How to Use Web Analytics with a Service-Minded Mentality

Objections abound when it come to tracking, analyzing, and acting on church website data.

Confusion about where to start, faulty beliefs about data application, and dreaded assumptions lead many a church worker to believe web stats don’t matter.

Au contraire, my web friends. Tracking website data is not only a necessity, it enables you to serve your congregation better.

How? Read on, reader. Here’s how to use analytics with a service-minded mentality.

Attract more visitors to your church.

The more people are able to find your site, the greater the chances they’ll come to visit you on the weekends. The number of people who found out about their church website using a search engine increased 91% from 2009 to 2012.(Tweet this!)

Data analytics platforms like Google Analytics can show you the search engine terms people are plugging in to find your site. Maybe they’re accurate (e.g. “des moines church,” “lutheran,” etc.). But maybe they’re not (e.g. “san diego pet store,” “community center,” etc.).

You’ll never known unless you dig in and find out. You could have a wayward meta tag feeding Google the wrong info, thus diverting would-be visitors from your site (and, unfortunately, your church).

Optimizing your search results, along with your site speed and information architecture, allow would-be visitors to easily find you on the web. Doing so greatly increases the chance they’ll visit, thereby enlarging your church community.

Increase participation in programs and events.

Knowing where the bottlenecks are on your website is critical for understanding what community members want online. For instance, after working with MonkDev, Biltmore Baptist has a clear, visual picture of where their returning visitors are going:

This information allows the church to craft a website experience that keeps users looking and connected. Knowing what your people want—sometimes even before the event occurs—can help you intelligently allocate resources moving forward.

Build a website that produces disciples.

Our research shows the more church members interact with the website, the more likely they are to feel like a part of the larger community. Isn’t that interesting? When the website serves as a hub which facilitates community, people feel like they belong.

Creating a website where participation occurs doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something we call Mission Process Design: intentionally crafting an online discipleship path for users. This means the website actually moves people from newcomer, to participant, to engaged member, to all-star volunteer.

Again, a church doesn’t stumble into effective Mission Process Design. It takes hard work, winnowing the essence of your mission down with clarity, and translating your discipleship process to the web.

But it can (and does) happen. We’ve seen it with our own eyes. But it takes a commitment to data and finding out what’s actually working. The results, friends, are astounding. (In fact, you can find out if Ministry Process Design is right for your church.

Conclusion

Service doesn’t only happen on Sunday morning. Digging into church website data should be on the same level as serving as a greeter, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or leading a group Bible study for high school students. If you’re not sure where to start, let us help. Either way, your congregation deserves a website that works.

Read more from Justin here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Wise

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.