In this week’s episode, we’ll discuss the must-have pieces of content you absolutely need on your church website!
Rohn and Isabelle define what a church website content strategy is and share specific pieces of content you must absolutely have on your church website. Plus, we’ll walk through how you can easily add and edit home page sliders on your ChurchSpring website.
Hello, and welcome to ChurchSpring Live episode zero zero six. Thank you so much for joining us today. Get ready, strap yourself in because today you are going to learn the must have pieces of content you need on your church website. We are going to define what a church website content strategy even is and how that impacts and drives the content you need to have on your website. And then I will show you some really fun ways that you can edit your homepage sliders and how you can highlight certain pieces of content right within your, your sliders. So again, welcome to ChurchSpring Live I'm Isabelle with ChurchSpring on the support team. And with me today is Rohn Gibson co-founder of ChurchSpring. So for those of you who are new to ChurchSpring, we are a software provider committed to the great commission.
So we help church leaders all over the nation by, by providing really practical tools, just like this ChurchSpring live to really aid in growing the local church for the glory of Christ. So we are excited to dig into today's content. And we want to hear from you. So if you can take a moment right now to share who you are, share your name, your church name, where you're from drop a comment right down below here. You will have to give stream yard access so that we can display your name and where you're from. Again, we, we want to hear from you and we want to interact with you.
Yeah. So I see we've got a few people joining us, which is awesome. So we look forward to like Isabelle said, go ahead and put your name, your church name. Tell us where you're from. Also, if you have any questions about content strategy, go ahead and feel free to go ahead and put those in there. We're going to answer as many of those as we can during our time here today. Also we are streaming for the first time on YouTube. So not only are we on Facebook, we're also on YouTube. We tried to do LinkedIn this morning, however StreamYard didn't like them very much this morning, so we're not there yet, but that is to come. So we're excited about the possibility that exists there as well. So if for whatever reason you have to jump off of this episode and you're not able to watch the whole thing live.
Don't worry. We will post the video to all of those social channels. We just mentioned on Facebook as well as YouTube. In addition, probably the best place for you to go. And look is on churchspring.com/CSL006. Again, CSL for ChurchSpring Live. So churchspring.com/CSL006. And not only will we post the video, we'll have all the show notes and links to all the resources that we mentioned. So if you do have to bounce off, no worries. You can always come back and check that out there. So before we jump in awesome. We've got some people we've got, let's see, Carol Lewis joining us from Advent Christian Church in Iowa. Hey, there you go. Iowa represent! I'm up in Northwest Iowa.
That's where Rohn's located. We don't just get randomly excited about Iowa.
Awesome. We've got, let's see, we've got Wayne joining us from First Lutheran church and Texarkana, Texas. Welcome Wayne. Glad to have you here. And then we've got, let's see, is that a no different church? The Wayne's threw me there. So pastor at Trinity Lutheran church. Uthank you for joining us as well. One last one here. Uwe have Nancy Foster from St. Louis Bibleway, church in St. Louis, Missouri. So welcome Nancy. We are absolutely thrilled to have all of you here today. So again, just as a reminder, if you do have any questions as we go through this, feel free, no matter what platform you're on, go ahead and submit a comment. It will come into us and we will answer as many of those questions as we can today. So,uone question for you all, and we want this to be interactive.
We don't want this to just be a one way conversation. We really do want to hear from you. So the question that I have for you is what is the desired outcome you hope to achieve with your church website? So what does that, that number one desired outcome or goal that you hope to achieve with your website? So go ahead, put your answer in the comments. We'll wait just a couple seconds here would love to see some answers on that. And I really hesitate to give any just cause I don't want to influence your decision at all, but what is that desired outcome? What would you like to see? What's the number one goal that you would like to see happen from your new church website? So go ahead and post those. We're going to dive in. We have got a ton to cover today and these are some very, a very important topic. So let's dive in. Yeah,
Yeah. Rohn, you, you can't stress that enough. We have a lot to talk about today and I know for many of our listeners, a church website content strategy may be a little overwhelming. Or if you're listening right now and you don't really know what a church website content strategy even is, that's okay because we are going to unpack what it is and then what you can do with it. So our goal at, with ChurchSpring live here is not just to talk about the topic, but also give you some really great steps and action items of what you can do after you listen. So again, like Rohn said, you can't attend the full episode today, then make sure to watch the rewatch because there's a lot of great content that you do not want to miss today. Okay, Rohn, so let's dive into it. What exactly is a church website content strategy and how can it even help a church?
Yeah. So content strategy is one of the most critical components of your church website. And I feel like I said that every week, but content strategy is just one of those parts and pieces that when you go to a website, you can tell, like, I can tell if you know about website development, content strategy, you can tell right away there was just really no real strategy when they put this website together. So content strategy would be defined as the planning development and management of content written or in other medias. So you notice most people when they think of content, they think of the words on the page, but content, as we look at content strategy refers to all of the elements, whether it's you know, written content, whether it's visual content, it could be audio visual content. It could just be audio content. So we want to take into consideration all of the parts and pieces.
And again, it's the planning development and management of content in all media form. So again, this is a term that was coined back in the nineties or the late nineties and has become a paramount step of the process of developing an effective website. So having a lot of agency experience working with a lot of customers, many times, they don't realize the importance of content strategy and how that ultimately is a significant dictator of them achieving the ultimate outcome that they want from their website. So, number one, remember, it's not just the words on the page. We're talking about all the different types of content next, and we've actually asked you this question, which is great. Cause we have some people who have already done this define what is the desired outcome or goal that you want to achieve with your website. That's really going to be, that's going to give you tremendous clarity on what type of content, how you design your site.
If your site, you know, we've got some great answers here. I'm going to go and show a couple and Bailey, thanks for that comment campus visits. That's going to be a very popular one that we see another one and we've got members and visitors using it. So those are two audiences, right? So those are two different audiences. And we have to keep that in mind as we actually develop the site and make sure that we're meeting both of those needs. Carol, let's see, we've got one from Carol here, attract more people to come to our congregation. So this is great. You all are way ahead of the curve already because you've actually, you've already thought through what is that desired outcome and goal that I'm looking for. So the second thing you want to do again, is to find the audiences. So if we've talked about existing members, we want them to come to the site and actually find it as a useful tool and not just this online brochure, you know, for new visitors, but actually use for useful tool for existing visitors, whether certain types of content that you need to have on the site and vice versa.
If your goal, your major goal, your number one goal for your church website is you want to have visitors come to your local gathering. Well, that's going to heavily dictate then the type of content and how you structure your website. So we're going to talk about that here a little bit. So it's important to find your audience next. There's a site map component, and we're going to talk about that a little bit more. You want to think through your micro content. So that's the, the pieces of content that I hate to say this oftentimes get overlooked and we're gonna talk about what those are and give you literally a list of here's the things right now that you can write down, go to your church website and make sure these pieces of content are on there. So we're going to get into that. And then as a designer, I'll be honest.
This pains me to say this, but your design of your website should be driven by your content strategy. So what happens many times is you'll go to designers say, Hey, design me a church website. And then you get this thing that doesn't really meet the needs of your ministry. And it's like, well, why? It just feels like there's this magic secret that I don't know how to make an effective church website. And it's because you're doing it backwards. So we're going to talk a little bit more about content strategy and dive into each one of these things specifically to bring clarity to that. But again, just to summarize content strategy refers to the planning development and management of content, and that's both written content, visual audio, all the types of content on your site to help you achieve that specific goal. Yep. Yep.
That's great. I love also your last point there design should be driven by your content strategy. I know you're, you're a designer and that's kind of your, your background run. So that's not us saying that design is not important and design of your website really crucial to your members and your visitors having a good, easy experience on your website. But they have to know what they're supposed to be doing on their website. Their, their goal needs to be met when they get on their website. So thank you for unpacking that run. So how do you create a church website content strategy? What are the steps that we can take to start creating this, this type of strategy?
Yeah. So we're going to talk about six specific things that you really need to think about when you're creating your content strategy. So number one, and we've talked about this, you're going to, we're going to repeat lot of things cause it's super important. So define the desired outcome or the goal of your website and be really clear. We're not talking well, I have five number one goal, and nothing's going to get achieved. I'm the queen of that, the planning process right now for our next 90 days of what are the new tools and resources we're going to make available? And my goodness, yes, it is so difficult to just pick one like this is, if we only do one thing, this is the one thing we have to do and do really well over the next 90 days. So I know it's hard. I'm not saying it's not hard, cause it is hard.
But what is the number one goal? If you could only pick one thing and the answers we had was related to existing members and new visitors, I'm not saying you like at the end of the day, you're going to totally neglect one or the other, but like just what is the number one thing. If we could only do one thing, this is what our church website needs to do for us. So I know we've got a few in there already. If you're just joining us, feel free. What is the number one outcome that you want to see with your church website? So again, define the desired outcome. Once you do that, it's going to give you tremendous clarity on what is the core audience. And I'll say a positive, you know, audiences, but ultimately just, just to look at it this way, I'll just try to simplify it.
We know that most churches, it's probably a 80/20, or even maybe a 60/40, where it's, we, we, we want to reach more people. You know, that's part of discipleship. That's part of what we're called to do is to reach our communities. So that doesn't mean you ignore them, but it means you structure your website geared in a way that's going to make it super easy for people to come and visit your local gathering. But you're still going to have content on there. Okay. If we were to, if we were to look at those two and I said, 60% visitors, 40% existing members, then our number one goal is we want to get people to come to our church website. So that is our, the thing that's in the forefront of our mind as we design develop our content strategy. Okay. So define your core audience.
You're number one, number two, and you can even break it down. Percentages, try as hard as you can. It's not 50/50. Cause then you just got a big cluster. Really think that through, and you may even need to have some conversations with, you know, people in your, in your church. So I'd encourage you to do that. Define your top priority content. So based on your desired outcome, based on your core audience, what are the top priority pieces of content that you absolutely have to have on your website to drive that outcome? Okay. So we're going to dive more into that develop your site map. So the difference between types of content and site maps, site maps, really going to be the list of like pages. So a hierarchy of on your site where you're listing your top priority content, it could be things like, well, we want a welcome video on our welcome page from our pastor inviting, we want to do a tour of our church.
So people, even before they come, they know where to park. They know where the restrooms are, they know where all that is. So that's what I mean by really developing those core pieces of content. And then the site map is going to tell you where those pieces of content are going to live on your site. Okay. so in addition to that, you really want to think through those main pages, but also really thinking through the micro content. So things like your church name and your church logo, if you have a church logo, having being on every single page, making sure your address is easy, making sure the phone number is easy to find. So really thinking through all of those factors when you're creating that list of core content, and then lastly, it's select the design that best helps you achieve your desired outcome.
Okay. So there's people, you know, they'll do a one page design or they'll have 20,000 pages. We talked to a lot of churches every single week and they, they list, you know, we visit some of their websites and there's just tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of content, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Content can be good. It's really good content. But you want to make sure that ultimately you're not looking at all this archive content that you maybe you want to migrate over and therefore that actually detracts from your desired outcome. You want to kind of clean slate. Here's what we're going to do. Here's our desired audience, here's our desired outcome. And therefore what content, you know, potentially do we need to bring over to to get that desired outcome. So making sure that you're selecting your design, that's very much in line with your content strategy.
Yep. Yeah. And with ChurchSpring, we do have ready to go designs for your church website that are based on best practices on kind of highlighting or showcasing certain aspects within your website that we have kind of deemed that should, that are recommended pieces for your content strategy. So you don't have to go out and hire some, some other designer to, to select the design that's in line with your content strategy. And so if you, if you're listening right now and you're a little overwhelmed because this is, this is a lot of information that's okay. Stop and take a deep breath and just pull up a word document or a scratch pad. Or I have a whiteboard in my room here and just start kind of brainstorming everything that Rohn just talked about. So again, what is your desired outcome? Who is your audience?
How, how does that break down? And just put it on paper that will help when you are developing your site map, because then you'll have identified, okay, these are the pieces of content already have, or I want to have and then this is how it all fits in. And then, and then when you are putting it in your site map on a piece of paper on your white board, on your, your word processor then you can identify, I don't really know what I'm, I don't know what I'm doing. I need a lot more content here or wow. Content is not as much of an issue as I thought now. I just need to figure out how to organize it. So sit down, just take a couple minutes to really organize all of your thoughts and ideas, because it can be really fun.
I love this process because you can get creative with, with your website and with how you're presenting your church yourself to new visitors. So this is a great opportunity to, like Rohn said, talk with your, with other people within your church, talk with those who are leading up the, the volunteer crew or the guest hospitality crew and really get creative to see how, how can you have fun with your website, websites and content should be fun. And also serious and, you know, answering the frequently asked questions, but it doesn't, it doesn't have to be a boring online presence.
Yeah. And I think that we've kind of talked about a lot of the nitty gritty. And what we're about to jump into is literally like, just write this down. We're literally giving you, going to give you the checklist of things. So get your pen in your paper. Ready? Just like Isabelle said, go ahead. Maybe take a drink of water. So you get the juices flowing. We're literally going to tell you the top 10 things we're going to deliver on that promise. So let's dive into the next one. Yeah.
Yep. So what are some key pieces of content that churches absolutely must have on their church?
Yes. So get your pen and paper ready here. And I know some of these may seem obvious. However, we have people who are listening to this at all different levels and we see all kinds of things at ChurchSpring. So some of these are gonna share, you're just gonna yep. Check, got it. Some are like, okay, I need to go check on that. So, number one, you need to have your church name and logo at the top of every single page on your church website. One of the things that a lot of people think is that everyone enters through the homepage. That's not true. People could be out there searching on Google for a specific question, or maybe it's a sermon title that, you know, happened to be preached two years ago. And they come specifically to that page to watch that sermon. So it's super important that the church name and that logo at the top of every single page.
So a person knows, okay, where, where am I at? We have some that just do the logo icon. And I know there's people that like to be more minimal and like to do that. However, just because you're, you're going to have your church named multiple times on your homepage, for sure. But even on some of the other pages of your site, still put it in what we call the header. So that's not top section of your church website, your church name and logo should be at the top of every single page. So if you're doing that, give us a, give us a quick like, or let us know. Yep. Got it covered. So put it in the comments. Yes. Got it covered. Let us know that number two, phone number and address should be on every single page of your website. Again, you have no idea where somebody is going to come in.
Most traffic will come to your homepage, but on average, it's probably going to be around 60% or less. So there's still this significant group, depending on how much content you have that are not going to come to that homepage. So you want to make sure your phone number and your address are listed on every single page, many times, kind of as a best practice. It goes in the footer, which is that bottom section of your church website, that's on every single page. And then what we recommend on the homepage itself is that there's a section either above the fold. So we, we talk about that being what you see when you first come to a site or at the very least, if they just have to scroll just a little bit, to be able to get your phone number, your address, and all that vital information service times super, super important. So number two, phone number and address on every single page of your site. Yep.
Oh, I see Nancy. She went ahead and said, yes, they do have the church name and logo at the top of every page. So go Nancy you're ahead of the game here. Good job.
Awesome. Great work. All right. So next, and this is super important photos of your church, your leadership team, actual church related photos. And we know that, you know, stock photography, we give you a ton of, of royalty free stock photography, right inside of the church, bring image library and use it. I mean, use it however you want to make sure that when somebody visits your website and they see your church website, they get that same experience when they walk into the doors of your actual building. Okay. So take some pictures that, you know, maybe it's fellowship events or some different things like that, or even take pictures of your buildings. So people, when they pull up to a thing and say, yep, that's the church we're looking for. Make sure that the experience they see online matches up with the warm, inviting experience that you desire them to see and feel when they actually come to your local gathering. So again, photos of your church are great. The building as well as obviously the churches, the people leadership. So on the leadership pages, making sure you have great high quality photos of the leadership, it's super easy to have high quality photos today. If you have an iPhone or even an Android device, they make it so you can do the blurry backgrounds and get really great lighting. So take the time.
This is your camera, your phone, that's all that you need. You don't need it. You don't need a fancy, fancy camera DSLR Whip-out your cell phone. And you'll be good.
Yes. Yes. So good photos that truly represent your local gathering. So they don't feel like it's false advertising, right? If you, if you see something, you know, let's say it's store related and you see this thing and this food looks amazing. And then you go to the restaurant and order it and it doesn't look anything like that. What do you feel like? Or you feel like they just lied to me? So you want to make sure that those two experiences align and there's not this big disjointed experience between the two. Uso next you want to have sliders. So I'm, I'm kind of, I'll be honest, I'm cheating a little bit. I'm merging two into one, but it's really about communicating updates and announcements. Uand this is really important specifically for visitors as well as,uyour local congregation.
Obviously we just went through a pandemic, are still going through a pandemic. You're still having to communicate. So there's two features on that you should have on your site. And if you're a ChurchSpring user, as Isabelle said, we already take care of this for you, actually, all the things we mentioned we take care of for you, but we're still going to give you some practical tips on how to utilize them. Honestly, the blog is one of the most underutilized features of ChurchSpring. We'll see people sign up and then they remove blog. Cause they don't really understand how to use it correctly. And it's such a loss of a valuable tool. So what we recommend is for announcements that you use your sliders. So the sliders are they information right on your homepage. They'll slide across. It's great for putting announcements. You could put example COVID update, or if you're in an area that has winter, like I do, where you get lots of snow and sometimes you have to cancel church.
That's a great place to put that announcement on the slider, but don't try to put all the content there. That's what a lot of people do. They'll, they'll write paragraph after paragraph, after paragraph and try to put it in a slider. Don't do that. Put just a headline, a little piece of content and then a button that links over to your blog post. So what you would do is you would go add your blog post, church's canceled this date, or here's our COVID response. Here's how we're cleaning. Here's how we're doing these things. Make that a blog post and then go over and create a slider, a new slide on your sliders and link over to that blog post. So that's the perfect way to do announcements and create and share information in a very, very easy way as well as it creates a log.
So people can always go back and look for information. It's a great place, especially the blog. Even just follow up things after a sermon. So it's not just, Hey, we had the sermon on Sunday, but you could actually do like my pastor does and I love it. He'll send out an email on Thursday or Friday at the latest with, Hey, here's some scripture verses. Here's some things you need to think about. And he'll send out that email, which then helps me prepare my heart for the message on Sunday. And then on Monday you could send out a blog post or even update the slider with, Hey, here's some action items or specific things that you can do or be praying about related to that. So again, sliders and blog, you should absolutely have it on your site. It can be used in so many incredible ways.
So your start here page. So many of you are saying, I want campus visits. I want visitors to come to my church. What I would recommend you do. A lot of people, they have an about section. So some people call it about, I think it just from a high level content strategy perspective, if a brand new visitor comes to your site and they see a start here link, that's exactly. It's like, okay, I'm brand new. I'm going to click on this and I'm going to get the information I needed. So create a start here, page, worst case scenario, have an about, uhm, and about link on there. And then underneath those pages, you should have content like your leadership, a breakdown of your leadership with bio's or intros for them, your statement of phase what to expect, you know, when they come to your church, what are the things they need to think about? So do we have any questions we need?
Yeah. So it looks like Carol asked, you're talking about slides, but I must have missed something because I don't know. I don't know what that is. So could you quickly identify what its homepage slider is?
Yes. And I have great news. We're actually going to demo that today. Isabelle at the end is going to show you exactly what those are and even how to optimize them. But a slider is when you come to your homepage, there's going to be typically there's a headline, a little piece of content and image. And it really depends on the design. We have all kinds of different slider template options, but it's what slides across. So let's say that there's three sliders. So the first one comes up on the screen, it's got the information, then it rotates around to the next slide and it rotates around to the next slider. And that way to get that mission critical information that you want to share out there in an easy, quick way for people to see and find. So again, what we're going to demo that, so that it's still maybe just a little fuzzy, we're going to make sure that's crystal clear and actually go through a demo of that here today.
So hopefully that's helpful there for you, Carol. Okay. So your start here page again, we've talked about that. It's super important that you have a, a leadership page on your site and a little tip. So it would have a picture of your leadership, your pastor if you have an associate pastor or different staff members on there, making sure you have a leadership page, have a nice picture. We've talked about, you can use your cell phone. Literally you can just sell a phone and create a great picture to be posted on there and then have some information don't have it read like a resume. And there was a previous episode we did where we talked about that more in depth, but don't have it read like a resume, how to be very welcoming, introducing yourself to somebody, just like if you're walking up to somebody on the sidewalk, shaking their hand and say, Hey, my name is and then telling them a little bit about yourself. Okay. So absolutely need a leadership page. Feel free to interrupt. If there's questions that come in Wayne was agreeing with Carol
Said, thanks, Carol. I didn't know what sliders were either. So you guys are in the perfect episode. I'm really excited about that. Stay, stay tuned. And for the second part of this and you'll get a really good behind the scenes, look of what sliders are and the power that they have. So thanks. Thanks again, Carol for that.
Yes. And keep the questions coming. There's there's no such thing as a bad question. Other than the one you have that you don't ask. So please, we're here to serve you. So please ask those questions, great contact, having a contact page on your site, where somebody can easily reach out to you. There's a few things that should be on that page. Your phone number should be on that page, a map as well as a form that somebody can fill out to reach out to you. If they don't want to call, let's just say they just want to fill out a form and email you, and then you can reach out to them through email, make sure you have a contact page and those core components, by the way, if you use ChurchSpring, we already do all that for you. It's already there a calendar.
So for those, you said church members, if that's your major audience. And honestly, even if it's not, this is something that's super valuable for either one. You want to make sure you have an easy to use calendar on your site. That's mobile friendly again, what did we say? 70% or greater of the site, traffic to your site is going to come from a mobile device. So make sure it's a mobile optimized calendar and make sure that the functionality is built in that when the event's over it automatically removes it from your site, you don't have to go, yes, you don't have to go in and do that. Spoke to a pastor. And that was one of, he was embarrassed to send people to his church website because they had events on there from years ago. So with ChurchSpring, we do all that for you.
So you're in good hands there, but have a church calendar sermons, make sure you have sermons on there. So whether you post audio and again, you don't, you don't need all the fancy tech, if you're a church plant and you're just getting started. I mean, you could literally set your phone on the pulpit or whatever you use there and hit record and post the audio out there. So it makes sure you have sermons on there, whether it's audio, video links to the live stream, if you're offering a live stream and then having the live stream components like countdown clocks and all those really important things. But sermons must have content. Cause some people, I don't know if, if, if you can go back to when you were, you know, looking for a church or just different conversations that people have had with you, for somebody to be able to actually click and watch a sermon.
It already, it starts to like basically tear away that anxiety they have of coming to the church for the first time. So yes, it's for existing members who maybe missed it, but it's also very important for people who are looking to potentially visit your, your local gathering. Yeah. Yeah. Alright. Let's see, I've got one more and then I got a bonus for you, right? If you'd like to hear the bonus put bonus in the comments, if you'd like to hear the bonus, put the bone, otherwise I won't waste your time and we'll just forget it. So if you want to hear the bonus, but bonus in the comments, we'll share it with you. So giving you absolutely need to have a giving page on your church website, you might say, well, we don't do online giving it doesn't matter. You should still have a giving page on your church website.
If you do online giving, then obviously you want a giving page in your church website. However, when I talk about a giving page, it's not just a link over to this, you know, a pop up where you can fill out financial information and submit it. It's actually a page that talks about all the avenues in which somebody can participate in giving to your church. So it could be things like, Hey, visit the church and put it in the secretary's mailbox. If you have mailboxes at your church, it could be mail in your tithe or offering to this address. It could be click here to give online it may be text this number to give, so how they giving page on your church website and then to take it up another level. And this is where a lot of churches they don't, they don't get the full advantage of, of a page like this. They make it kind of hard to find. So if you use ChurchSpring, if you've got giving activated, we automatically put a giving button up in the header of your church website. So make sure that yes, you have a giving page that's optimized, but also that you have a button on every single page up in the header that says give, and they can click, go to the giving page, find out the ways to give and then participate in, in a way that meets their needs.
Yeah. Yeah.That's so important. Yeah. We cannot stress that giving page. I mean, we can't stress any of these items. There's a reason why I made the top 10. I don't know what number we're at checklist here. But even, I mean, for me, I've been going to my church for over three years and somehow I don't know how, but somehow I still forget the numbers supposed to text in for giving. I mean, I've been, I've been, I do this every month. I texted my, my, my giving. And so I go to my churches website, click the giving page and find that information. So for members like myself, we need that giving page. And during the pandemic, that was a super big resource to see if anything had changed with either mailing gifts or, or text gifts. So yeah, that, that getting pages is super important. And with ChurchSpring, it's really easy to update that information. So if you guys, if, if you do have a change of your giving methods, then it's super easy to just login quickly, update it hit save, and you're good to go.
Yes. Yes. Wonderful. And again, if you have questions, as we're talking through this, we are going to try to answer those questions, so feel free to enter them. So it sounds like we want, we want the bonus. We've got some bonus comments here. Yes. Alright. So we've already done talk about the contact page and how the contact page needs to have your, a map to your church. It needs to have a form that they can fill out. It also needs to have the phone number, the address, all the basic kind of blocking and tackling things of an optimized contact page. Okay. Like we said earlier, your homepage is where the majority of your traffic is going to is going to go. So what we recommend is that right on your homepage, you have a block. So if you're a current church, bring user, we have a block that's on every single website that's created with us unless you've removed it.
But then you can also add it back in. It's got a map as well as it's got a link directly where you can click on and it'll pull up. I believe it's Google maps is what we're using. If I'm not sure and somebody can, so let's say they're on their phone and they're looking for a church in your area. Maybe they're maybe they're just visiting into the area. Or maybe they just recently moved and they're searching on their phone, which by the way, the number of people that this is their primary computer that they use is just continuing to increase and increase. So people are searching for churches on their phone. When they come to your site on your homepage. I want them to be able to one click and get directions to come to your church. Imagine that person who they're trying to get to your church and maybe they got lost and they couldn't find where you are.
And they can just pull that up, click on the button to get directions. It pulls up Google maps. I can click this thing. This is basically give me directions to here. And then it'll give them that with their GPS to get them right to the door of your church. So make sure that you have a map with a call to action that says, get directions, click integrates with one of the main Google maps is one of the most used GPS things out there, especially on mobile devices or even cars now with Apple play and all those different tools. So make sure that you have a map with an easy call to action, get directions that will take them right to your church. So highly, highly encourage you to consider that as part of your content strategy and the main pieces of content that you absolutely must have on your church website.
I know we've covered a lot. That's 11 different things. I can kind of smell the smoke over here from people writing all of these things down but really do it after we get off here, schedule some time for you do a check. Do I have church name and logo? Do I have the phone number and the address do I have great photos of my church that's applicable? So when somebody visits my church, when they come and visit, it, doesn't feel like this totally separate experience. Are you using your sliders and your blog for announcements? Which again, we're going to talk to talk about the start here, page your leadership contact calendar with events that automatically remove giving and then the map with directions. So that's great. Must have pieces of content, whether you're trying to get visitors to your church or whether you're just desiring the majority, let's say it's 60% just ministering and serving existing church members. Those are all critical pieces of content to have in your church website.
Yeah, That was amazing Rohn. I don't know, but I'm sure all of our listeners, because I feel this way are just super amped up right now to just go and do an audit of my own church website and see what are some next steps. So if you just, if you're listening right now and if you're kind of feeling excited or overwhelmed, that's okay. Drop a comment. We want to know how you're feeling, because that was a lot of amazing information about how you can update your website. So just,
Yeah, and what's the number one piece of content. So as you look at this, I know we had some people that were maybe new to sliders and didn't quite know how they work. So maybe that's an under utilized part of your church website, but what is that? What, what, what is the piece that, as you heard those 10 plus a bonus, we'll say 11 things. Where's the biggest opportunity for your church website to improve. So let us know your thoughts in the comments that we'd love to hear those.
Yeah. So now that we've defined some key pieces of content that you have to have on your church website, are there any pieces of content, a church website should not have on their website?
Yes. This is a fantastic question. And again, many of these may seem obvious to many, but just know we come across these often. So number one, don't put your email address listed right there on the site. So we see so many people that they'll under their leadership page. They'll have the pastor's name and a little bio, and they'll say, feel free to reach me at. And they'll literally put the email address right there on the page. Don't do that. There's spiders that go out and index, and they're literally looking for email addresses that are going to add you to their spam list. And then you're going to start getting all kinds of unwanted spam emails to that address. So instead of doing that, create a link, reach out to us, make it a link and then link it to your contact page where people can fill that out.
And then it, and the code, it will email that information to you. So I know people like, well, you just said, don't put my email, but now put my email. What I mean is don't put your email out there in plain sight where people can see it. When you log into your contact page and you click on settings and then you enter that that's different where people aren't going to be able to index that and then spam you like crazy. So please do yourself a favor and your pastor, if you're the one managing the church website, and you're not the pastor, don't put anyone's emails directly on the page content as it will just, they'll just get a ton of spam. So be careful about sharing private information or prayer requests that are not approved for mass distribution. We know we have our hearts are, we want to serve, we want to pray for people.
We want to get the information out there. But just be, be careful. If, if I would always ask, is this something you're okay that we, we put out there publicly for people to pray about? And if the answer is no, or if you don't have approval for that, I wouldn't, I wouldn't post it out there. I'm also thinking about the missionaries. Maybe that your church supports many of those are in high risk areas. Just be considerate of that. So always think, okay, is this content, yes, we want to do good. The worst thing we can have happen is that I could actually hurt somebody. So just be careful about those missionaries and high risk areas. And just ask them, just ask, is it okay if we list you as one of our supported missionaries on our church website? If not, no worries, but just ask and they'll let you know.
And then lastly, and we, we hear this a lot. We don't want you to get the nasty grams from anybody. So unless you have permission to post content, whether it's photos, it could be music, it could be videos. If you don't have permission from the third party sources or it's not from a royalty free place that says, Hey, you use it as you wish. Don't use it. Any of the images when you launch your church ring website, as well as in the ChurchSpring library, we've gone out and we've curated. I mean, hundreds, thousands, eventually, but tens of thousands of images that are completely royalty free. So the creators of those have given us permission to distribute those to you to utilize in any way you want. So, but don't go to, don't go to Google, do a search for, let's say communion and then click on images and then just copy and paste an image over. Don't do that, click on it, make sure it's a royalty free image that you have permission. There's things called creative comments with which have different rights associated with them, but just short version without a legal lesson here, make sure you have permission to use the resources before you put them on your site. Otherwise you literally could get sued and we don't want that to happen. That's not a great testimony. That's not what we want to do. So anyway, those are four things to make sure that you do not put on your church website.
Yeah, that's great. Rohn. one resource, one free photo resource that I like to use is called Unsplash.com. And I can create a banner here. Well will be an in our show notes. So after this go to ChurchSpring well, CSL churchspring.com/csl006. But it's called unsplash.com. All of the photos there are free to use. So the photographers, they understand the need for some beautiful photos. And so they've given you permission to use it for free on website, whatever you need it for. So if you need kind of a specific website or a specific photo that isn't in the church, spring image library, start there. Sometimes that can be better than, than a Google search depending on what you're looking for. Yes, absolutely. So we have some really good questions. We, we have some questions, some comments Carol, I know you said here I'm so technically challenged.
I don't even know how to get a Google map. That's okay. That is okay. As, as Rohn mentioned with ChurchSpring, you, the maps is already integrated in your website, so you don't have to have a plugin. You don't have to figure out how to get a Google map. It really is as easy as, as soon as you type in your church address, then there's a section on your website that updates with your Google maps functionality. So when a visitor clicks your address, it will automatically link them to Google maps. So you don't have to do anything except put in your, your own church address.
Yes. Yeah. So that, that's just to say it again, the majority of what we just talked about, that's one of the benefits of your church being membership. We've done probably 80% or greater of this already for you. So that's a massive benefit to you. So you don't have to worry about Google maps. We've already taken care of it. Don't, don't try to figure that out. It's already, it's already there. If you have questions about it though, don't hesitate to reach out to our support team and that we'd be happy to answer any questions that you have there. So
Definitely. And then Nancy, you said that yes, you're feeling overwhelmed, amped and excited. Whew. That's a lot of emotions and try not try not to become stagnant and keep moving to get our site completed. Yes. Reach out to our team, Nancy. If you have questions about what you need to launch your website, depending on your needs, we can actually help transfer content from your old website to your new website. If that's something that you need help with, or we can just help answer any questions that you have, so reach out. Yeah. We want to make sure that we can help you get your site completed. David mentioned you mentioned a start page content, or do you mean just directions to other pages?
Yeah. So what I would do is have a start here page and then kind of have that be like the launching pad potentially to some of these other pages. So it could be, you know, on the start here page, you could have a welcome video and say, Hey, to learn more about us, click on these links below, which are also available. If you hover over the start here text and the navigation and your top navigation, then it could actually display those. So if somebody knows, okay, I already know I want to go see what their statement of faith is, or I want to go see what to expect. That it's super easy for them to get to where they want to go. So the answer to that question is yes, a "start here" page as, as links to these other resources that somebody, I think so often we don't put ourself in the seat of a visitor walking into the church for the first time.
And just think about that. I mean, we have so many different people with so many different experiences. Some people maybe they've left the church, or maybe they just came to know the Lord and they want to come to a church. I mean so many different scenarios. So it's super important that this just isn't an afterthought that we really think through. How do we meet the needs of this person walking in our virtual door of our website, that's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. How do we meet their needs? So really, really give that some thought we've given some examples, but let's be honest. What's needed maybe. And, and Northwest Iowa is going to be different than potentially what's going to be needed and Southern California or New England, like really think it through in your context, just say, how can we make this person feel comfortable, answer their questions. So when they come, they can literally feel like part of the family and not this outsider who has no idea what to expect when they enter your church for the first time.
Yeah, that's great. So Rohn, now that we've identified what a church website content strategy is how we can start creating that strategy. What do we do now?
Yes. So we're going to simplify it. We've talked about a lot of different things, but we're going to say as these are the three things to really get you started. So you can simply start by number one, what is your desired outcome, your number one desired outcome. Okay. So solidify that, make sure that everybody, if you're on a media team, maybe you are the media team I've been there. That everybody's on the same page with what the desired outcome of your church website actually is. Then based on that, define your audience. Obviously, if it's 60%, we're trying to serve existing church members. Well, you know that audience, well, what are they looking for? What do they need? What do we do to need to do, to communicate with them? So define that audience and then really come up with a site map. What are the main pages?
So typically we would do the top tier navigation and then kind of the sub navigation pages that would go underneath that. And that's a great start. So don't feel like you have to do a million different things to get started. Literally start with getting super, just having super clarity on what it is that we're looking to achieve with the website. What is the audience? And then what is the content and the site map, really? What is the content that we're going to put on the site to help us serve that audience, to achieve this desired outcome?
Hmm. That's great. Wow.
Yeah. So we've, we've talked about a ton of information. And again, if you're a churchChurchSpring memember, if you're not a ChurchSpring member, we literally do 80 plus percent of all this for you. Like our team's already gotten together, come up with a content architecture, how to do this correctly, how to align things. And if you activate giving, we automatically do a lot of the things we've just talked about today. If you have live streaming, we automatically give you a countdown. So like a lot of this we've already done for you. So if you're not a ChurchSpring member and you're like, man, this is super overwhelming. I don't even know where to go from here. Let us help you! Go to churchspring.com/demo. Literally my co-founder, Mike, and I will walk you through the process. You can ask any questions through chat, which is available during business hours.
You can ask questions, we'll answer those questions and we love to get you started. And then if you're ready, literally we may get risk-free. You can click on the button and the trial, or you can just go to churchspring.com/trial and sign up for a seven day free trial and less than 90 seconds. So you can have 80% of this done plus unless the 90 seconds, just by going to churchspring.com/trial and signing up today. And again, for the 20% or less that isn't there, we're here to help you. So if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help. So let's transition over. We've got some new features. Our team has been working super hard and we're excited about a release of a new feature. So tell us more about that.
Yeah, like you said, our team has been working so hard on updating our current platform, releasing new features. So we just launched a new inline editor that, Oh, will change your life. I love it. So you can now easily add buttons right within your inline editor. So simple. You don't have to do any coding. You just follow a couple of clicks, some prompts and you have a beautiful button that matches the design of your website. So again, no coding whatsoever. You can place any embed codes if you use any third party platforms. So you can place any embed codes. You can easily add videos. You can even add my favorite. You can add a slight border on images that you're adding right within this editor. So you can change the look slightly of those images. So if you're new to ChurchSpring like Rohn said, go to churchspring.com/trial, you can test it out.
If you're currently a member, kick the tires a little bit, go in and make, add a new blog post and have fun with that, that new inline editor you'll, you'll have really fun. And again, if you have questions, reach out, send us a ticket and we will help answer any questions that may, that may come up here. So, all right. I know that a few of our listeners have commented that they're kind of new to ciders. So I'm really excited to show what page are and how it can really help navigate it can help your members and your, your visitors navigate your website. So I'm going to share my screen here. And for everybody who is listening, whether you're little listing live or you're watching a recording, if you have questions about sliders, drop a comment. So then Bron here, he'll let me know if there's any questions as I'm going through to edit the, the sliders Oregon send in a ticket and we'll make sure that we can help you answer any questions that you have. So sliders are a really great way to highlight specific areas within your website. So let me set up my screen real quick here. And I will give you all a quick little tour of sliders here. So sliders on your ChurchSpring website, It is this section right here -
That automatically rotates. Uso right now I'm logged in on my website. And so it won't automatically rotate. However, when you are logged out to any visitors,uthe sliders automatically rotate,uthere are so many fun things you can do with your homepage sliders. So I will give you a quick tour. Uyou can change your background images. You can even change the entire background section to a background video. So to do that, you'll simply select the option he gave you some really cool photos,ualready kind of recommended based on your design that you've selected. But if you want to change this slide background section to a video or to a different image, you'll just click background, click custom, and then you'll have the option here to upload your own file. Or you can add a YouTube,ubackground video.
So one thing to know is that you do have to link to a YouTube video specifically. And then you'll also just add an image here two for the, to appear on mobile instead of the, the background video. So if you're a church thing member login right now and grab a, a cool worship background video on YouTube and add that to your background slides and you'll, you'll have some fun. I know I keep mentioning today for some reason that you can have fun with your website. So that, that must be what I'm thinking about today. But you can, you can have a lot of fun on your, your church thing website and you can also change the background color on your homepage sliders. So again, same thing. This is kind of your slider menu here, so that you place your mouse over that, that, and you can change the background color based on certain theme to colors that we pulled together for you, or it can also kind of click and drag in this color palette selection here.
So let's say if I wanted a lighter kind of brighter look because it's summer I can click on this yellow orange option, and then I can also change what's called the opacity. So that the it's a solid yellow background, or if I want my background image to kind of peek through and add some variety, or if I have that background video, then I will decrease the opacity and you can see here how that changes completely changes the look and feel of, of your website. So let's say you do have this yellow color and you think, man, it's kind of hard to read the text on the slides. That's okay. Play around with the opacity or change the background color to kind of the, the look that you want. You it's, it's, it's difficult to mess this up. So get in there kind of, kind of like you're gardening.
You want to get into that soil and really know what you're working with. So those are my favorite features of sliders. You can change that background to a video. You can change the color. You can also reorder your slides. So let's say you just created a new slide and I'll show you how to do that real quick here. But you need to actually do be the first slide instead of the third one. You'll simply click the button that says reorder slides, and then you'll be able to have this master view of your slides. So right now I only have two slides. So if I wanted the second to become the first slide here, I just click on that slide and I drag it, click done, and there we go. So really, really easy. If you want to add a new slide, you click add an add slide as the button says there.
And you'll have all of these options for different slide layout. So we have 12 different options. And so you select the layout that you want. Let's say, I want to add a new side with an image. You can simply type in what you want to add. So I just want to say welcome and welcome to ChurchSpring or welcome, welcome to your church. I can just select image and add a new slide. So I do want to show you here how you can edit a current slide that you have. Uso you'll just go navigate to the slide that you want to edit. So if I want to edit my welcome slide here, then I'll click the pencil icon. And again, I can just click make changes,uand that's automatically updated. So no backend editing that you have to do, you can also change your image by clicking select image.
You can upload your own again, or you have access to the ChurchSpring library images. I have some slow wifi here cause I'm live streaming. So if it takes a while, that that is that's the issue. So I'll go ahead and I will add a new image there on my homepage slider, and then you can also change your buttons here. So when you first get your website, we actually kind of give you some ready to go sliders, all set up with links to your inner pages. And these are some recommended pages that we, that we recommend that you're linking to. So then when a new visitor or a member is coming to your website, they know where you want to direct them. So if you have a new sermon that you post every Sunday, I would recommend create a new, a new slide that says listen to the latest sermon, and then you can link the button.
So by clicking the link option, you can link that button to your main sermons page, click save, and then you won't ever have to update this home page slider anymore because you are linking people to your main home page, or I'm sorry to your main sermons page where they can then view any recently uploaded sermons. You can also change the button text to say let's say in sermons it would be watch now click save and then wa-lah, you can see that the changes I made are right there watch now, and that image. So sliders, you can do a lot of different things with it. I know I probably just went through that really fast because there's, there's so many fun little avenues that you can do with your homepage sliders, but hopefully if we're those listeners that are new to homepage sliders, this was educational. Best thing again, get in there, play around and reach out with any questions that you may have.
Awesome. Perfect. Thanks for walking through that. Let us know. I know there were a few that that was new for, so if you have any specific questions go ahead and enter those. We haven't had any come in so far. So you did just an awesome job. Everybody's on the same page. Or if it was helpful, go ahead and like this, like the video, let us know. Yeah, that was helpful. You can give us a heart let us know that that was super helpful information for you. And we'd love to see that. So, yeah, we'll go ahead and give you all a few minutes or a few seconds here to post any questions that you have. What we want to do now is go ahead and wrap up with prayer. We've covered a ton today. We've already been on here now for over an hour, which is awesome.
We love hanging out with you guys. It's really one of the highlights of my week, and I'm not just saying that I, I love getting on here and I'm seeing your comments. So let's see Carol, great help now. Can I do it? You absolutely can do it. You absolutely can do it. Go log into your ChurchSpring website, just mess around with it. It's one of those, it's kind of like riding a bike, right? So the first time you ride a bike, it's like, Oh, I can't do this. And you're all nervous. And then you get in there and you could, well, I don't recommend this, but you could be talking on your smartphone while you're riding your bike and you know, all that, cause you just get comfortable with it.
Don't text and bike. It's not safe.
Don't do that. Don't do that. So anyway, dive on in there and just know we're here to support you. So if you get in there and something's just confusing, or maybe you just like to know a best practice of how to use this, reach out to us, start a conversation with us. We'd love to to have that and give you any tips and tools that we can give you along the way. So keep, if there's any other questions feel free. Did you have anything else to add there as well? Sorry, I didn't want to cut you off. No, you're good. Okay, awesome. We're going to go ahead and have a word of prayer. So if you have a prayer request go ahead and we'll just wait a couple moments here. We do want to pray with you before we jump off. So if you have any prayer requests, you guys can keep Isabelle in your prayer. She'll probably kill me for saying this, but Isabelle, hasn't been feeling well this week and she absolutely just crushed it. So thank you for your hard work. And now you're going to have a lot of churches praying for you. So anyway,
I will be instantly better. That's for sure. We have a lot of prayer warriors out there. I know.
Yes we do. All right. Your tech team rocks. We got to share that one.
Yeah. And I know we've been working with you this week, Jen and myself on the support team. You rock also by the way, we've really enjoyed working with you. So thank you.
And then we've got Nancy stoked and ready to roll!
Yes, Nancy. I love it.
I love that. That's so awesome. Very good. Well, I haven't seen any prayer requests come in. We do also get prayer requests and we send out emails every single, every single week. I'm asking for prayer requests. I'm going to just bounce over here to we use Slack and our Slack channel here. See?
Yeah. And if there are a pair of requests that come up through the week let us know. You can send in a ticket. You can comment on our ChurchSpring live episode that we put out ahead of time. We, we really want to partner with you in prayer. This is not a one way relationship. So reach out and, and let us know how we can partner with you and your church. Very good, Wayne. I appreciate all the help. You're very welcome. Again, reach out with how we can continue to partner with you.
Awesome. We've got a pray quest here from Benjamin about an opportunity to possibly acquire a building. So I think let's pray for Benjamin and let's see any others. Nope. All right, well let's go and pray and then we'll wrap up. Let's pray, dear God, we thank you for today. Lord, we thank you for your love for us. God, I thank you for giving us this opportunity through technology to connect with pastors and church leaders and those desiring to serve you Lord all over the country. So God I ask that you would bless their efforts. Lord, I know that there are some here that feel a little overwhelmed, but also excited. So God, I pray that you would yeah, Lord comfort them and help them to or just have clarity in the next steps that they should take based on the information that we've shared today.
And I got to pray that you just bless their ministry, Lord, whether they're focused on having visitors come to their ministry for the first time or whether it's their main focuses on serving their existing members. Lord, I pray that you would just, you would use them or to accomplish your will and the Lord as they do their work, I pray that you would just continue to equip them. So Lord, I do ask that you would be with Benjamin Lord as he submitted the prayer requests for the new possibility of purchasing a building. God, I pray that you would guide them and direct them or give them clarity on that, but all the financing and all those things would come together. Lord, if it's exactly what you want. So Lord we ask that you would provide for those needs. Lord, I also ask that you would be with Isabelle, God, just thank you for her.
And the work that she does here at ChurchSpring, Lord God, I pray that you would continue to strengthen her and, or just take this illness away and what I pray that you would bless her Lord again, we thank you for this opportunity that you've given us Lord, to serve you and Lord to make an impact. So God, I pray that you would be again with each and every person that's listening live as well as the will watch recording afterwards. God, I pray that you would bless them and their efforts or help them to sense your presence or give them courage and give them an endurance for the race that you've set before them. So Lord, we love you. We thank you for loving us in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. All right. Well, we have got, this has been a, it's been a great episode.
We're now an hour and nine minutes, then we've still got people listening. We've got hearts and likes. It's been so cool to hang out with you guys. So join us next week. It is going to be a great episode and hint, hint, it's going to be on one of the most powerful digital tools you should absolutely have in your church communications tool box. So this is no hype and I'll just give you a hint. We're going to be talking about social media. So the tool that you're on right now that you're watching us while they're recording or live, we're going to talk about, you can leverage that tool in your digital communications toolbox, whether you're trying to reach people or whether you're just trying to serve your local congregation, we're going to have some great conversations there. So again, if you have any questions about that topic of social media, and I know it's a vast topic and there's a lot of interest in it, we have people ask us, do I really need a church website?
If I have a Facebook page, we're going to answer a lot of those questions. The answer by the way is, yes, you don't own it. So I'm not going to get ahead of us for next week, but definitely join us. We're going to talk a lot about social media. So if you have questions, feel free to submit them in the comments of this video, or you can visit our website churchspring.com/contact. Submit your question there. And we'll answer as many of those questions related to the topic of today of content strategy or related to next week's topic of social media. So stay tuned. We'll send out an email of the date of the day, the date and the time for that. So you can make sure that you don't miss out on it. So it's been awesome. Hanging out with you all today. Thank you all so much for your comments, your likes, your loves. It's been awesome. Hanging out with you and we look forward to seeing you on next week. So God bless everyone. Thanks. Bye bye !
Watch each live stream at 10am Central Time on Thursdays on our Facebook Page, @gochurchspring.