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Church website design ideas, tips, and thoughts from Christian leaders. Learn the essentials of effective church websites.

We’re Looking for an Excellent Graphic Designer. Is That You?

Salem Church Products is looking for a graphic designer to join our team and work on projects for WorshipHouse Media, ChurchStaffing, SermonSpice, WorshipHouse Kids, ChurchMediaBlog, and other sites in our Richmond, VA office. If you’re looking for a career with a purpose, and want to help us as we serve churches and pastors all over the world, we’d love to explore the position with you. We’re looking for someone with a versatile skill set, including excellent web and graphic design abilities. Check out the full job description here.

If that sounds like you, please send your resume and portfolio to Angela Bainter at angela@salemchurchproducts.com.

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The Big Problem With Small (Church) Websites

I stumbled across this infographic the other day at Inc.com. The article and infographic are geared toward small businesses, but it occured to me that these are the exact same issues facing small churches. By trying to manage a small website on your own, your already-overworked staff or volunteers can run into the following headaches:

  1. Poor Design
  2. No Metrics
  3. Poor SEO
  4. No Mobile Optimization

And more. Check out the infographic below to see all the challenges facing small churches (and businesses).

smallwebinfographicHow does your church address these challenges?

Pros & Cons of Adwords for Churches This Easter

click_blogImage from Lightstock.

As your church gets ready for Easter Sunday, chances are you’ve brainstormed an outreach & advertising strategy to invite your community to church. In fact, you probably have 5-10 advertising tactics for the Easter season to get people in the doors. Outside of marketing on your website, on social media, through word of mouth, or direct mail, there is another option that will help connect you with people looking for a place of worship this Easter.

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an easy way to connect online with people you wouldn’t normally reach. You may be familiar with the text ads that are displayed at the top and right sides of Google pages when you search. Those are pay per click ads, and they are a fantastic way to advertise your Easter services for several reasons.

It’s effective – The great thing about PPC is that the people who see your ads are looking for what you have to offer. When you create your campaign, you decide which keyword searches will display your ads. For example, one of your keyword phrases may be “Easter Sunday Services.” Then, when someone searches for that phrase, they will see your ad.

It’s flexible – You decide where your ads will be displayed. Location targeting is a huge bonus with PPC, and it gives you the option to focus on the area surrounding your zip code so only people in your community see your ads. In the ad text, make sure to mention your Easter service with times, address, and other details, giving the searcher exactly the information they need to find your church.

It’s affordable – You set the budget and only pay when someone clicks on your ad. As the name states, you pay per click, and you get to set the max amount you’ll pay for a click. You also set your daily budget. Suppose you run your ads for 7 days before Easter spending $20 per day and your average click costs $.20. This means your ads will be clicked on 700 times by people that are actively seeking a church for Easter. Super affordable!

As great as this all sounds, there is a con.

It’s complex – PPC can be daunting if you’re not already familiar with it. Google does a great job providing options for all types of advertisers, but this creates a ton of features that can quickly overwhelm you. Don’t let this discourage you! The folks at ChurchPlantMarketing.com have created a great step-by-step guide to Adwords to get you started.

Follow these steps and be on your way to a successful PPC campaign for your Easter services.  

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Google Local Search for Churches

Have you ever Googled churches in your town? Give it a try and see if you can find your church’s name on the first page.

The best result is to see your church listed in one of these search results locations. 

Google Local Results 

If you’re not in local search on Google, you’re missing out on potential church visitors finding out about you. How do you get your church listed there, you ask? Start by creating a listing in Google Places. Read this explanation from Search Engine Watch to learn more about Google Places and how to create your own listing.

Google Places is the information that a search engine receives and uses when listing your business. A search engine will probably already have your business listed in results, but your Google Places page allows you to control what information Google has and presents to searchers about your business. You can fill in your Places page with information like a description, images, hours of operation, and contact information.

You manage all of this information in your Google Places dashboard, so you can change it anytime you wish. You have to sign up for Google Places here, fill in your information, and then verify your account – you have to verify either by phone or by mail, which Google will walk you through, and then you’re set to go and start taking control of your brand. **

In the excerpt above, business refers to your church. For your church’s Google Places listing, I recommend including a description of your church, your church logo or an image of your worship location, church office hours or worship times, and your contact information. Once you’ve completed your Google Places profile, your church will be listed on the Google Map for certain searches and may also be listed in the local search results. Get listed here and start getting found on Google!

 

**Excerpt from Google Places for Business vs. Google+ Local by Amanda DiSilvetro

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3 Signs of a Bad Church Website

It may surprise you, but your website is one of your church’s biggest outreach tools. Think about it. If you need information on anything these days, you generally look online for answers. The same goes for people looking for a church.

In many cases, what your website says and how it looks can be the deciding factor for potential church visitors. Here are 3 reasons why your church’s website might not be connecting with them.

I Can’t Find Your Site in the First Place

When you’re looking for something online, you Google it, right? The same goes for people who are looking for a new church. However, if they don’t know the name of your church already, what are they going to search for? Most will probably look for “church in [your town].” Google that yourself (switching [your town] with your actual town name) and see if you find your church’s website in the search results. If not, there is a fix! Include that phrase somewhere on your homepage or your About Us page. This will help Google know that you are a “church in [your town],” and they will likely display your website in the search results in the future, helping tons of potential visitors find your site in the first place.

It’s Out of Date

Things like low quality photos, difficult to read typefaces, and clashing color choices are hard to deal with on bad church websites when there are so many great website designs out there. Think about how websites from renowned businesses look. Yes, they probably spent a ton of money developing it, which you don’t have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a site that is simple, professional, and easy to read. One good solution if you’re short on money and skills is to develop a site using WordPress. There are tons of articles out there on how to implement WordPress sites, and ongoing maintenance is simple for any skill level. Also, you can find great photos specifically for the church at LightStock.com. Once your new site is up and running, you’ll look like a pro!

You’re Hiding What I Need to Know

A couple of major blunders of bad church websites involve not providing good information. First, make it a habit to update your site frequently, at least once per week. If you have a calendar, make sure it lists all of your upcoming events. Has an event already happened? Remove information about the event and replace it with something else. Your church looks out of date when you’re advertising a Christmas program in March. Also, help people find how to contact you on your homepage or on a separate Contact Us page. Future visitors may have questions about directions, what to wear, or your kids programs and hiding your information keeps them from contacting you.

What are some other signs of a bad church website?

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