There’s one question that I simply cannot seem to escape. No matter where I go, I find the same enquiry cropping up: “how can I update my website without hiring a wed designer?”
And it’s not just online business owners that ask this question. Church committees, charities and even dental practices all want to understand how to make their website a huge success.
Church websites can feel out-dated and difficult to use. When it comes to my church, I helped re-vamp their website at the end of 2016. I was able to come up with 5 easy methods that any church can use to breathe energy back into their websites.
Why did I do that? Well, I wanted to help out and use my resources and expertise at church. I saw an opportunity and I took it – that is what ‘venturing’ is, at its core.
If you reading this blog post and you know your church website needs a bit of love and care – go ahead and give it some love! Be the change! Apply these principles and make a change that could result in an influx of visitors, and families like yours, through your church doors on a Sunday.
1. Use an Easy-Peasy Platform
In order to have a website, you need a platform. Don’t overwhelm yourself with web code or tricky-to-use platforms. A lot of companies have ready-made platforms out there. Use something like Squarespace or Weebly – simple, pimple sites that do the techy stuff for you! I’ve used both Squarespace and Weebly. My preference is for Weebly at the moment - I just like their user interface! Simply put, it is super easy to use and great for those that don’t have budgets to use bespoke platforms. If you are a church or dental practice I would highly recommend that you use something like Weebly to get your site off the ground before potentially investing in a tailored website, at a later date. Most church, charity and dental websites may never require anything more technical.
2. Share Images of People Wearing Jeans!
OK, this might sound nuts. But, most people do not know what to wear for church. Ever heard the term ‘Sunday best?” People in the UK often believe church is a place in which you need to dress in your very best outfit. In order to break stereotypes and make your church more inviting, simply display real-life images! If the congregation turns up with jeans, t-shirts, causal attire, make this obvious by including pictures on your website. I would suggest putting this image at the top of your homepage. Dentists: show pictures of people smiling that look like your customers. Recently, I visited a client in New Zealand and we began discussing the use of stock images. Stock images are professional photographs that you can download on a royalty-free basis. My client stated that stock images were not working for them. Why? Because, the people in stock images were typically American. They didn’t look like New Zealanders! In order to solve this problem, my client had to get some bespoke photography done. That way, they attracted their true customers. Doing your own photos is not as hard as it seems these days as most people know someone who can do it, or you could do some great photos with your smart phone as long as you’ve got good lighting.
3. Avoid Jargon
Jargon. Churches are great at jargon. Every kids group has a funky name, but visitors won’t have a clue what that means. Don’t give your kids group a fancy name. Make them clear, concise and inviting. Spell it out for people visiting your website. If you have a clever name, put age groups in the title too. You must make it really obvious that you have a kids group, when and how it runs. It’s a key reason people visit church - so don’t blind people with jargon. For our dentist website - it’s easy to use medical and scientific terms that confuse people. Your customer is most likely nervous enough, so don’t put them off with clever speak. Remember the golden rule - be clear, not clever!
4. Give Visitors a Plan
Remember – your website needs to be inviting for new visitors. You want people to come and check out your church. That is why you must tell them what will happen when they arrive. No matter how laid back your church is, people need a reason to come. They like to feel secure in the knowledge that they know what will happen once they arrive. Spell it out - give them timelines for your service. Let them know the plan. what will happen. Come along. How will they find you? What are the service times? Enjoy the service. Tell your web visitor what they can expect from the service. Find Family. What does life look like if they get connected into your church? For the dentist - you are most likely to attract nervous people who don’t know what will happen. Give them a plan - especially your first time visitors. How? Make an appointment. Get a free initial consultation. Decide what’s right for you Find your smile.
5. Call To Action
You want visitors to take action, right? What is it you want them to do? Make that clear and easy on your website. For a church, your call to action might be: “Come to the service.” You need to actually ask people to come to your church! Don’t make the text on your website all about how great YOU are, simply tell the reader you think they are great and you would love for them to come and meet you! If they are not ready to step out of their comfort zone and into church – give them what is known as an onramp. Maybe you could ask them to stay in touch, give them something for free to help them do this. Guide - why churchisn’t perfect but it is great. People need a reason to act! If you are a dentist, you might want your web visitor to book an appointment at your practice. How will they do this? Make it simple and easy to do that.
If you are reading this, knowing that your church or charity website could benefit a revamp… take action! These 5 tips are all you need to start attracting the right people to your church, charity or dental practice. Let me know in the comments below: did you find these steps helpful? How will you improve your website this week?
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