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How to Improve Your Ministry’s Online Presence: A Checklist

Jill Van Nostran Digital Strategy 1 Comment

It’s a new year, which is usually a good time to audit your digital presence. If you want to be more effective in getting found, here’s a quick checklist for how to improve your ministry’s online presence:

Remove clutter and confusion on the home page. Give one very clear call to action that requires visitors to take an action on your site (i.e. Sign up, Join us, Help us, etc).

Make sure the content throughout your site—especially on your home page—includes relevant keyword phrases that people might search online for (i.e. Christian church in Punxutawney, a nonprofit that stages rescues from human trafficking and sex slavery, a human rights organization that rescues victims of violence, aid for families fleeing war in Syria, online bible studies for busy women, etc).

Make the navigation clear—you want both people and search engine robots (like Bing and Google) to quickly discern how your site is organized and what they can find there.

Ensure your site is mobile friendly. Here’s a quick mobile-friendly test.

Have images on your site? Optimize them for image search on Google. Make sure you give each image an Alt Tag—or a brief keyword phrase indicating what the image is about (i.e. senior pastor Jason Smith encouraging teens at the Super Fun Teen Event).

Also, be sure to compress your images before loading them to your site. Big images slow websites down.

Make sure your website loads super fast. Here’s a quick page speed test.

Clean up any broken links. You can check for any 404 errors by using Screaming Frog or W3C Link Checker.

Go through and check each of your page titles. Make sure each title is clear, descriptive, includes a keyword phrase and is shorter than 70 characters.

Go through and also check meta descriptions for each page. Are they missing? Add them and make sure they include the keyword phrase, and they’re descriptive (make people want to click when the page title and meta description shows up in their Google search!). Also make sure they are shorter than 155 characters.

Do each of your pages include a heading tag? Each of your pages should. Here’s a brief overview from Yoast for how heading tags are used and how you should implement them on your website.

Is your website host backing up your site daily? If not, they should be. If someone were to hack your site, or if your site were to go down for some reason, you want to be absolutely certain you can recover it—or at least revert to a previous version. Double check this.

Check your robots.txt file. Learn what a robots.txt file is and how you can control it.

Update all plugins. Outdated plugins can be a backdoor for hackers to get into your website.

Clean up comments. If you allow comments on your content, make sure to respond to any you haven’t yet responded to or delete inappropriate comments.

Review your analytics for the previous year. If you have Google Analytics installed (my recommendation), it’s easy to do. Change your date range to cover the previous 365 days and check the following:

    How is your website acquiring visitors?
    What are the search terms visitors use to find your website?
    What are the demographics (age, gender, location) of those visitors?
    What devices are they using to view your site (desktop, mobile, operating system)?
    What are the top landing pages on your site?
    Are visitors converting (or taking a desired action) on your calls to action (i.e. Sign up, Join us, Help us, etc) and on key landing pages?
    Are visitors bouncing away from key pages?
    What are your top campaigns for bringing in visitors to your website?
    Which marketing channels do you need to optimize in the coming year?
If you haven’t already, set up Search Console and take necessary steps to make sure Google indexes your ministry’s website.

Import custom dashboards in Google Analytics to gain new insights on your ministry’s website traffic.

Review the analytics for your mobile app and ask the same questions.

If you have a live-streaming site, review those analytics as well.

Review your social media analytics as well—all channels.

Pull all data together in one file so it’s easily accessible and easily sharable. Google Data Studio makes this simple to do.

Take this information and determine: What metrics does your ministry need to know going forward, what marketing channels does your ministry need to optimize (or maybe drop all together), how can you improve the performance for key pages of your website?

Digital Content
Review each social media property: Update cover and profile images if needed, update “About Us” sections with new messaging and services, check that links are working properly. Make sure calls to action are included and effective.

Make sure you’re sharing a steady stream of content across each channel—and participating in conversation across each channel if it’s appropriate.

Consider “influencer marketing” as a way to increase awareness about your ministry nonprofit. If you’re asking: What is influencer marketing?, read a bit more about it. You don’t need to hire celebrities—engage people who are on board with your mission and will effectively champion it to their friends on social media.

Review tools you’re currently using—or need to use—to help with your digital content efforts. Here are a few free digital tools for your ministry nonprofit to consider.

Need to amp up your digital content efforts? Consider new platforms that will be effective in reaching your ministry’s audience.

Need new digital marketing ideas to improve your ministry nonprofit’s online presence? Consider these.

We’re listening!
Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #GetFoundGiveHope

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  1. Pingback: 11 Quick Tips about Church Digital Strategy | MissionFound

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