12 minutes | Nov 30th 2015

009: 5 FREE Steps To Improve Your Church Website and Online Reach

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FYC Podcast Episode 009: 5 FREE Steps To Improve Your Church Website and Online Reach Podcast Resource Links > FindingYourChurch.com/FreeScan – FREE Church Online Visibility Scan > “FREE Photoshop For Churches, Non-Profits and Businesses” Podcast Episode > FindingYourChurch.com/Toolbox Podcast Episode Text Version Welcome to the Finding Your Church Podcast from FindingYourChurch.com. My name is Jeremy Phillips and my goal is to help you make it a challenge for people to live in your community without finding your Church. There are many different approaches we could talk about, and extremely technical things we could do to improve the findability of our Church online. There are some of you listening who would understand them, and love to make the tedious and detailed time investment it would take to put those strategies in place. Those ideas are probably valid and would work to improve your Church online presence. But, how many of those extremely technical strategies would actually bring new Guests through your doors and new people visiting your Church? Even more importantly, if you are limited on time and resources you want to put your effort into something you can actually understand and accomplish. You do NOT want to invest your limited time into something that will frustrate you and produce limited results. So we want to look at 5 FREE Steps you can take TODAY to improve the online presence of your Church. For the most part, as long as you have access to the Internet and your Social Media accounts you can do these steps. Only one of the steps requires that you have access to the backend of your actual website. So lets get started with the 5 FREE Steps. #1 – Add your exact Church Name, Address and Phone Number to the footer of your website. If you are using WordPress you can usually add this information using a Footer Widget so that you only have to add it only once and it will show up on every page. If you are using some other website program, you may have to actually add this to the footer of each page of your site one at a time. If you are using an outside company to handle your website, you will need to ask them to make this change for you. If you are currently unhappy with your Church Website, check out our Resource Page at www.findingyourchurch.com/Toolbox for options to have a new one created for you. So why would we want to add this information to every page of our Church Website? Why not just have this contact information on the Contact Page only? The main reason for this will tie into the 4th and 5th steps as well. One thing Google looks for to make sure business and Churches are open and being managed by real people is how consistent the business or Church Name, Address and Phone Number is across the Internet. When Google sees that your Church Name, Address and Phone Number is exactly the same on Local Business Directories and other directory sites online as it is on your Church Website, it can be more likely that Google will boost your website in local Church search terms. So the simple way to approach this is to determine your exact Church Name, Address and main Phone Number and use it EVERYWHERE in the exact same format. You have to decide exactly how you are going to write your Church Name. Do you include your denomination in the name? Do you abbreviate anything? One of the Churches I worked at was an Assembly of God Church. This definitely becomes a problem when you abbreviate the word Assembly. An abbreviated version of Assembly of God is probably one of the most disrespectful things you could ever see, AND YET you would see it abbreviated over and over again from Churches who evidently put zero thought into their Church Name. An additional problem with the word Assembly shows up when you open up multiple tabs in your internet browser. The more tabs you open, the less text you see in the Tab title. Many times you would look at the tabs and Assembly would abbreviate itself. No bueno. The way we got around this was to just use AG in place of Assembly of God. But regardless of your name issues, you need to decide on the EXACT wording of your Name and Address. How are you going to write your address? Do you spell out North or just use N.? Do you use Avenue or Ave? It doesn’t matter how you do it other than you need to make a decision and stick with it. Place it in the footer of your website so that it shows up on every page so Google can definitely connect that contact information to your website. #2 – Google Search for your Church to FIND and FIX issues. This is especially important if you have changed locations a lot in your Church history. You will most likely find places online that still have your old address, phone numbers, website addresses or outdated Service Times. If you can find them, most likely a potential new Guest trying to visit your Church will find them too. Once you find the problem sites, you can make a list of them and contact the site owner to make changes to reflect the truth about your Church. You never know what you will find when you start Googling. Some Churches have entire blogs dedicated to pushing negative information about them. You may find out some things you did not want to know about a staff member or volunteer or whatever. You are mainly trying to correct inaccurate contact information that would detour a new visitor from finding your Church. But, if you find out other information, it would be better to know now and deal with it sooner than later anyway. So Google away. #3 – Open and Improve your Social Media account Profiles and Graphics. You may have had your Social Media accounts created a long time ago and things have changed, or you created them quickly and did not really fill in all of the details. One way to make an immediate impact on your online presence is to simply log in to the settings of all your accounts and update your information. Just like having outdated information in a Google Search can detour a potential new guest from visiting your Church, the same is true for outdated or incorrect profile information. Another issue is how often these sites change their layout. Your account home pages may have looked great as far as the graphics when you first set them up, but things have changed. And rudely, the sites never bothered to tell you about it. So now either your header graphic is stretched weird to fit the new size, or just a blank box where one of your graphics should be. Login and completely fill out your account profile and update your graphics today. Check out the “FREE Photoshop For Churches” Podcast Episode for details on a free graphics creation online software that has templates for nearly every type of Social Media graphic. #4 – Decide to get control of your Google Business, Yahoo, Bing and many other local search directory listings. Now the 5th step that I am going to talk about in a minute will make this process easier for these main three and many other of these types of local directory sites. But Google, Yahoo and Bing have created local business directories, and your Church needs to claim and optimize all of them if possible to become more easily found by potential new Guests who want to visit your Church. These can be a challenge to claim and optimize however. But what you need to realize is that potential new Guests who want to visit your Church are many times finding these business page listings BEFORE finding your Church Website. If these listings are not claimed, the information is not filled out completely, and there are not pictures or a Church logo, it can look like your Church is not very professional. It may even give the impression that your Church is not even open at all. That potential Church Visitor will just move on and find somewhere else to go. In addition to the BIG 3, you will also want to Claim and Optimize as many of these Local Business Directories as possible. These include websites like Manta, Merchant Circle and the online Yellow pages, but there are many more than that. The reason for that is this. When you claim and optimize these listings you are also adding in your correct Church Name, Address and Phone Number. As we discussed in the first step, placing this correct contact information on as many of these directory sites as possible potentially helps your website in Google Search. This is also a benefit because you are listed correctly in these sites themselves. People are searching for business and Churches there too. So the 4th step is realizing that you need to see what your potential guests and visitors are seeing on these sites when they search for your Church. That is fairly simple to find on Google Business, Yahoo Local and Bing Places, but definitely a challenge to find on the 50 or so other directory websites you will want to found on. Each of these sites has their own setup and it can be a challenge to pull that information together. That leads me to the 5th FREE Step. #5 – Get a FREE Local Business Directory Scan for your Church You can request your FREE personalized online visibility scan for your Church by going directly to the scan request page at www.findingyourchurch.com/FreeScan This scan will save you a ton of time and work. This scan will not only search to discover if you are listed on all of these sites, it will also give you the direct links to the listings that it does find so you can see if your information is correct. When you get the scan all of the information is yours to keep. So you can either claim and optimize these listings yourself using this information, or you can have a company help you and complete this process for you. So once you get the free scan the choice is up to you. You will have all of the information you need to do it yourself, and Finding Your Church offers a Service that can do this for you saving you even more time setting this up. All you need to do now is go www.findingyourchurch.com/FreeScan to request yours, and remember to check out our Resource Page with that link and many other resources to help your Church get found at www.findingyourchurch.com/Toolbox That is all for this episode. Now GO and GET FOUND. The post 009: 5 FREE Steps To Improve Your Church Website and Online Reach appeared first on Finding Your Church.
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