Friday, April 11, 2008

Our New Web Site is Reaching a Lot of People

I know that most of this online community has probably seen the website of the new church that I'm at, the High Pointe Church of Christ. But just in case you had not, here is our web address: www.highpointechurchofchrist.org.

We are getting about 80 unique visitors a day, which translates to about 2400 unique visitors a month. And we are just now starting to show up in the search engines on Google. Without personal contact, technology is limited in value. But as a point of first contact, the power of the Internet is tremendous. As the site is established, takes on more great content, and is promoted by our members, we will see this traffic increase even more.

No one under age 40, when looking for a church home, goes to the yellow pages. They all do web searches. And if the site is bad, many will rule out this church automatically. Why? Because a church without a good web site--such a vital part of today's culture--shows that it does not care about nor understand the world in which we now live, particularly in regards to young people. And this is increasingly applying towards older people too, as they become more familiar with this technology. A great number of our registered users on our website are older, which is great.

Today I met Laura, a woman who has a consignment sale at the church and then donates the remaining clothes to our church's clothes closet. She said that she looked at the site, and loved all of its "bells and whistles." She said that if she didn't live in Denton, she would go hear. Of course, she says this not just because of the site, but because of the wonderful people here. She just bragged about them, to which I heartily agreed! So technology alone will not reach anyone, but it can be a powerful tool to help introduce people to a loving church and the people of God.

What features do you think most people who are looking for a church are drawn to and help them want to visit? What would you look for in a site if moving into an area or searching?

2 comments:

jeremy said...

Great post!

I think a church's web site is a vital resource for outreach and also for communication within/among small groups. I know some small groups use free services from Yahoo! and Google as an email mailing list, contacts list, calendar, news items, etc. Rather than using Yahoo! or Google, if small groups and other ministries had a way to collaborate through the church site, some public information (service projects, events, pictures, news items, etc) could be placed in visible locations on the main site. In other words, the web site content (with possibly some moderation) could be driven by the members themselves, rather than one office assistant or "the web site guy." Someone who is looking for a church can know exactly what is going on directly from the body, via the web site.

Many churches use their web site as nothing more than a digital brochure (location, meeting times, elders/ministers, ministries), and that's completely fine. Better to have something on the web than nothing. But I think with a little work, planning, and maybe some expertise, you can have a web site that really interacts with members and those who are longing for Jesus.

James said...

Jeremy,

It was good to see you at Heartland.

You are exactly right about content on church web sites. No one person, no matter how talented, can update a site for a mid-sized to a large church. They simply do not have the information that they need, and most do not have the time. This is why I really advocate that churches use a content management system that allows different non-tech users like secretaries, ministers, and ministry leaders to update the content for their ministries. This is what we had at Liberty and that we have now at High Pointe.

It is good to hear from you.