This isn’t a trends piece, but simply a “if you do nothing else in the new year, do this” post. From where I sit helping churches and nonprofits with their digital strategy, I know they are time-, budget- and resource-strapped in so many ways.
Of course there is host of “should do” actions that will improve their digital presence. But for organizations that are equipped to only do so much, this post is for them.
In 2017, if your church, nonprofit or Christian-owned business does nothing else, take these 5 digital actions to get found online:
1. Offer one very clear call to action on your website’s home page. People typically spend about 15 seconds or less on a website. Make it clear right when they land on your website what they will receive from you and what you want them to do. Give visitors ONE clear call to action.
2. Make URLs and page titles search-engine friendly. If you want your site to show up in search results, Google needs to be able to crawl, index and serve your site (here’s how the process works). There are many ways to positively impact this process for your website, but two things that will help include having clear URLs and page titles that describe what your pages are about. For example: https://yourchurch.org/event/783852 isn’t a very friendly URL. Neither is this page title (sometimes also referred to as a “title tag,” though they aren’t necessarily the same): “Our Church.” Neither of these are descriptive enough for Google–or for people. Instead, be descriptive. This is a better URL: https://yourchurch.org/womensconference and a better page title: Your Church Name Indianapolis Women’s Conference and title tag: Women’s Conference – Women’s Leadership Conference in Indianapolis | Your Church Name. Here is an excellent, short guide for using page titles (title tags): How to write meta title tags for SEO (with good and bad examples). (Writing good meta title tags is a pretty good idea too.)
3. Install Google Analytics on your website. It’s important to understand how your website acquires website visitors, the most-visited pages on your website, the pages where most people bounce from (or leave) your website and the pages that perform the best in getting people to take the actions you’re asking them to take (for example, sign up or donate or view a video or more). Here is how to get started with Google Analytics.
4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Google now rewards sites that perform well on mobile devices and penalizes sites that don’t. You can test your site’s mobile friendliness using this tool: Mobile-Friendly Test.
5. Use Facebook ads. It’s important to promote your site. You can promote your site via any number of ways, including these 10 Ways to Get Your Mission Found. But, with lack of time and resources, use Facebook ads. They work. You can get very specific about who your ads target and how much you spend. They are effective, and I recommend them. Hubspot offers a great guide, which I recommend: How to Create Facebook Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Facebook. (Don’t forget to create a Facebook pixel, which is important for tracking).
One last piece of advice–pleeease be sure you back up your website daily. Your web host should be on top of this already, but make absolutely certain they are. If your site were hacked or a line of code from your site went screwy, your entire site could go down. You want to be sure you can save it or at least revert back to a previous version.
There you have it. 5 “must-do” digital actions to get found in 2017. Of course there are many more things your organization could focus on, but if you are time-, budget- and resource-strapped, at least take these actions.