A good website is an important tool in your publicity armoury. It’s an anonymous way for people to check you out and quickly communicates your vision, values and what you do. The look and feel communicate that as loudly as the words! Vision and values are caught as well as taught. So it is worth doing well.
That said websites are just one tool, so you need to spend time and money in proportion to impact. Most people who had just moved to the area came through our website – because when you move, most of us would type “Church townname” into Google and pick one!
Ask yourself these questions before you start?
What type of site?
Static – simple site that gives the who what, where and when and doesn’t need to be updated. Quick and cheap to do
Dynamic – larger site that needs updating regularly – but make sure you do. There is nothing worse than advertising last year’s Christmas event on the front page.
Who is it for?
New visitors, church plant members, Christians and/or not yet Christians – probably all four. So think about what you want to say and how!
How will visitors find it?
Once your site is built, you need to submit it to search engines – Google is the most important, the other important seach engines will follow. Your site will rank pretty lowly to start off with, but you want to be aiming to be on the first page of results for a search like “church townname”.
1) Pay for advertising with Google adwords – set up a campaign for the most likely keywords people will use to find you “church townname” and set a budget of at least £30 per month – each click to your site will probably be around 10p and the most expensive month for us was £3. The £30 per month budget is to ensure your ad is actually shown!
2) Optimise your site for search engines…
The basics are important.
i) Domain name – www.churchnametownname.com – having the word “church” and your town name help show the search engines those are keywords.
ii) Title tag – “church name town name – page name” again shows what is important to the search engines
iii) Good readable content that has the keywords in it with some friendly looking photos
iv) The most important stuff towards the top of the page
v) Link to other related sites and get them to link to you.
How to build a site
Look at church sites you like and get a quote – the designer is usually a link at the bottom.
Find a techie to do one for free.
Have a look at our Church plant website package – we have a church plant website template with simple admin interface, calendar, password protected members address list, small group admin, and sermon uploads. Try it here!
A word of warning
Websites and blogs are one tool – but can be very time consuming – watch the time and cost vs impact ratio! Mark Driscoll advises against church planters blogging on the Acts 29 blog!