Whether yours is a small church or a major ministry, you realize it’s important to increase your ministry’s web presence. After all, research has shown that before people decide to get involved (either by donating or attending), they will first visit your website to learn more.
But how can ministries increase web presence? Here are 7 do’s and don’ts:
Capitalize on referral traffic—or website visitors who visit your website after viewing another site, like a media site. This is one of the best ways to grow a website. It’s hard to beat the power of other high-traffic websites that can send people to your ministry’s website.
1. Start a vlog (video blog). Set up a YouTube channel for your ministry. Grab your smartphone and a tripod and once or twice a week, record your ministry leader or executive giving a 3- to 5-minute video.
Stay on topic—whatever your ministry’s focus. For example, if your ministry provides humanitarian aid, then discuss updates regarding your work. If your ministry supports local church leaders, then share leadership tips and encouragement for those leaders.
Post the video to your YouTube channel. Be consistent and do it regularly. Post a short summary of each video on both your website and social media channels with a link back to the YouTube video (and conversely (and importantly!), make sure your YouTube channel links back to your website).
2. Sponsor social media posts. Consider paying to boost your social media posts—or at least your “unicorn” content—content that is truly unique, valuable and important. Perhaps your unicorn content is a video post that tells the story of a changed life as a result of your ministry’s work.
Use the sponsored posts to drive people back to your website.
Remember: a key factor in social media is to be consistent. Also, when someone “likes,” reacts to, comments on or shares your ministry’s posts, they will show up in other people’s news feeds—another way to generate more awareness and increase your ministry’s web presence.
3. Get media coverage. Leveraging the high-traffic power from a media outlet or major blog can do wonders for helping increase your ministry’s web presence.
First, determine what topics your ministry can speak to.
Then, determine which media outlets are appropriate for your ministry. Are local TV websites important? Or is a national outlet’s website a better fit for what your ministry can speak to? Perhaps a major blog is better.
Once you’ve identified a few online outlets, do some research and find out if they would accept a guest post from your ministry’s leader or if they would interview your leader on one of the topics you’ve chosen.
Write a succinct, simple pitch to the editor politely asking if they would consider an interview or guest contribution from your ministry’s leader. Importantly, make sure the interview or guest post you offer isn’t “all about you” but is about an important topic the outlet’s readers would care about. Be sure you could give readers key takeaways around what they can or should do regarding the topic.
4. Submit to online directories. Make certain your ministry is included in important nonprofit or church directories online. Don’t forget to include your website URL!
1. Take Google Analytics or Facebook Insights for granted. After all, how will you know if you’ve increased your ministry’s web presence if you don’t measure it?
Before you even start trying to grow your website traffic, install and set up Google Analytics. Even if you only can capture a few basic measurements, it’s better than nothing.
For example, your ministry will probably need to know:
how people find your website
what pages they visit most on your website
which pages have high bounce rates
whether your site has more traffic compared to last year or a previous period
Even if you collect no other data, this basic information can reveal whether your ministry’s investment in web presence has worked (or is working) or not.
Don’t forget to review Facebook Insights data, especially if your ministry runs ads. Are your Facebook page views increasing? Is engagement increasing? Are the reach of your ads (or conversions—whichever you set as a goal during ad creation) increasing?
2. Leave strategy out. One of the worst things your ministry can do regarding web presence is to not have a plan.
Sure, you want your ministry to have a web presence, but often, ministry leaders don’t first consider:
Who will maintain your website? Each of your social media profiles?
What kind of content will you post?
What do you want people to do after they’ve visited your Facebook page or website?
Who will create content?
How much time does that person realistically have to invest in growing your ministry’s web presence?
What tactics will your ministry use to promote your web presence?
Without a strategy, your ministry’s web presence is likely to suffer and fall behind in updates, content and marketing.
3. Expect overnight results. Increasing web presence takes lots of time, even years. The key is commitment and consistency.
Importantly, be realistic about what your ministry is able to produce, how often you can produce it and with what resources you have to produce it. Even if you can’t create content everyday or every week, be consistent.
Know that increasing your ministry’s web presence will take time, but if you remain committed, you will see results!