Today’s faith seekers seek first online. In fact, 85% of today’s church attendees first looked for the church they attend online. From the comfort of their home or office they are able to discretely seek answers to their pressing questions while gaining a sense of the community their interested in.
Many churches today struggle with their online presence. Some think it takes programming skills to provide an effective site where others think it costs a lot.
I have good news!
- Programming skills are no longer required
- Building, hosting and maintaining a site is ‘cheap’. Today there are a number of host solutions with free templates to use (some specifically geared for churches) making the process of getting a website up and running fast and at very affordable prices.
But what are people seeking when they go online? What do they expect of a site?
Today’s busy seekers are very discerning. In fact, they will determine the credibility of an organization (including churches) upon the availability and quality of the organizations online presence. It is no longer good enough to have something but the something you have must meet or exceed their expectations. To help you I gathered a list of ‘must haves.’
Here is a list of the Top-12 must haves an online seeker seeks:
- Can I learn about the church and its community through a number of online channels or only one? (i.e. facebook, twitter, website, blog, pinterest, instagram)
- Is their site contemporary? As I prefer using my smartphone for researching my options, is their site mobile-friendly?
- When is Worship?
- What Can I expect in worship, will I be welcomed?
- Can I participate or watch only? Can I receive communion, can I opt out of it?
- What about my children, can they come or is there childcare provided?
- How do I find the church? Address, directions, google maps? (Make this info. front and center as much as possible. Don’t make me search for it.)
- What do they believe in? Since I don’t know their jargon my hope is that it is simple and clear for me to understand.
- Can I donate online? I really don’t like people looking at me when I donate.
- Will they accept my kind of people?
- Can I listen to (watch even better) a sermon?
- Is there a blog I can read to get a feel for the pastor?
Given that 94% of people cite that poor web design is their primary reason for mistrusting or rejecting an organization, it is important to work through a use a web-hosting solution that supports being mobile friendly?
Since some of us may not know what that means I grabbed this image. Here is an image of a site being viewed on a handheld device. It is the same site but only one, as you can see, is mobile-friendly.
Today people require the sites they visit to be easily viewed and navigated from their handheld device. As this chart shows from ComScore mobile search has surpassed Desktop users and this happened back in 2014…
In today’s fast-pace often over-worked communities it is a matter of simple convenience and good pastoral care to provide information members and seekers need. Anything you can do to make their lives easier can only better your ministry.
If you find you could use some help in understanding your website hosting options and needs. Whether it is designing or improving I can give you a hand if you would like. As always, what I don’t know I’ll find out. What I know is yours for the taking.