Challenges and Series · Ministry · Technology in Ministry

What’s on YOUR website?

Ministries often get a bad rap for their websites… Some parishes really do have great sites, and some… don’t. Check out your website’s flow in three quick steps:

  • Take a minute and Google your parish. Does it turn up in the results? If it does, that’s a great first start! If not, talk to your parishes website coordinator about optimizing your site. One of the best ways to get your site to show up in searches is by updating the site regularly. Search engines notice this, and respond accordingly.
  • Open up your site and browse through it. Can you find basics, like Mass times and personnel contact information? How easy is it to find information about your particular ministry? 
  • Imagine you’re new to the area and are shopping around for events and ministries. Are the events updated? Can you access the bulletin? And even more, does the site look bright, welcoming, engaging… or are there big blocks of text with no pictures?

Sure, website updates can be a challenge, but before you throw in the towel, here are a few quick fixes that can perk up your site in a hurry:

  • Add a few photos. Photos will make pages brighter and more engaging.
  • Share a few highlights of the semester. If you don’t want to list all of your events, share 3-5 big events you’d like people to know about.
  • Update your contact information. Especially if you don’t have time to clean up an outdated site, make sure people have the right contact person!

 If you’re serious about updating your website (or even starting one from scratch), here are 3 ways to dive deeper:

  • Sort your information with hierarchy in mind. Give them the most important information at the top, and group your information by category and timeliness. Break up big paragraphs into manageable bites. Start with a simple header, and expand from there.
  • Add sub-pages, and link them to each other. Maybe you have a lot of forms and need to create a page just for them. Maybe you’re planning a big service trip and you need a place for people to read all the details. Sub-pages are great for this! At the bottom of each page, give them an action: contact us for more details, or fill out a form here. These little details give your visitors a little nudge to keep browsing and to learn a little more.
  • If you’re starting from scratch, consider WordPress. I’ve built several sites for WordPress; there are plenty of free options to get you started quickly and without a financial commitment. Talk to your parish staff and network with the current web facilitators. Bring a list of your top few ideas or questions, and start a discussion on your hopes for sharing specifics of your ministry online.

Thanks for stopping by! You can check out all my Technology in Ministry posts here.

In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments: where does your ministry struggle with its website updates? What does your dream website include? What are the most important things a startup website should include? I’d love to hear from you!

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