These few blogs on building a better website are really just a synopsis of my thoughts as we've gone through the process. We released our website just over a month ago and are tweaking it along the way. To be honest, it hasn't produced like we had hoped it would. But, it certainly is not a flop either. Reminds of Proverbs 16:9.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
Marketing is great and planning is wise, but all of it must be done with a clear picture that like the farmer who prepares the soil and plants the seeds, even our best understanding and work depends on the Lord.
We've talked about how our better website must tell a story and that story is about:
- A hero. Them, not you.
- That has a problem.
- Then finds a mentor. This is our role as a service or church.
- Who introduces them to a plan.
On the website, this means a clear call to action. This is the ONE THING they need to do to respond to our website. For us, that one thing is "Start your Free Trial". Our goal is to get people interested and informed enough on the website to give us a little information so that they can give it a try. Then, once they are in the trial, we want to give them a pathway to meeting the software personally through email and in-the-app follow-up.
I see a lot of churches that do have a clear pathway for engagement, but often there are many calls to action because of all the different ministry offerings. Without a clear plan these different offerings can be confusing. In my experience the one thing most people want guests and new families to do is to come to some sort of new members class. Sometimes this is called something like "Discover First Church". If this is the primary next step, that needs to repeated and clear throughout the website. Virtually every page ought to be one click away from a new member registration form.
A variation on this might be something like having them register to receive information on "4 things the drive this church and what others are saying about it." Then have a simple name and email form, maybe phone if they want to receive a text response. Then, you set up a drip campaign for them to get a series of principles and testimonies that all lead them to discover more at the new members class.