Knowing where to start with church website marketing is half the battle. Once you decide where you need the most help and whether to hire someone to handle it for you or to do it yourself, you can implement some simple action items that will help you quickly improve your church website marketing.
Let’s get to it:
1) Make sure your website can be read by Google. Typically Squarespace and Wordpress are fairly well optimized for search engines out of the box. Wix (and even some church content management systems) are notorious for not showing up on Google (here is a link). Check out Browseo.net to see how search engines see your website. A Squarespace plan for business is around $216/year. Self-hosted Wordpress sites, depending on which host you choose, usually start at $150/year, plus the cost of the Wordpress theme (usually around $40-80).
2) Think about what you want your church to be known for. You might have several things: helping people easily connect to Jesus, helping people connect with others or more. But you should pull it all together using a specific message right up front on your website (for example, “Grace Church helps people easily connect to Jesus and others.”
Then build out one page for each major ministry you offer. Make sure each page has a page title, and one that is specific (i.e. “Grace Church Indiana Mission Trips”, “Boundless: Grace Church Indiana Young Adult Ministry”, etc).
3) Think about what language your customers use. Do they use -- and do they search Google for -- "Grace Church"? If they already know about your church, they probably do. If they don’t know about your church, do they, in the moment when they feel a specific need, search for "Christian churches near me" or "young adult ministry near me" etc? If people don’t already know about you, they generally will look for specific phrases in Google.
To get a sense for what language to use, use the language your members and visitors generally use, or even do a search in Google and look at Google's "related searches" section at the bottom of the search page. Or use a tool like SEMRush to uncover what keyword phrases other churches use. This all gives you a sense of the language to use throughout your website.
4) Make search engine optimization a priority. The right content, language and pages on your website is important on the front end. On the back end of your website, making sure your website is optimized is just as critical. This gets a little technical, but make sure you follow these SEO tips:
Add H1 headings to page titles. And make sure the content on the page is relevant to the main title.Include "alt text" with each picture so Google can understand what the picture is about -- this is another way to show up in Google. Include a "meta description" for each page. This is the description of the page that tells Google what the page is about and Google searchers why they should click on the page.5) Give visitors a call to action. What do you want visitors to do once they visitor your website? Do you just want them to call you? If that's the case, make sure your phone number is displayed very clearly in the header and footer of your site. But you might consider giving them the option to sign up for your newsletter so they learn more about your church.
6) Make sure your site looks (and works) great on mobile. Test how well your site performs on mobile by checking out what Google has to say about it.
7) Get a Google My Business listing. Make sure your address, website and phone number are very clearly displayed on Google My Business (and on your website, your address).
8) Manage online reviews. Beef up your Yelp, Google and any other online listings. Make sure you respond to any kind of negative review immediately in a positive way so people can see that even if the review is negative, you are responsive.
9) Be consistent on social media. Twitter posts show up in Google results so it’s a good idea to be consistent with posting -- commit to at least a couple times a week if you can. In Facebook, you can schedule your posts. So maybe load up a few days’ worth of posts so they go out automatically.
10) Sponsor social media posts. In Facebook, you can quickly create an ad account and “boost" some of your posts to people within a certain radius of your business. You don't have to spend much either to see an impact. It might be worth boosting a post or two to people within 20 miles of your church. (I would recommend adding a Facebook pixel to your site so you can track who comes back to your site from an ad -- this also helps Facebook "learn" who visits your site and helps create better ad targeting next time -- not required but good to have).
If you are willing to implement these website marketing recommendations on your own, that will save you some money. And they are fairly simple to implement.
Bottomline? Following these tips can help you quickly improve your church website marketing.