December 2, 2015 Joanna Gray

Five Ways to Use Your Website to Improve Church Engagement During Christmas

As church leaders, we’re used to looking ahead on the calendar and enjoying multiple holidays at the same time. We plan carol sing-alongs by day and then go home and hear about the first field trip of the school year.

During Advent and Christmas, there’s a natural increase in your audience. Take the opportunity now (beforehand) to make sure your website is ready to greet these new visitors and serve your existing congregation. We’ve compiled six great ways to do just that:

  • Improve your website’s Next Steps: Provide clear, easy ways to dive deeper. This is your chance to not confuse your reader, but help direct them. When you write a blog post or plan an event, keep the thing you want people to do in mind. If you want them to “sign-up” or “share” or “invite,” make this call-to-action clear and obvious. Provide information to those who are “new here” and for those looking to “join” or “lead.”
  • Highlight volunteer registration: Drive community engagement with volunteering. There are usually many extra service opportunities during the holiday season. If your church doesn’t have ministries, look for local food banks, shelters, etc. This is a great chance to get your congregation to use your website to look for these events and also to register for them.
  • Encourage sending invitations: Make it easy for your congregation to invite their friends and family. You can easily set up eVites to encourage members to bring new people to church events. 
  • Write festive blog posts with special seasonal readings: Christmas can be a great time to get your congregation and visitors subscribed to your blog. Make sure you’re providing something they’d want to receive, be a help to regular study and meditation with weekly or daily readings.
  • Use consistent graphics, slides, images, etc: This is a great chance to present a unified look and make a great, festive, first impression. For better or worse, many people today make snap decisions about churches based on things like “how it looks” and if it feels “old fashioned.” Having a coordinated, professional look is especially important during a first impression — and you’re making more of those than usual during Advent and Christmas.

Use these ideas as you plan the next weeks and months of your communications efforts. Keep new visitors in mind and make things easy. Keep your congregation in mind and make it clear to them how they can get even more involved. Don’t hide the great work going on at your church.

Let me be the first to offer not only tips, but also some tangible help. Over at Ekklesia 360, a great hand-painted set of Advent and Christmas graphics is available for free.

Photo Credit: faheja via Compfight cc

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Joanna Gray

Joanna is the Marketing Content Strategist and writes for Monk Dev, builders of Ekklesia 360, with a focus on helping churches get organized and communicate online more effectively. At Ekklesia 360, we blog to help you help your church grow and mature - with an emphasis on your church's website. Writing for pastors and communicators, we are always sharing tips, tricks, best practices, and encouragement for your life as you run a church. Joanna gets really excited to write about how people think and how they decide to act -- especially when it comes to the intersection of the workplace and your ministry goals. She tweets from @MonkDev and would love to know what your biggest communications challenges are. She works, plays, and serves in beautiful San Deigo, CA after spending her youth in (also beautiful) Michigan.
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