church website

Maximizing Church Website EngagementLast Updated: November 12th, 2020

Is your church looking to increase engagement on its website?  Even though your church might have a great looking website, if it’s not leading to meaningful user actions and meeting your church’s online goals then it’s not performing as well as it should be.  Google rewards sites with high engagement by giving them a boost in search rankings.  Additionally, the higher the engagement is on your church’s site, the more likely you’ll see an increase of new in-person visits to your church.  In an effort to help churches increase their engagement online, Missional Marketing has recently rolled out a new service known as the Web Engagement Maximizer.  In this blog, we’ll break down everything you need to know about engagement for your church’s site and how to improve it.

What is Web Engagement?

Many people assume that if you have a beautiful looking website, your site will naturally perform well.  Unfortunately, this is far from reality.  Web engagement goes well beyond having a visually appealing website and looks at how users actually interact with your site.  A good way to think about web engagement is by looking at your website as a whole.  When a user arrives on your church’s website, you want them to take specific actions like spending time reading the content, watching a welcome video, or clicking a call to action button. 

When a user is engaged with your site, they’ll take more actions that you find valuable.  In turn, this leads to an increase of online conversions, or pre-defined goals you’ve set for users to complete, on your church’s website like clicking “Plan A Visit” or “Get Directions”.  Generally, when you have higher web engagement, you’ll also see an increase in in-person visits to your church.

Why is Having High Engagement Important?

It’s important to have high levels of engagement on your church’s website for several reasons.  If you’re spending money on driving high-quality traffic to your website with a Google Ad Campaign or SEO but aren’t seeing results, your site isn’t doing a good job keeping users active and interested.  As a result, the quality traffic you’re investing in essentially goes to waste since users will exit your site without taking meaningful actions like planning a visit, requesting prayer, or asking for directions.  

Web engagement also impacts search rankings.  If your site has strong web engagement, Google will reward your site by giving it a slight boost in search results.  In contrast, if your site does not have good web engagement, it will be less likely to perform well in organic search results.  Google recently announced that they are rolling out a new algorithm update in 2021 which will make web engagement even more important by focusing on-page experience.  You can read all about the new algorithm update here.

How Do I Know If My Church’s Website Has Poor Engagement?

Several metrics will indicate that your website isn’t performing very well when it comes to engagement.  One of the best tools to investigate your site’s engagement is Google Analytics.  

A major indicator of poor engagement is having a low average user session duration on your site.  This means that a site visitor isn’t spending a lot of time on your website.  On a similar note, if the average pages a user views per session is low, this could also be a sign that your site needs to improve its engagement.  The biggest indicator of poor engagement is seeing very low conversions on your site.  This means that users aren’t taking the specific actions that you want them to take on your website.  For example, they might be spending time on your website but are mindlessly scrolling versus actually clicking around and interacting with your content, buttons, and forms.

What Contributes to Poor Web Engagement?

Rather than there being a single reason why a user may or may not engage well with your site, there’s usually a number of individual factors that when combined together, impact a user’s engagement level.  For example, if your church’s website isn’t the easiest to navigate, while frustrating, it probably won’t be the single dealbreaker that causes a user to exit your site without taking action.  However, if your site also loads slowly and doesn’t have strong calls to action, all of these factors together would lead to a very negative user experience and low web engagement.  

Some examples of factors that contribute to poor web engagement include slow site speed, weak calls to action, placement of buttons, photos or other content, not having a mobile-optimized site, low-quality content and graphics, difficult navigation, etc.  A great way to look at how users are engaging with your website is through behavior tracking software and heat mapping where you can actually see what elements of your site are working versus what isn’t.

How Can The Web Engagement Maximizer Help My Church?

The Web Engagement Maximizer is a powerful way to boost engagement by improving the overall effectiveness of a church’s website.  Through strategically optimizing your site for SEO and user engagement, as well as looking at web analytics, the Web Engagement Maximizer will help your church reach more new people and increase the likelihood of them making a conversion like planning a visit.

The Web Engagement Maximizer focuses on four key steps which include:

  • Research – We’ll conduct a thorough audit of your church’s website to get a good understanding of its current standing.  During this phase, we’ll install Search Console, Google Analytics, and user behavior tracking software to your site so that we can track our efforts.  
  • Planning – After auditing your site, we’ll move on to planning the specific changes we will make to your site.  Our planning includes recommendations on improving your site’s content, ways to make your site better optimized for search engines, and outlining specific goals for your site.
  • Implementation – During implementation, we’ll put our plan into action on your site and make our recommended changes.  This might include optimizing the site for SEO, adding SEO content, setting up goal tracking, and improving your Google Analytics account. 
  • Optimization – Once we’ve implemented all of our strategies, we’ll continue to look at what works versus what doesn’t work on your website.  We’ll refine your website over time by conducting A/B testing and looking at heatmaps of user activity on your site.  You’ll also receive a monthly report of the results, 

What Types of Plans Are Available?

Depending on the current state of your site and the engagement goals your church is looking to achieve, Missional Marketing offers 3 different plans for the Web Engagement Maximizer.  For most churches, we recommend choosing the Standard plan to start.  However, if you’re looking to see more aggressive growth goals, we suggest investing in the Premium plan for maximum engagement.  Regardless of your budget, there is a plan that will work for your church.

Start Boosting Your Web Engagement

Are you curious about the impact the Web Engagement Maximizer could make for your church’s website?  Book an appointment below for a time that works for you or give us a call now at 480-420-2007 to speak with a member of our team.  We’ll listen to your church’s needs and goals to help you choose the plan that’s right for your church.   We’re excited to partner with you! 

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