Using Profiles to Build Your Communication Strategy, Part 2

Every church has different personas that make up the congregational body. Each of these personas—New Visitor, Return Visitor, Engaged Member, and Mature Disciple—all need different things from portions of the church website.

We started profiling these personas in a previous post, so today we want to finish out the group with Engaged Member and Mature Disciple.

Again, we’ll be revealing what our research shows as the most important sections for each of these two groups. Understanding the needs of each group is a critical path for creating an effective church website.

Engaged Member

An engaged member is someone who’s been at the church for over two years but no more than ten. They’ll be familiar with the church, the community, programs, and events the church offers. They’ll want to know things like:

Event Registration. How do they sign-up for classes, events, and programs on your website? This group showed the highest demand for an easy-to-use online registration process. Like the other groups, the website is most helpful to them in facilitating connection to the community.

Email Newsletter. Engaged members want their information delivered via email. Make sure there are easily identifiable places on your website to sign-up for e-blasts. (You do have those in place, right?)

Facebook Fan Page. Because engaged members are familiar with the church, they’re looking to connect relationally with other members of the community. More than any other social network, Facebook emerged as a front runner for this specific group. Judging by the data, if you were to poll your Facebook community on how long they’ve been attending your church, most of them will have been there for 2+ years.

Mature Disciple

We’re defining “mature disciples” as community members who have been at the church for 10+ years and self-identify as a Christian. Simply put, these are your “go-to” people; the folks you couldn’t do ministry without!

Here’s what interests mature disciples most on your church’s website:

Text Updates. Although this isn’t a distinct function of a church website, mature disciples were most likely to indicate a strong preference for receiving informational text updates from the church. You can facilitate this connection by offering simple ways for members to sign-up for text updates on your church website. Services like Jarbyco and Tatango are helpful when considering how to do text updates.

Small Groups/Home Groups. Not surprisingly, mature disciples wanted to know where to access information specific to small groups. Although this element of church life is important for all personas, mature disciples seem to be seeking out this information more than any other group.

Email Newsletter. Again, the longer someone attends a church, the more likely they are to opt-in to email updates. Relationships are formed, ministry allegiances are fortified, and people want to know what’s going on in the life of the church. Much like the engaged members, mature disciples proactively seek out information. Make it easy for this group to find email updates.

Conclusion

Community life is at the center of both of these groups interaction with the church website. The more you can facilitate specific connections to the community for these two groups, the more successful your website will be.

Read Part 1 of this series here.

Read more from Justin here.

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Justin Wise

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
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Using Profiles to Build Your Communication Strategy, Part 1

Every church is made up of different groups (or personas) on any given Sunday.

Collectively, you may not be able to tell the difference between them. But these groups—new visitor, regular attender, committed member, and mature disciple—all use your website in profoundly different ways.

Today, we’ll profile the first two personas and reveal what our research shows as the most important sections for each.

New Visitors

A new visitor will be paying attention to different areas of your website than someone who’s been to the church before. They’ll want to know things like:

About Us/Directions. How do they find your church? If they’re on a mobile device, are the directions in your site easy to read? Better yet, is the site mobile-ready?

What can they expect on a Sunday morning? If they show up in a three-piece suit, will they feel out of place? If they don’t show up in a three-piece suit, will that ruffle some feather? More than just attire, people showing up for the first time will want to know what to expect. Can they find this easily on the website?

Event calendar. We find consistently new people want to get connected to the community as quickly as possible. The best way to facilitate this is through the event calendar. If a new person comes to the event calendar section, are they able to find events relevant to them?

Regular Attenders

These folks are the ones who are casually involved with the church. They drift in and out of church life, but they have made an increased commitment to attending regularly. If your church has a membership program, this group isn’t likely to make that commitment without a personal invitation or increased engagement through programs and events.

Here’s what interests regular attenders most on your church’s website:

Event registration. Because regular attenders are more involved in the life of the church, they want to be able to register for events online. In addition to listing out event details, regular attenders want to be able to sign up for classes all online.

Missional or theological statement. Doctrinal or theological positioning statements are rarely important to people until they commit to attending. A regular attender is more likely to seek these out.

Social media outposts. Because a regular attender is increasing their commitment level to the church, they’ll seek other ways to stay involved throughout the week. One of the easiest ways to do this is via social media outposts. Users in this group are highly likely to engage socially with a church.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are similarities between these two groups, namely around community-based activities. In fact, every group profiled does or will include a deep desire to connect to the church community through the website. Join us next week for the profiles of both a committed member and mature disciple.

Read Part 2 here.
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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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Understanding Trends in Church Websites: Mobile First is Growing

If you wanted to predict the future of the web, how would you go about doing it? Further, what if you wanted to know how people accessed and utilized their church’s website?

For starters, you take a look at the hard data. We’ve been collecting data on 50+ churches for over three years and the data, dear friends, is astounding. If I told you everything we’re uncovering through these analytics, your head might explode.

But, not one to disappoint, here’s a peek into where we’re going.

We wanted to know, with a degree of certainty, what the trends were surrounding church websites. Take viewing location, for instance. The data we’ll be looking at in this post measures four areas:

  1. Mobile
  2. Computer
  3. Tablet
  4. Others

Here at Monk, we’re definitely seeing a trend with churches wanting to design for mobile-first. We worked with The Village Church recently to create a site-wide responsive design. If you’re not familiar with responsive, it means a website is “aware” of the type of browser it’s being accessed on—mobile, tablet, or desktop—and “responds” accordingly.

(If you want to see responsive in action, go to Village Church’s website and adjust the size of your browser window. Watch the images move! This is responsive design in action.)

The trends towards mobile comes with good reason and concrete data. Here’s what our stats show: Nearly 97% of users accessed their church’s website via desktop in 2009:

Viewing2009

Keep in mind, this is only four years ago. Barack Obama was still a new President and poor ol’ Tiger Woods announced an “indefinite leave from professional golf” to work on his marriage. Seems like it was just yesterday but, of course, it wasn’t.

Our online viewing habits have changed significantly since then. Here’s how users accessed church websites in 2010:

JustinWisewebsite210

It isn’t a big change, but the divergence from desktop was just beginning to pick up steam. Keep in mind the first iPad was released in April 2010—a stake-in-the-ground moment for mobile/tablet usage. Here’s what the same chart in 2011 looked like:

JustinWiseviewinglocation2011

Desktop usage by church website users decreased 7.5% from 2009 to 2011. Desktop usage decreased another 1.7% in 2012, thus solidifying the downward trend for desktop internet use. Desktop is out. Mobile and tablet use is in. (Maybe that’s what led Google to declare “desktops will be irrelevant“…by 2013.)

Look at mobile-savvy cultures like India to see where the U.S. is headed in terms of website usage. According to Mary Meeker’s research, India become a mobile-first country in May 2012. for the first time in history, more people accessed the web in this country via mobile than did desktop.

JustinWisemobiletraffice 2012

This is not insignificant.

As the slide states, many more countries will follow. So will many churches. Organizations must begin considering a mobile-first environment. This can be especially daunting for churches who still wrestle with the purpose of their desktop-based website.

Conclusion

The data I’ve presented here is a small snippet of what we’ll be covering in our yearly “State of the Church Online” report, due out the end of this month. You can get early access to the report by joining our mailing list here.

Read more from Justin here.

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Chris O — 04/08/13 8:39 am

Hey, it looks like png 1, 2, and 3 isn't coming through. Would love to see the data! :)

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What Does Your Ministry Brand Say About You?

Every tweet, every status update, every avatar, every social network background image—they all say something about your digital brand. Have you taken inventory to see what they’re saying?

For most organizations, the answer is, “no.” It’s not an intentional “no.” It’s a “no” stemming from not enough time in the day. People usually stumble into digital ghost towns by accident, not on purpose.

A Few Good Brands

MailChimp does a fantastic job at translating who they are as a company to their online presence. Their Twitter feed is filled with irreverent kookiness. The welcome greeting on the dashboard borders on nonsensical.

Wherever you interact with MailChimp online, they are the same company. There’s no confusion about who they are, what their company is like, and what they want their customer to experience. It’s all intentionally, purposefully crafted.

Kristina Halvorson and the folks at Brain Traffic are another shining example. Here’s the website for her book Content Strategy for the Web:

Content Strategy website

Beauteous. Her message of “better content, better business” is actually built into the website itself. I can guarantee you every word on this home page has been poured over and intentionally chosen. For good measure, here’s the website for Brain Traffic, the company Kristina helps run:

Brain Traffic website

And here’s the site for one of their events, Confab Twin Cities:

Con Fab Twin Cities

It’s all in-sync. It all works together. The brand’s values seep out of every corner of the web, ready to be enjoyed by whomever comes across it.

What Does Your Brand Say About You?

Take a quick look at your online presence. Twitter, websites, fan pages, Instagram feeds—the works. Go ahead, I’ll wait =)

What do you see? Do you see a continuous presence, flowing from one channel to the next? Are your values prevalent in each digital outpost? For instance, if you say you value “quality,” does your website actually reflect it? Do you have an online home you can be proud of? Did you invest the time, effort, and, yes, resources to build something of actual quality?

Here’s the thing (and I’m going to shoot straight with you): you don’t have the luxury of sandbagging your digital presence any longer. The game has changed. It is no longer in the act of changing.

You can no longer simply have a blog, you must have a strategy for it. You can no longer simply tweet, you must have a strategy for those tweets. Catch my drift?

As a business, brand, individual or organization, you need to be considering:

  • Content strategy
  • Content marketing
  • Social media strategy
  • Social media management
  • Social media audits
  • Email marketing
  • Editorial calendars
  • Over digital communication strategy
  • And, yes, more…

If you’re not actively developing plans for most of these, I’m afraid the widening gap may prove too wide in the future.

Read more from Justin here.

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Justin Wise

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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.

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Justin Wise

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Biggest Church Website Needs for 2013

We asked a simple question: What is something you will need on your church website in 2013?

Hundreds responded and we picked the ones most indicative of the overall themes. Here is what church and ministry leaders from across the country will be implementing on their websites in the next year:

Content Organization  

Investing in finding out what catches someone who is looking at your site for the first time. Josh S.

Organization of our voluminous materials for every audience! Olga D.

A system in place to help people understand how to mature through the different steps and programs available. How to effectively reach people through the web. Carlos B.

Better content management, for site to be relevant representation of church. Shawnte M.

Information architecture to prioritize the pages and information. David E.

Getting information up front and easy to find—and everyone wants their information up front! Heidi H.

Multimedia

Sermon-specific media player. Joel N.

More photos, content, interactivity. Joshua M.

The ability to easily share site pages via Twitter or Facebook. Sam J.

Video capability for streaming our services. Mike K.

Video archives of our Sunday messages. Rick C.

More video/graphic content; less text. I guess I’ll know more after we read this white paper 🙂 Ben C.

Interpersonal Buy-In

We’ll be concentrating on getting ministry staff buy-in for help in generating fresh, engaging, content. Gail H.

Building a volunteer database for maintenance. Especially for keeping track of people with some tech and design savvy. John S.

More stories of life change. Julia H.

Online giving and better intra-church communication. Sarah E.

Building a Professional Website

Integrating our various forms of communication (we use EMMA for our e-newsletter, CCB for congregation info management, Tumblr for our blog, WordPress for our website, and most of our current information (including photos, etc.) is on Facebook. Steve P.

Moving from ‘home-made’ to a professional website. Joe F.

A way to capture and tell stories better. Krista W.

Researching how to direct people to the site, successfully convey the vision of the ministry to them through the site, and keep them engaged in the content of the site in a simple, clear, and effective way. Eric M.

Conclusion

The emerging themes are clear: Content organization and governance, increased multimedia, buy-in from other leaders, and building a professional website are the top priorities for church leaders in 2013.

Did you see anything on this list you’d like to implement in your own context?

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Does Your Church Have a Content Strategy for Its Website?

Creating awareness for local churches becomes increasingly difficult as more time demands are made on faith community members.

When a user goes to a church website to find information on programs, services, or to find directions, you have 7-30 seconds to keep their attention. If people can’t find what they need, they will go elsewhere. A cluttered website is not only irritating, it could be sending potential church members away in frustration.

Increase the effectiveness of your church website with a content strategy.

We interviewed dozens of ministry leaders and church communications professionals for our latest report, “Effective Church Content Strategies.” We wanted to show you what can happen in the life of a local church when their website is organized. A clear process emerges that savvy church leaders use to accomplish organizational and ministry goals. Conversely, this white paper will show you what happens when churches do not have a content governance in place for their online presence. (Hint: words like “painful,” “messy,” and “frustrating” sum it up!)

Learn how to assess the content that is already on your church website.

Melissa Therrien of Eagle Brook Church shares the story of when the staff went through a content auditing process. Each page on the website was sifted through with a fine-tooth comb, asking questions like:

  1. Does this content accomplish our goal to reach people for Christ?
  2. Does this help people who are wanting to find out about our church find what they need?
  3. Do we know what our call to action is?

Does the content on your church website have this level of clarity and purpose? If not, you’ll learn how to start the content strategy process for your church.

Additionally, you’ll learn how to make your online content readable, understandable, findable, and actionable. Put simply, your church website will work for the user, not against it.

There’s a quote from the report that sums things up nicely: If your church can not be Googled, it does not exist. The church website is the new front door to the organization. Make sure when users come knocking, they find you standing with the door open, saying, “we’ve been waiting for you…Come on in.”

 Go here to download the report.
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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Top 3 Approaches to a Multisite Church Website

The multisite revolution is underway as more churches nationwide are choosing to launch new campuses. According to Outreach Magazine, 75 of the 100 Largest Churches in America are multisite. There are myriad reasons to explain this transition, the biggest one being the cost efficiency to broaden the church’s reach. Regardless of why, the trend continues.

The idea of “one church, multiple locations” isn’t new to the local church. In fact, it’s as old as the New Testament itself. Perhaps that’s why multisite churches baptize more people, have more volunteers, and produce more diverse communities than single-site churches.

With all the positives, having multiple sites creates unique and specific challenges for churches seeking to organize content, provide value, and accomplish missional goals with their website.

At MonkDev we help thousands of churches use technology to further the gospel. Lately, more of our clients are coming from a multisite community. We partner with these churches to help build out a web strategy that appropriately translates their organization’s mission online. (If that interests you, click here to learn about our Web Strategy Services for Churches.)

We want to spend the next few weeks exploring multisite web presence trends. We’ll unpack one example each week. This week, I’ll provide a brief outline of the specific examples we’re seeing in multisite communities.

Here they are from least common to most:

Trend #1: Universal Website – Multicampus Information

The least common method is to have a universal website representing the entire church while listing information for different campuses in the navigation. This approach works well in a densely-populated area where events throughout the week are available to all and are less “campus” dependent.

The challenge here is usability. This approach requires users to determine what context the content or events apply to. If they aren’t familiar with your community, they may choose not to participate at all.

Trend #2: Standalone Campus Websites

This method works well when one church has multiple locations with separate preaching pastors and/or leadership teams. A church can convey that, while they are bound together in mission, each location has a unique identity. Locations have greater autonomy in developing their web presence.

The challenge presented with this approach is website management. Many church teams struggle with keeping content fresh on one site. Managing multiple websites can add significant content challenges. Be sure to keep cost in mind!

Trend #3: Universal Website – Campus Select Option

This approach is the most common of the three we’ve listed. The biggest benefit here is clearly identifying your site locations and asking you user to self-identify with one of them. Teams managing the website also benefit from keeping church branding uniform. Content is managed easier with this approach, as one person can push content to multiple sites.

Conversely, if you’re not working with a CMS (a content management system like Ekklesia360) with this strategy, you run the risk of duplicating content, pages, etc.

 

Conclusion on Multisite Web Presence Strategies

Churches who choose multisite have much to think about. According to our own research, 51% of members and visitors stated the church’s website was somewhat to very important in their decision to attend the church. That number, by the way, keeps increasing.

If you’re a member of a multisite community, or even considering it, this blog series will be important for you to follow in the weeks ahead.

To begin this series, go here.

Read more from Justin here.

 

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Justin Wise

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Multisite Church Website Approach 1: Keep It Under One Roof

Multisite church planting has gone mainstream. As goes the church, so goes the website. We’re going to go in-depth with the Universal Website with Multicampus Information approach.

As we stated in the introduction to this series, the advantage to this type of site is having all the information under one digital content roof. It works extremely well in densely-populated areas where events throughout the week are available to all and are less campus dependent.

In most cases, the reasons for going multisite revolve around cost efficiency to broaden reach. Why have people drive 30 minutes to a campus when they can drive five and bring more of their neighbors with them?

If, however, a church is in a densely populated area, and mass transit is readily available, the geographical area to work within is much smaller.

Mutlisite communities like this can “blend together” without the need for developing separate identities for each campus. A member might participate in the men’s ministry at one campus and worship at another. Why? The campus for men’s ministry is closer to their work and the worship community campus is closer to their house. Convenience plays a larger factor in church attendance than most would care to admit.

Here are a few examples to consider as you map out your multisite website. While these churches are located in larger population centers, this approach can also be adapted for smaller communities. (For instance, The Leadership Network released a survey that said the median size today for a multisite church is 1,300 attendees.)

Park Community Church – Chicago, IL

When you click the campus links at the top of the page, Park Community Church shows you a “snapshot” for each location.

Each site displays the latest message, a featured event, contact information, and physical address. Great for gauging which location is most relevant for the user.

 

Redeemer Presbyterian Church – New York City, NY

Redeemer Presbyterian gathers all of their campus information onto one main site. The upper left corner allows users to sift through content for each campus using tabs. The benefit of this approach having all church-related content under one “roof.” The URL is fantastic as well!

 

Woodlands Church – Woodlands, TX

Woodlands Church lists all of their campuses on one page, giving the addresses, phone numbers, and service times for each location.

Once you’ve located a campus that works, you can view the events for that location. Best feature? The ability to filter events by ministry areas. This approach keeps users in one location, cutting down on distraction and location confusion.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an easy to way to start with a multisite church website, this approach may be best for you. Leave the microsite and stand-alone site planning for later.

Read the Introduction to this series here; read Part 2 here.

Read more from Justin here.

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Justin Wise

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

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Multisite Church Website Approach 2: Standalone Sites

We continue our Multisite Church Website series this week by looking at “Standalone Sites.” This is when churches choose to create separate sites for each one of their campuses. (By contrast, you might want to revisit last week’s post on churches who keep all campuses under one digital “roof.”)

This method works well when one church has multiple locations with separate preaching pastors and/or leadership teams. A church can convey that, while they are bound together in mission, each location has a unique identity. Locations have greater autonomy in developing their web presence.

We are working with Harbor Presbyterian here in San Diego to implement this strategy. Harbor chose this method because while it’s one church community, each campus has its own preaching pastor and leadership team.

At Harbor, each campus serves as a local area church with shared central services. Additionally, each campus has its own visual brand, contextualizing each campus for the communities they seek to reach. The church has seven locations and is launching new ones each year, with some being as far as an hour apart.

Here’s what their main site looks like. Note the different locations:

 

 

The Chula Vista site:

 

It should be noted that this approach requires a healthy amount of resources. With separate sites, each online outpost must be managed individually. Content creation, design, and updates must be accounted for on each site.

Aside from Harbor, here are a few more examples of churches who use the “Standalone Site” approach for their multisite website strategy.

 

Multisite Church Website Example – Highland Park

While Highland doesn’t have a true standalone solution, I chose to include it because each campus site is designed differently. Visually, they’re telling the user these faith communities are different. Some of campuses have their own microsite while others exist as a page on the main site. The giveaway is the URL structure.

Here’s the main site:

 

Here’s the page for one of their more modern worship communities.

 

Multisite Church Website Example – Woodlands United Methodist

The Woodlands has a structure similar to Highland Park. The separate campus has it’s own website, URL, and theme. Visually speaking there are similarities between the main site and the Loft campus. They are distinct enough to communicate a difference.

The main site.

 

The Loft Campus site.

 

Conclusion

The Standalone Solution would work well for churches who have more of a distributed ministry model. Each campus would be responsible for updating its own content, sermons, events, and ministry info. The downside? It can take more internal resources to manage and execute effectively.

To read the previous posts in this series: Introduction; Part 1. To read Part 3, go here.
To read more from Justin, go 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 agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.