character is wandering through vast fields of corn when an ominous voice whispers, “If you build it, he will come,” one of the most famous lines from a movie ever. When building church websites today, leaders seem to hear this same phantom voice. The voice tells them that in order to connect with the technologically savvy today all you need to do is build a website, and then they will come. It may have eventually worked in Field of Dreams, but it will not work when it comes to your church website.
Google uses complex algorithms to determine the most effective and relevant places to send those searching the Internet. They will not send individuals to your site simply because it exists.
After helping hundreds of churches increase their overall online relevance, Missional Marketing has identified three factors that will actually increase your church website’s chances of connecting with people in your community. These three important factors are website speed, relevance, and content. If your church will take time to focus your website with these three factors, then you will increase your chances of connecting with those searching for faith online.
1. Church Website Speed
When it comes to church websites, speed matters. Google places increasing value on how quickly your website loads. Those sites that load faster will receive a higher rank in Google. The higher your website’s rank, the more likely Google will suggest your website first to those searching. You can find your website’s load time by checking out Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool. There are many ways to increase your website’s speed. For example, stay away from fancy graphics. Not only do they take longer to load, but they are also less important in creating an effective website. As an example, check out Apple’s sleek and simple site design. If you’re interested in more ways to speed up your website’s load time, click here and here.
2. Church Website Relevance
It probably wouldn’t be a great idea to open up a popsicle stand in Antarctica or to sell winter coats in the Sahara Desert. Effective businesses present relevant products to their local communities. But, everyday church websites push pages irrelevant to what people are actually searching for in their community. Not knowing what people are searching for in your city can hurt your church in two ways. First, you’ll receive fewer hits on your website and so experience less foot traffic into your church Sunday morning. Second, it can affect your church’s ministry effectiveness overall. Knowing what ministries people are searching for in your area can give insight into what ministries are needed where you live. Check out the following chart to see what ministries individuals are searching for across America.
Monthly Google Searches by Ministry In U.S.
|Jesus Christ||148870||Adventure Sports||245600||Special Needs||2060|
|Small Groups||9340||Grief||267300||Work Place/Careers||270010|
|Christian Singles||27010||Cancer||7810||Bible Study||76000|
|Young Adults||22180||Alcohol Recovery||391600||Daily Devotional||165480|
|Daycare||708200||Post Traumatic||941500||Food Pantry||148800|
|Youth Summer Activities||237100||Attention Deficit||841000||Thrift Store||1120000|
|Kindergarten||219900||Bipolar Disorder||1131500||Local Missions||75140|
|Preschool||244290||Obsessive Compulsive||1141500||Global Missions||3390|
|Students (Middle & High)||16160||Premarital||122460||Coffee Shop||511450|
The most effective church websites will make sure to create the most relevant information based on what people are actually searching for in their area. The more relevant your info, the higher Google will rate your website overall.
This tool scans your church homepage and reports on general SEO best practices in addition to how well your church homepage is optimized for a single keyword. Using this report can help you easily identify some of the most major SEO deficiencies that may be impacting your church homepage and the associated opportunities for improvement.
3. Church Website Content
Once you figure out what specific words (or keywords) people are searching for in your area, it’s important to write about them on your website. Use these specific words and phrases and use them often. Google likes webpages with clear and focused content. This means every single page on your website should be devoted to one or two topics at most. A church will often list all available ministries on one single page.
Instead, consider listing ministries on one page, but use a clickable link with a separate page devoted to each ministry. Along with this, start a blog for the church devoted to relevant keywords people are searching for in your community. The more Google sees your church writing relevant content devoted to popular keywords in your area, the higher they will rank your website. This means more clicks and ultimately more people attending your church on a Sunday morning. Find out what keywords your church website is currently optimized for with our Keyword Analyzer tool.
The Keyword Analyzer tool helps evaluate the content and SEO optimization of your church website. It crawls your website to detect the presence of commonly searched ministry related keywords in the H1/H2 Headings, Meta Descriptions, URLs, and text. It then gives a score from 0% to 100% for each selected keyword group. This information can help you identify opportunities to have your church's ministries found more often in Google searches.
Simply having a church website is not enough. People will not find your church online simply because it exists. An effective church website that Google will pass on to those searching in your area will be strong in three key area. These effective websites will focus on increasing website speed, website relevance, and develop their website content. If your church will work on these three key area you will be sure to increase website traffic to your church today.
At Missional Marketing, we know developing an effective online presence is a process. If you’re just beginning this process, we want to let you know that we’re here to help. We invite you to join the hundreds of other churches we’ve helped develop and effective online presence. You don’t have to walk this road alone.
Get Started with Church Google Search Console
Missional Marketing is a dedicated Christian communications firm working with Christian Churches and Organizations across the country, and we are also a Top 5% Certified Google Partner. So get in touch today, and we can get started on your Church website.
Contact Jason Hamrock or Kevin Peck, or use the Contact Us button.
Jason Hamrock – Phone: 480-773-9115 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Peck – Phone: 602-481-2991 | Email: email@example.com