Finding the right church can be an exciting feeling. The right congregation doesn’t feel like a group of strangers, but a meeting of friends.
And with millions of people online on a daily basis, it’s easier than ever to reach a larger audience. But before the congregation grows, it’s important to build a great church website.
Here are some easy steps to help build a quick, responsive site.
Create A Sitemap For Your Church Website
Before creating a church website, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the direction it needs to take. Think of a sitemap like an outline for a paper or a recipe.
It’s what determines the overall structure and design of the website itself. And believe it or not, it isn’t too difficult to create.
Take a few moments and list every page the website is going to need. Then, flesh out the details of each page with a rough idea of what the content should be.
If this still sounds too abstract, practice with other sites before giving it a shot. Head to web development sites like Oonie and spend some time looking over their homepage.
Best of all, Google will actually help create a sitemap. Just follow their simple instructions and the site will be indexed in no time.
Design A Fantastic Homepage
Perhaps no page on a church website is as important as the homepage. But research indicates that some visitors never venture past it.
Accordingly, it’s important to make sure that all pertinent info is presented on the homepage. Think about what a visitor may want to learn when coming to the site.
They’re likely looking for information like hours, contact info, and service information. The homepage is going to serve as a visitor’s first impression of a church, so make it count.
You may even consider adding staff bios, a mission statement, and a calendar of upcoming services and events. That way, even if a visitor has never attended a service, they’ll have a good sense of what the church is about.
Make It User-Friendly
Of course, it isn’t just the homepage that needs to be tailored to the user. The entire site should be designed with the user in mind.
A site can have the best info in the world, but if it’s hard to navigate people won’t spend more than a minute or two on it.
Think about how people tend to use websites. People expect a clean layout, legible text, and a responsive design. Visitors to a church site are no different.
Pages need to load fast, with text loading before images, and users shouldn’t need to guess where to find info. Create a thorough but comprehensive menu system, and use submenus if necessary.
Browse the web to get a better idea of how site design plays a role in a user’s experience. Start paying closer attention to things like layout and menu design.
The sole mission of a church is to spread the gospel to all who are willing to listen. The more people you reach, the better your chances are of converting them into church members.
There are several ways churches choose to reach out to their audiences.
Using old-school methods, such as fliers is great, but nothing compares to digital marketing.
Times are changing and with it so should your methods for advertising your church. The web has proven to be a great medium for reaching churchgoers and other interested community members.
With a church website, you can advertise your location, detail your beliefs, and provide your service times to your intended audience. To be successful, you need to have a strategy to drive traffic to your site.
That’s where PPC marketing comes into play. Let’s review how it can help your church website.
What is Pay-Per-Click?
Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, is a form of online marketing. It consists of running ad campaigns that display on websites and within search engine page results. Surely, you’ve seen sponsored links at the top and bottom of Google searches.
Churches can use PPC to quickly gain visibility for their websites. The key is to develop a campaign with the right keywords and ad copy. This requires lots of research and a bit of split testing in order to find the best results.
With PPC, you’re paying for ads based on the keywords you’re using. The more competitive the keyword, the higher the rate. Then each time someone clicks on your ad, you pay.
If no one clicks on your ad the entire day, you pay nothing at all. If you can create highly-targeted ads, you can improve the chance of attracting qualified “leads.”
Generic ads may generate plenty of clicks, but if it’s from the wrong traffic, then you’re wasting marketing dollars.
What is Google AdWords?
Google Adwords is the PPC advertising system that’s most popularly used. It allows you to create the ads you display in the Google search engine and various other Google properties. For instance, your ads may show up on websites that have Adwords accounts set up.
You bid on the keywords you want to target, and if there’s not too much competition, your ad will show up at the top when users type in your key phrases. In a sense, you have to bid and then win your bid in order to show up for your selected keywords.
The way winners are chosen is based on the CPC bid (the highest the bidder is willing to spend) and the Quality Score, which revolves around your click-through rate, landing page quality, and relevance.
Importance of PPC Marketing
It’s important to have a campaign that’s well thought out and high-quality. You can achieve this more easily when you obtain PPC marketing services from professionals like this company.
Once you win, you can create ad budgets, so you don’t overspend. For instance, if you only want to spend $20 per day, your ads will stop showing in the search results once you reach your limit.
How often your ad pops up in the search results depends on your keywords and match types selected on your campaign. In order to create a successful campaign, you have to focus on the following:
All your keywords should be relevant to your campaign and the ad text.
Landing Page Quality
Optimize your landing pages with relevant keywords and clear calls-to-action.
Doing the above will improve your quality score, which improves your chances of winning bids.
Now that you understand what PPC and Adwords are, it’s time to see why your church website should use these marketing tools.
Let’s review the top benefits.
Get Your Church Website on the First Page of Search Engines
There are three major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. They all have PPC platforms. You can improve the visibility of your church website by creating campaigns on all search engines.
There’s no other form of advertisement that can get your church website to the top five results (as sponsored ads) on these major search engines.
Receive Immediate Traffic to Your Website
What attracts website owners to PPC marketing is how quickly it can increase your traffic. Unlike with SEO, which can take months to see results, PPC marketing can generate results almost instantly.
If you know your way around ad platforms, you can have your campaign up and running in less than an hour. This makes it perfect for advertising upcoming church events.
Generate Consistent Traffic
In order to convert more visitors into church members, you have to continuously draw in traffic to your site. This can also help if you’re hosting an online event or sale and need a lot of views quickly.
PPC marketing will provide a consistent flow of traffic to your website for as long as you have your ad campaigns going. Your ad spend will determine how much traffic flows into your church website. The higher your budget, the more traffic you will potentially earn.
Create Targeted Ads
It doesn’t really matter how many visitors your church website gets. If it’s a bunch of people from the wrong audience, then you’re not spending your marketing money wisely.
With PPC marketing, you can create ads that are highly targeted. This way, only folks who are really interested in what you offer will click on your ads. And this will also potentially boost your conversion rates.
The best way to create targeted ads is to focus your ad text and landing page on a very specific market. For instance, you could focus on young families who want to live a modern life that pleases God.
It may take some time to get the best results, so split testing different versions of ads and landing pages is key.
Test the Market in Advance
Does your church have a new idea for a product or service? Are you looking to change your focus on preaching the word in a more modern way?
Before doing a product launch or brand overhaul, you can test the market first. PPC ads will help determine how many people are actually interested in your new idea. If you see there are a lot, then you can consider taking the leap of faith.
Increase Your Reach
There are only so many people you can reach with local flyers. The internet makes reaching the masses easier than ever before.
If you’re a church looking to grow its membership, then PPC can work for you. And this goes for both online churches, as well as physical churches.
Your ads will show up in search engines, as well as on websites using Google Adwords, Bing Ads or Yahoo Ads. If you initiate ad retargeting, your ads will follow your website visitors throughout the web for a certain amount of time.
This can increase their chances of returning to your church website.
You Are in Complete Control
The tools and features included in PPC platforms are quite extensive. There are analytics and tracking tools, as well as geo-targeting and ad scheduling features.
All of this gives you more power over your campaigns. For instance, if your local church is looking for new members in four cities around your location, then you can create campaigns for each of those areas.
If you know your audience is normally online on specific days and at specific times, you can schedule your ads to display only during those times and days.
The ability to track your ad spend, conversions and traffic can help improve your campaigns substantially. In turn, you can potentially boost your conversions and lower your ad spend.
Search Engines Aren’t the Only Platforms
You definitely don’t want to overlook the benefits of placing your ads on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, you don’t want to limit your church website.
With that said, there are other platforms you can include in your PPC marketing campaigns. For instance, you can use Facebook ads, display advertising, and video advertising.
You have to reach out to the content owner to get advertising spots on their videos and websites. For instance, you can purchase banner ads on relevant websites. Plus, you can have YouTube publishers place your ads in their videos.
A solid strategy is key to making all the pieces of the PPC puzzle fit soundly together.
Christian Web Hosting for Your Website
Spreading the word is easy when you have access to the right tools and technology.
At Christian Web Host, we’re committed to helping church websites increase their visibility by offering them quality web hosting. We can also register your site with various domains, including .church, .com, .org and .net.
If you’re looking for a quality hosting service for your church website, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stop by our site today to learn more. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
If you’re thinking about tying the knot and want to keep true to your faith-based values, there are some tips you’ll want to know.
You can plan a Christian wedding that is still fun, festive, and memorable.
Consider the tips below to enjoy the wedding of your dreams.
#1: Find Pre-Marital Counseling From A Christian Wedding Counselor
Since many marriages today end in divorce, you’ll need to find a counselor that’ll get you and your soon-to-be spouse on the same page.
If your faith means a lot to you, take the time to search specifically for a Christian wedding counselor.
Many states require you to get pre-marital counseling prior to tying the knot. It doesn’t hurt to get some couple’s therapy whether your state requires it or not.
Once you have found a counselor that you both feel comfortable with, get some price estimates. You can expect to pay between $75 per hour and $150 per hour on professional counseling.
#2: Write Out Your Vows In Advance
In planning out the most luxurious wedding, many people lose the love in it all.
Rather than allowing that to happen, you need to form new bonds and connections. One way to appreciate and love them is to write out your vows well in advance.
These vows will affirm your love and give you the charge that you need to make it through a potentially stressful wedding planning process.
#3: Book The Venues Early And Shop Around
To make sure that your wedding becomes a reality, you’ll want to secure your venues as early as possible.
Doing this not only locks in competitive dates, which book a year in advance, but to also find the best price deals.
For your wedding, make sure to look around at different church websites. You’ll be able to not only check out the church decor but learn more about the pastor you want to officiate the wedding.
Booking early is incredibly important if you’re planning a destination wedding. For instance, booking a wedding in Hungary means nailing down the location and arranging for travel, so the sooner the better.
Staying on top of these details now reduces stress later.
#4: Stay In The Spirit
When you want to keep God first in your marriage, this begins with your walk of faith leading up to the wedding.
Start a prayer journal and stay on one accord as you grow into the idea of being husband and wife. This prayer will carry you through the process and renew your mind and spirit to come together as one.
#5: Plan The Honeymoon At The Same Time
Last, but not least — relax!
Your wedding is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, so make sure you don’t sweat the small stuff. One way to keep sight of the big picture is to plan out your honeymoon.
Find the hotels, sights and tourist attractions in the area and let that drive you as you undergo the process of planning your Christian wedding.
We’d love to get your thoughts. Leave a comment below!