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:

  • 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.


  • 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)


  • 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