Blog

Seeker-Friendly Churches: An Inside Perspective

A church’s website needs to convey information.  That information should include things like service times, location and child care availability, but a church’s website needs to communicate more than facts.  A potential visitor wants to understand what they will experience.  Who will they meet?  Are there a lot of empty seats?  What does the coffee bar look like? You could write out answers to all of these potential questions and thoughts, but why not SHOW them, instead?

Images are a powerful tool that church websites need to use.  These images should be more than an event flier or a stock image advertising the next sermon series; the best images are those of people.  Seeing images of people who are already attending your church will provide the inside perspective so many potential visitors are looking for.  Are there people here like me?  Are they in the same stage of life? Do they share my interests?  Is there anyone I can build a relationship with?

young men sitting around a table praying and reading the bibleImages not only allow potential visitors a chance to see who is already at your church, but it shows them where your priorities are.  If your website focuses on images of people rather then your facilities or event information, you are speaking volumes about what you value.  Show your website visitors where your church’s focus is.  The mission of your organization should be evident in the images you choose to display.

 

Customer’s Great Ideas: Slide Shows

The old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words” is holding true today — and for websites images are key for a positive user experience, engaging your audience and communicating your message.

Watch the video below to see how others are using the Slide Show tool on an inside page or landing page to create a visual experience.

Tips:

  • Explore the Tool Menu!  You don’t need to use the default property settings.*  Explore the properties that work best for your images
  • Make sure all of your images are the same dimensions.  This helps your page look consistent no matter which image in the slideshow displays.
  • Explore different page layout and slideshow dimension combinations.*  Want a full width slideshow?  Turn off the interior navigation and right side bar.  Adjust your slideshow tool dimensions, and upload images that are large enough to fit the space.

Want to learn how to use your slideshow’s tool properties to accomplish this look on an interior page of your website?  Contact support@faithwebsites.com for instructions.


*Remember that homepage slideshow tools have set properties and dimensions.  This article explores ways to add slideshow tools to interior pages of your website where you have the control.

Ready for the Bad Weather?

Snow, sleet, icy roads– these are a given for many of our customers this time of year, along with the delays and cancellations that go along with them. We wanted to remind you that we have a feature designed just for sharing such urgent messages!

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 3.35.28 PMThe alert feature is designed to share cancellations, delays and other important, time-sensitive announcements. When turned on, a window will appear on the first page anyone visits on your website, whether is the homepage or interior page. They can click “ok” to close this window, where it will be minimized at the bottom right of the screen, in case they need to view it again.

The alert is a full content editor, meaning that the text is fully customizable and you can add a link or an image (like the example at the left) if you chose.

This tool is available on our Plus or higher service plans. To find instructions and start using this tool, please see this article in our Help Center. Not sure which service plan you’re on or want to upgrade to the Plus plan? Send us an email!

We also have another gift for you— this one for all of our customers! We have weather related images to our free image gallery. These would work perfectly with the alert feature, or in a homepage slideshow, or on your social media feeds.

2015-12-30_0001

These images, and the rest of our free images, are available in our free image gallery.

As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions about this feature and the images.

 

SEO Tips: Build links using social media and location apps

In an earlier post, we addressed a few basics about on-page optimization. WhichStay Connected using Social Media and Websites are basics for all website building, even if Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t a priority for you. In this post, we’ll get into a few tips that you can do to help drive traffic to your website and build high-quality links (or healthy links) to your website. Which helps improve your SEO, because Google likes to see that other sources are referring or linking to your site. And that people are actually clicking to visit your website. Here are three of the easier ways to build links and traffic:

  1. Build, claim or update your Google+ Brand Page (formerly known as Google+ Pages). Even if you aren’t using Google+, you need to build a page and be sure it has your website, contact information, good quality short content about your organization, and ideally some relevant pictures of your church, school, etc. More and more often, Google+ results show at the top of search results. For this reason alone, we recommend to our customers to set up their Google+ page.
  2. Use social media to build links. Build content on your website, then build posts or tweets for Facebook and Twitter to share those links. Sharing your content snippets on your social media creates links that are naturally clicked by followers – and that shows that users are interested in your site. Do this for all the content you can – events, announcements, new pictures you added to your website, cancellation updates, blog posts, release of volunteer schedules, sign-ups required – you get the idea!
  3. Get your organization on location based apps. Many people use location based apps such as Yelp or Foursquare, to find anything – which can certainly include a church or school. Is your church or school listed? Claim or build your listing and be sure that your website is listed in the post. Next, explore other online listing or directories that are applicable for your organization. These can be great link building updates to your SEO, and can make you more visible to the people you’re hoping to reach.

In addition to the above, be sure that your social media pages all have a link back to your website and your website has icons or links to your social media pages. Be sure your posts and tweets include links to your website as often as is practical. If you are a DIS | Faithwebsites customer, be sure to tap into the power and efficiency of Social Stream, our integrated social media tool.

Customer’s Great Ideas: Blogs

We recently shared how you can get started with a blog for your organization. If you haven’t already, read our simple tips on how to begin blogging and stick to it successfully!

blog_crop_computerWe have many customers who are already blogging and we would like to share a few great examples of blogs on our customers’ websites.

One of the tips from our “How to Start a Blog” post suggested using a variety of authors. Bethany Academy does just this! They have many authors, which keeps the posts fresh and also makes the blog easier to maintain. One customer of ours even has students and parents blog about their favorite things about the school, which can create a great impression for your prospective parents! Take a look at the Bethany Academy blog to see how they are using several different authors on one blog.

Catholic East Elementary has many of their teachers using a classroom blog on their faculty pages. The teacher shares what is going on in her classroom with parents and the students also write blog posts! This not only helps build content and engage the parents, but it also doubles as a writing exercise for the students. Blog posts by 1st graders are not just interesting, but also adorable. Check out Mrs. Albert’s classroom blog for inspiration.

Pastor Shawn from Trinity Lutheran Church ends each of his blog posts with an invitation for comments or for others to share their thoughts. This is the perfect way to encourage engagement and start a conversation. Head over to Pastor Shawn’s blog and share your thoughts!

One Body One Hope shares images in many of their posts. You might be getting tired of hearing us talk about images all of the time, but they are a great way to draw your users in and connect them to what you are saying. Images are particularly important for One Body One Hope because they are a bi-national organization, partnering American churches with Liberian churches. Using images in their updates helps the American readers connect with what is happening in Liberia. Visit the One Body One Hope blog and let their beautiful images draw you into their content. 

This sampling shows just a small array of ideas – blogs can be used for all types of purposes and audiences. Their common goal is to provide a steady stream of new content. New content which not only helps communicate to your users, but helps your search engine optimization too! Give thought to starting a blog (or two!) on your site today.

Subscribe to our RSS Feeds

Blog Search

Join Us on Twitter

Join Us on Facebook