Goodmanson

Transform Organizations through Mission Alignment

The Truth about Church Websites and Effective Online Outreach

Thank you for all who participated in today’s webinar, nearly 80 people signed-up for it. For those who missed it, here was the description of the webinar:

We have all heard about the importance of a church website, the craze of social networking and the need for pastors to blog. But how effective are these strategies really in being missional and gathering people? Learn from a 2009 study on “The State of the Church Online: Websites & Mission” involving numerous church websites & strategies where we learn what really is happening. Answer questions such as: How effective is your church website? What can you do to improve this? Who is visiting your website? Why are they really visiting? Where are these visitors coming from? What are best practices in design and outreach? Learn how to enhance your web ministry and impact hundreds, if not thousands of people. This valuable session will equip you with practical strategies that your church can implement whether you are an online expert or a beginner.

Information about the study:

  • 74 churches participating (target = 100) Sign your church up to participate in the study.
  • web analytics
  • congregational surveys
  • phase II : interviews/case studies
  • church size range of 5 to 45,000 people
  • 27 internal designer & 20+ other designers

We are releasing some of the key findings from a sample set of our research (the full research project will last 2-3 months longer).

  • 0% of respondents who were Non-Christians said their going to church was influenced by the church website.
  • 6% of participating churches had a gospel presentation on their website.
  • 27% of the respondents said the church website was how they first learned about the church.

websiteusage We looked at 3-case studies of College Park Church, Park Community Church & Kaleo Church. We looked at the content viewed as categorized by activities a New Visitor would access (Service Times, I’m New Here type information) versus Events or Media. (see graph) We compared these to a few other churches who were receiving 4-11% of new visitor traffic and made some design observations. We also looked at where the online visitors were coming from to visit these churches.

We shared research based on segmenting three different profiles: Visitors (attending the church for under 3 months), Beginners (3-6 months) and Regulars (6+ months). Here are some of the findings based on the profiles:

Visitors

  • 77% said the church website was somewhat to very important in my decision to attend the church.
  • 83% said the church website was somewhat to very important in facilitating their participation in the church community.

Beginners

  • 45% said the church website was somewhat to very important for their ongoing discipleship and spiritual growth.
  • 73% said the church website was somewhat to very important in sharing their faith with others (friends, business colleagues, others)

Regulars

  • 27% said they visit the church website more than once a week.
  • Feature Rated Most important: Listen or ability to download Sermons.
  • Most requested functionality: Ability to post prayer requests or needs.

Again thank you there was a lot more information from this, if enough people comment below that they’d like to hear it we’d be happy to schedule another webinar.

Future Webinars: Beyond the Web 2.0 Noise: How to use the Internet to Disciple & Create Real Community

11 Comments

  1. wow, great study… we just finished up a new website but developed it to be fully involved, feeds, podcast, etc etc… web2.0 was a must

  2. I just came across this and we’re developing a new site, and would like to see links to outstanding sites in this study.

  3. SALIM MAYEKI SHABAN

    March 10, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Am interested .how can my network of 300 churches be part of this noble work you are doing.Please let me hear from you
    Our Mission is creating an authentic Christian community that
    effectively reaches out to unchurched people in love, acceptance and
    forgiveness so that they may experience the joy of salvation and a
    purposeful life of discipleship.
    Our Vision is bring in to believe, build up to belong and send out to serve
    Our Core Values
    The word of God, Prayer and Worship, community of small
    groups(Relationships, trust building, transparency, truth telling,
    healing and growth),empowering leaders with integrity, need oriented
    evangelism, excellence and church planting.
    Our Strategy is to create this authentic Christian community by
    gathering people together in small groups of ten or less for
    care, encouragement, spiritual growth and loving new people to Christ.
    With Much Love
    Salim Mayeki Shaban
    President
    African Christians Organization Network

  4. Great stuff, Drew. Really valuable.

  5. Would love to hear more. If you have another webinar, I’d be there!

  6. We were contacted recently by a company in Scottsdale, AZ called MCJC Ventures, LLC that is providing an existing “texting” platform to get a daily message out to a charity or church’s donors or members. I called the company (480) 236-9272 and asked them about it, they gladly sent me some information on it. I asked them if they have any churches currently using their texting platform and they told me Creflo Dollar Ministries and Jamal Bryant Ministries (but mainly megachurches in the Phoenix area) have been using it for some time now. They charge each donor or “subscriber” as he put it $4.99/mo. to get a daily custom text message directly from the church and the church gets a good portion of that! Seems there may be a new technology for revenues for charities now with this! Anyone else heard about this?
    Carla

  7. Carla – That sounds suspicious to me. $4.99/mo per subscriber? I had a reporter contact me from the Wall Street Journal about this who was looking into Creflo and this service.

    From a search it looks like you’ve posted this question elsewhere (eg. http://philanthropy.com/news/prospecting/8568/new-iphone-application-could-help-charity-fund-raising) so my assumption is there may be more connection to this service than appears.

  8. Very impressive study, I the lead webmaster over at SaintReed.com and I’m moving the Social Network platform to the facebook layout
    “more open and straight forward”

    We do have our Sermons online for free, and we have a professional design but amiture look to the videos, so people can feel what the church is really about…

    I push to keep the content up, and the message of God Straight forward!

    but by your studies I see I’m on the right path but I have more work to do…

    Very good study!

  9. Interesting study. I can’t wait to hear the final results.

    One question on this. How does the study work in comparison to each of the church’s online SEO marketing efforts. I ask this because there are too many church websites that look great but have not done anything to get listed for key terms in the search engines (i.e. city name + “church” or neighborhood/area ” “Church”). Their sites have traffic only from their current members.

  10. John,

    This study helped form the basis for http://www.churchweboptimizer.com/ to help churches with their SEO and online presence needs.

  11. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    I man Rev. V.T Samuel, Pastor and Bible Teacher in Myanmar. I have Spring Forth Bible Ministry, and under this there are Independent Biblical Baptist and Church Planting Program, Hermon Morning Dew Spiritual Journal (Media program) and planning to have Bible Training School as well as caring and nurturing for the needy of the poorest christian workers family. Therefore, I am seeking for the financial aids for purchasing the land as well as the source of the income for running the ministry. I will grateful if you can work with us for the glory of God.

    Rev. V.T Samuel
    1#A, Aungmingala St., Shwenatha Canpiah,
    Laydawnggan, Patthamya Myothit, Mingaladon,
    Yangon, Myanmar.
    Email. vansumpaz@gmail.com

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