Inspiration can come from the most unexpected sources sometimes. My small group is currently studying R. Kent Hughes's insightful book, Disciplines of A Godly Man. In his chapter on the Discipline of Leadership, Hughes describes five requirements of a leader, and as I read through these five characteristics I couldn't help but notice that these traits are also representative of great church websites.
As we walk through these attributes, ask yourself if your church website could be described using these qualities.
"Leadership must have a dream, a vision, a mental image, a precise goal of what is to be accomplished."
- pg. 187
Before you begin building your church website, you must have a definitive strategy--a list of goals you want your website to achieve. To develop your website strategy, start by asking yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of my church website?
- What do I want my church website to do? (What features should it have?)
- What is my budget (both money and time)?
After you have these answers, you can begin to build your website and develop your website's content.
2. Effective Communication
"A leader must not only have a dream, he must be able to communicate it." - pg. 187
The best way to produce content that will help you reach your website's goals is to first establish a content strategy. A solid content strategy will tell you what your website should say, how it should say it, and who will say it, to make it most effective.
Once you have a content strategy, work hard to make your writing clear, concise, and pleasing to the eye, so your church website visitors will want to read your content.
"Good leaders ... delegate and orchestrate." - pg. 187
Finding and building capable content creators is important to keeping your church website filled with fresh, relevant content. New content is what keeps visitors coming back to your site and is a big influence on your search engine rankings. As the project lead or website manager, it is key that you can farm out some of the work it takes to keep your website chugging along.
Here are three things that can help you delegate responsibility:
- Content managers: let your individual ministry leaders control the content in their section (How can iMinistries' CMS help?)
- Content creators: volunteers or admins with strong writing skills are essential for successful content
- Content calendar: schedule your blog posts, news articles, and other new content to ensure consistent updates
4. Credibility (Show What You Say)
"Good leaders lead by demonstration." - pg. 187
As important as it is to communicate your church or ministry's mission and beliefs on your website, it is just as important to show your ministry's mission at work.
- Use news articles to tell stories of lives effected by your church or ministry.
- Create blog entries to update visitors on ministry projects let them interact with you.
- Post pictures and videos of your ministry helping others.
"Good leaders are determined." - pg. 188
In order for your church website to be successful, it needs constant attention. A bland website with static content is useless, so you must be willing to put in the time it takes to keep making your website better. There are many free tools, like Google Analytics or Website Grader, that can help you continually improve your website.
Three keys to a progressive church website
- Content updates: To get new and returning visitors, this is crucial
- Content evaluation: What content gets the most feedback? The most web traffic? What do you do well?
- Being in-the-know: Read everything you can about making a better website from the people who have done it, then apply this knowledge to your website
Content Strategy for Church Websites - iMinistries Blog
Online Giving Study Findings To Apply To Your Church Website - iMinistries Blog
5 Ways to Improve Your Church Website, Gordon Ramsay Style - iMinistries Blog