Great church websites have two things in common. They look great and they are easily found. Today, pastors and church leaders are really strong at the visual appeal but know very little about the behind the scenes optimization that is required to be easily found by guests.
Where should church leaders spend their efforts regarding website appeal and ensuring that their church website is easily found? The answer is both are important. Most churches are elated when their website developer sends them their finished website. No finished website exists.
Being Found- Why It Matters
Thousands of families and singles are moving to your area each and every year. America has never been so transient. 40,000,000 Americans move on average each year. When most people contact Digital Rocket for a keyword search assessment they are shocked at how many people are searching for churches online in their area. Most pastors are not happy when we give them their low Google rankings. Imagine the impact of having an additional 10-15 families visiting your church each week or month.
Most church leaders do not think like guests or new people that have just moved to town. Many church leaders when testing their “church’s findability” or Google ranking they simply type in the name of their church. There must be 20-25 search terms that new people use but the four most common are these: Churches near me, Churches, Church & Church in (Fill in the Blank City).
Why does it matter?
- Tool- Google searches are the number one tool people use to find new churches.
- Ease- Finding a church should not be a headache or troublesome for first-time guests.
- Invitation- Your church should be the most inviting place in your city.
We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know
Church leaders can’t be satisfied to hear that their new church website is up and running online. I’m working with a national company that paid top dollar to have the latest and greatest website built. While their new site looks great very little of the necessary optimization was built into their website. This prevented their site from being found and ranked by Google. The expert web-developer had failed at building this website according to “SEO Code”. This website reminds me of reminds me of a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse without any tires. It looks GREAT but it isn’t going to perform as the owner desires.
Great Church Websites
Google sends web-crawlers to your church website often. These bots are trying their best to read your site for keywords so that they can index your site properly. Google wants to help you get your site ranked. If their Bots can’t crawl through your site with ease and discover what your content is actually saying they can’t help.
How do great church websites get found? There are two factors that affect Google rankings. First, you have “On-Page Factors” and secondly, you have “Off-Page Factors”. The way your church website is built impacts important SEO contributors like Keywords, Indexing, Crawlability, Schema Markup, Meta Description, Alt Tags, SERP’s, Geo Tags, Website Speed, Page Weight, First Byte, H1, 2 & 3 Tags, Image Size issues and much, much more. If you want a free website audit on your church website we can diagnose issues preventing your website from being ranked.
Make Your Church Website Great
- Foundational Optimization- Think back to my Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse example. The Bugatti is a beautiful car designed to be fast. This car is optimized so that its performance is exemplary. MOZ explains optimization as precisely as anyone, especially for on-page factors. The below chart illustrates much of their content.
- Phenomenal UX- UX is short for user experience. Websites that are simple to use, aesthetically appealing, mobile friendly and functional are sites that people want to come back to. Great church websites are never heavy on text, slow, cumbersome or difficult to use. Great UX examples.
- GoogleBot Accessible- Do GoogleBots like your site? You had better hope so because these little critters are your best allies in gaining ranking points. Google actually tells you how busy these bots are and how they work. Google says, “When crawlers find a webpage, our systems render the content of the page, just as a browser does. We take note of key signals — from keywords to website freshness — and we keep track of it all in the Search index. The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of web pages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size.”
- Social- Everyone knows that the internet is more social than ever. Google rewards church websites that are socially active. Many churches that Digital Rocket works with have great content but they have not worked hard at making their content shareable. Imagine our Bugatti with a flat tire. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other social platforms that your church uses should be on your church website. Church leaders need to frequently ask their church to share, share, share their content.
More Examples of Great Church Websites
Great Church Websites are not an accident. Read the rest of The Complete 2018 Church Website Guide before you begin to design your new digital front door.
Table of Contents
- Pioneering Churches And their Church Website Priority
- The Fastest Growing Churches And Their Simple Growth Secret
- These Amazing Churches Have Sensational Website Content
- Growing Churches: Their Headlines and Video Image
- 2 Things Every Great Church Website Shares
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