Is your church website optimized to welcome visitors this Christmas season? Unsure how to use your church website to drive guests to attend your holiday services?
Tune into ChurchSpring Live, Episode 017 for the top 8 ways you can optimize your church website to welcome visitors during this Christmas season. Rohn and Isabelle will review the best practices to drive guests to your local gathering this Christmas. You’ll learn the top tips to prepare your church website to ensure guests know what to expect and feel welcome the moment they enter your church building or livestream.
Isabelle Faletti (00:00:56):
Hello, hello! Welcome to ChurchSpring Live. I'm excited to see everybody joining today. If you are joining live then I want to know who you are. Make sure to drop a comment below and introduce your church name and locations in the comments. You all need to give Stream Yard access, so that we can show your beautiful face up here on the screen. I am getting some feedback, Rohn, can you hear that?
Rohn Gibson (00:01:23):
You sound okay on my end.
Isabelle Faletti (00:01:24):
Okay, perfect. For all of you who are listening live, if I'm getting some feedback let me know and I can do a couple things over here, otherwise, I'll just keep going on here.
Rohn Gibson (00:01:34):
Isabelle Faletti (00:01:35):
Yeah. Introduce yourself. Again, I am Isabelle with ChurchSpring. If you are new to ChurchSpring and you haven't attended a ChurchSpring Live yet, joining me today is co-founder of ChurchSpring, Rohn Gibson.
Rohn Gibson (00:01:47):
Good morning, everyone.
Isabelle Faletti (00:01:51):
We are, hoo, we're in for a good topic today. Before I do that, I do want to welcome a few members of our ChurchSpring family. We had a couple, we have a lot of sign-ups throughout the week, so I just pulled three new sign-ups this week that I wanted to give a shoutout to. Welcome Power of God Cathedral from Jamaica, New York. I'll be honest, I did pull that one because of the word 'Jamaica' in it. I didn't know that a Jamaica, New York even existed, to be perfectly honest, so welcome.
Isabelle Faletti (00:02:25):
Welcome New life Baptist Church from Madison, North Carolina and First Baptist Church of Cedar Key, Florida. We absolutely love when we have new churches all over the country signing up for ChurchSpring because our mission is to help churches build intuitive, affordable and frustration-free websites. We consider it an honor to partner with churches to help build a frustration-free website because you don't have time to be learning how to code or learn how to become a graphic designer overnight to update your website.
Isabelle Faletti (00:03:00):
Make sure, again, introduce yourself, I don't see any comments yet. I want to know who are you behind the screen. That's one thing about live streaming. It can be a conversation, so we want to know he's joining us today. We are, like I said, we are in for a really fun topic. Yes, if you've read our title on this Facebook livestream, it is about Christmas. No, I'm not wearing a Christmas hat today. If you joined last week, you will know I wore a Christmas hat. I figured maybe I scared away people, so instead I wore a red shirt. I was going to have my snowflake earrings but couldn't find them. Today, I'm Christmas chill.
Rohn Gibson (00:03:49):
Isabelle Faletti (00:03:49):
Yeah. I do have a question for everybody listening that I just want you to think about. Is your church website optimized to truly welcome visitors this Christmas season? If not, that's okay, that's why we're doing today's special episode, talking about Christmas in September. We are going to review the best practices to drive guests to your local gathering this Christmas. Rohn and I, we're going to talk about the eight tips to prepare your church website to really ensure that guests know what to expect and feel welcome the moment they enter your church building or when they tune in live to your here livestream, because that is a very big part of church services now.
Isabelle Faletti (00:04:37):
Well, I see comments are coming through, awesome. I do have a question for everybody listening. Be honest, okay? Type yes or no in the comments below if you know how to use your church website to drive guests to attend your Christmas service. Do you know how to use your church website to drive guests to attend your Christmas service? Type yes or no. That will help us know where you're at as Rohn and I really dig into eight ways to optimize your website for Christmas.
Rohn Gibson (00:05:15):
Isabelle Faletti (00:05:17):
All right, Rohn, yeah. I know that you've a couple housekeeping notes here.
Rohn Gibson (00:05:21):
Yes, excited about the, really excited about this episode. I do know that it sounds like maybe we are having a few, just little technical glitches, so just hang with us. I know it's locked up on me a couple times, so we're just going to keep on going through the best we can here and just pray that God gives the technology going and that this provides tremendous value to you. We're getting some good answers in here.
Rohn Gibson (00:05:44):
Today, we want to give you some just super practical tips to get your website ready for the Christmas season. Before we do, get ready to engage with us, it's awesome. It's so good to see these comments coming in. Keep it coming, feel free, like it, love it. If there is content that you think would be of value to somebody else in your church, feel free, shoot them a text right now and say jump on ChurchSpring's Facebook page and watch the live because this is some things that we can utilize at our church in the upcoming months. Feel free, like it, share it, do whatever you need to do.
Rohn Gibson (00:06:19):
One thing I do want to say is don't feel ... we're going to cover, again, some really good things today. Don't feel like you have to take notes on every single item. We're going to take the notes for you. It'll be available on a replay on our website at churchspring.com/CSL017. We'll mention that multiple times, so you don't forget, so don't worry about that.
Isabelle Faletti (00:06:39):
Rohn Gibson (00:06:40):
You'll be able to go watch the recording. We'll, literally, give the show notes where we break down each one of these items. We've got some extra special goodies for you today. Isabelle has been working super hard this week, and I'm really excited about the extra resources that we're going to give you. Literally, you're going to have no excuse for not taking action on the items that we talk about today. We're just going to jump on it. We're not going to wait any longer. We're just going to jump right into the question. Isabelle and I, it's going to be a little bit different format today. We're going to go back and forth with some of our tips and explanations. Let's just kick things off. Top eight things to prepare your church website for the Christmas season. What do you got, Isabelle? What's the first one?
Isabelle Faletti (00:07:24):
Yeah. It sounds like us having this conversation here to talk about website optimization for Christmas is needed, because we have a lot feedback. People say, "No, I don't really know how to drive guests to my website, to attend a Christmas service," so this is super relevant. As Rohn said, ask questions throughout this entire time. This is like a conversation, so pretend that we're all sitting around a coffee table with some hot chocolate since this is Christmas season, even though I know it's technically summer still on the calendar, and we want to hear back from you. Feel free, jump on in, add questions. To all of you live listeners, we we want to know what you're thinking.
Isabelle Faletti (00:08:08):
I'm going to go ahead and share my screen here. I went ahead and created a special Christmas demo page. I'm sorry, special Christmas demo website, so that as we go down the eight things that you can do to prepare your church website, you can really see in real life what it actually looks like to be making these updates to your website. I will share my screen and then I'll actually ... well, you can technically follow along, I'll add the banner here. This is the URL, so christmas.churchspring.org/Christmas. I'll add all of these links in the show notes, so again, don't feel like you have to be following writing all kinds of notes. I'm having some mouse problems actually right here, so why don't I just fix my mouse.
Rohn Gibson (00:09:01):
Just one more thing today. Just one more thing.
Isabelle Faletti (00:09:02):
You got to love it.
Rohn Gibson (00:09:04):
You should see this if you're watching this. Thirty minutes before our lives we go online and we are restarting computers and microphones weren't working. Anyway, we're just going to continue to battle through it this morning.
Isabelle Faletti (00:09:15):
Yup, that's exactly. All right, my mouse is working again.
Rohn Gibson (00:09:19):
All right. Awesome.
Isabelle Faletti (00:09:19):
All is good.
Rohn Gibson (00:09:19):
Isabelle Faletti (00:09:22):
The first thing that you really need to think you got to update your church website is to update your contact information. I know that this can seem obvious, of course, I have updated contact information on my website. However, you may be surprised your contact info may be outdated. Go ahead and double check your contact information. That is your phone number, your church phone number, and the email addresses that you have that are public, your actual physical street address, especially if you've moved in the past couple of months or the past couple of years as a church building, make sure that's updated on your website. This is incredibly important for visitors coming to your website seen. Okay, are they near me? Are they close to me? Are they 5, 10 minutes away from me? Make sure that your address is updated, especially I know that-
Rohn Gibson (00:10:24):
Isabelle Faletti (00:10:25):
Yeah, go ahead.
Rohn Gibson (00:10:26):
Sorry, not to interrupt, but just one quick thing to add in there. I think it's so important that with all the COVID stuff been happening, we were just on a website last week actually that had all kinds of things related to March of this year that aren't necessarily relevant today. There's been so many changes. The church has been in such flux when it comes to how to best serve people through this time. It's a great time, as you're updating the contact information, just to really think through. Some of this information that we have on our website even related to COVID as it relates to location and where we're meeting and how we're gathering and all those things. Do a quick audit on that just to make sure that there's not something in there that's not relevant to where you are today.
Isabelle Faletti (00:11:11):
Right, right. Exactly. Even if, depending on where you live, and we don't know what Christmas time, what it'll like with COVID regulations, but if you are unable to meet in your actual building and it is purely livestream, make sure that you are communicating that in your contact information. I just wanted to scroll down real quick on my page that I, on my website for Christmas that I have here, just to show you this is using a ChurchSpring powered website. This tip is still relevant. All of our tips are still relevant whether we use ChurchSpring or a different website provider.
Isabelle Faletti (00:11:49):
We have your location here on your middle bar. You can update your address in your settings of your website and that will update automatically in this middle section bar and on your footer down here. We make it really easy because, again, you don't have time to be updating all your info and going through page by page. Make sure to update your phone number, your street address in the backend of your websites on your settings. Then also, go ahead and double check any contact form recipients that you have. What I mean by that is, if you have any contact forms on your website, which you should have some contact forms on your website, go ahead and log in your website and double check the email address that is getting alerted when someone is submitting your contact form.
Isabelle Faletti (00:12:45):
If it's going to an old staff member or it's going to address that nobody actually checks, you could be missing out on forms and email requests from visitors asking questions wanting to learn more. Make sure to check the email recipient, and then also on the flip side, communicate with that staff member, the volunteer, to understand that they know to look for those contact form notifications and they know to respond to them or how to handle that. Then the last thing with updating your contact form, Rohn alluded to that already, make sure that your service times are also updated. Again, with COVID, we know that what your service times are right now could be very different going forward in the next month, the next two months, so have that always in the back of your head when you're meeting with the communications team, you're talking about service time updates, the results should be update website.
Isabelle Faletti (00:13:50):
Then, of course, on your contact page here, if you have any special lines such as, I added here, "and visit us each Sunday", make sure to update that. That's what may seem like a no-brainer, but super, super important, so that your guests will know where to go and what time to show up.
Rohn Gibson (00:14:13):
Isabelle Faletti (00:14:15):
Rohn Gibson (00:14:16):
Next thing on the list. Number two is to create a Christmas promo landing page.
Isabelle Faletti (00:14:23):
Rohn Gibson (00:14:24):
Isabelle, if you want to jump over there to that.
Isabelle Faletti (00:14:26):
Rohn Gibson (00:14:26):
Isabelle has done an incredible job of creating this page and actually giving you content that you can literally copy and paste. There's no reason not to have a Christmas landing page on your site. We're going to talk really in some of the upcoming weeks about how you can really utilize this page in addition to what we're going to talk about today. First thing is you want to create that page. You can go up, what I'd recommend is in the About Us, all you do is you can add a page, it can be called Christmas like it is in our demo, and people can click on that, and they will go to this page. We'll talk about other places that you can do that as well.
Rohn Gibson (00:15:06):
What we're going to do here is just break down the components of this Christmas landing page. Again, the whole purpose of this page is it's a tool that you can utilize that is you're out there promoting. Maybe if you do door flyers or if you even are just verbally talking to somebody say, "Yeah, go to ourchurch.com/Christmas, it will give you all the details about Christmas that you need to know." It's an amazing tool that not only you can use as church leadership, but it's also a great tool that you can share with your church members that is there inviting people that you can just say, "Hey, yeah, we'd love to have you this Christmas. You can join us, come with us this Christmas Eve service and visit ourchurch.com/Christmas to learn more about what's going to be going on in our church."
Rohn Gibson (00:15:55):
Quick breakdown of what you would include on that. Number one is a headline. You want to have it be super clear. Obviously, we know this page is about Christmas, but having a headline that really offers a really good call to action as well. You can see here, "Join us for Christmas," it's very clear what you're inviting the person to do. Next on the page is you want to have a welcome video. Isabelle actually did a video, she's going to make the script available as well, so literally, we're giving you everything that you need to use. You can copy and paste off this landing page onto yours, super easy if you're an existing ChurchSpring user and even if you're not, if you're in a different platform, you can still copy and paste the content and use it. We're going to give you the script for the welcome video. A welcome video, really short, sweet video just to add that human connection. Next, go ahead.
Isabelle Faletti (00:16:48):
Yeah. I think it's 58 seconds, 56 or 58 seconds.
Rohn Gibson (00:16:52):
There you go.
Isabelle Faletti (00:16:52):
Less than 60 seconds. As you can see, I just recorded it in my office. If you're a pastor, you can just record it from your kitchen table. It's about that human connection that you can communicate to a new visitor that you are approachable, you're warm, you're friendly, you're real people. Especially this year, we need friendliness. This video is super important to showing the human element of your church.
Rohn Gibson (00:17:21):
Yes, absolutely, so welcome video. Next, what to expect? Ultimately, what we're trying to do with this entire page is number one, give the sense of what your church is going to be like and lower anxieties. We're trying to take away any anxiety that a user or a potential visitor might have about coming to your site and your 'What to Expect' section of this landing page is a super important thing. Talking about the atmosphere, the preaching/sermon style, what kind of other details that you'd want to include to really help somebody understand what that experience is going to be like in your context to lower that anxiety as much as possible.
Rohn Gibson (00:18:07):
We've given some examples there, but feel free. If there's things maybe it's frequently asked questions that you get as you're even engaging the people in your community about your church, go ahead and communicate that very succinctly and clearly here, again, to lower that anxiety level that they may have about walking through the doors. Let's be honest, many of us, we've been as part of our church or part of the church for such a long time, that we may forget what it's like to actually walk in those doors for the first time if you haven't been a part of a local gathering. We want to make sure that we lower that anxiety and make the church as approachable and welcoming as we possibly can.
Isabelle Faletti (00:18:48):
Rohn Gibson (00:18:48):
Next there on the page is actually to add some testimonials. This is something that a lot of churches don't do, and I can't recommend it enough. Apart from a Christmas on your Christmas landing page, even on your website have some pictures of faces of the people sharing what they love about your church. I think it's one of the most underutilized and there's a list of what I would put as underutilized things, so it's not just one thing, but this would be on the list.
Isabelle Faletti (00:19:14):
Rohn's underutilized tips, that'd be real fun to do.
Rohn Gibson (00:19:19):
Yeah, just one thing. That'd be amazing. Anyway, make sure that you include some testimonials. We've given some examples of what that could look like, so we love our members. You could even have testimonials that are specifically related to Christmas-
Isabelle Faletti (00:19:37):
Rohn Gibson (00:19:38):
of some of your members saying, "We love Christmas at our church and here's some of the highlights of what we love about this time of year," and even have them, give them the opportunity to give a call to action, "We'd love to meet you, come join us," doing something like that in a testimonial could be a critical thing.
Isabelle Faletti (00:19:55):
The testimonials are another way that you can take away any anxious feelings from visitors, and it can also answer some frequently asked questions. I'm on the second testimonial here from Paul. In the second paragraph or second sentence of his testimonial, he's talking about how his wife and him felt comfortable placing their son in nursery. If it's a new member or a new visitor and they have kids, they may be a little worried about, "What do we do with our children when we come to church?" This is another way that real life people are saying, "You don't need to have any stress about this. Their volunteers are trained. I feel completely comfortable, I trusted them. Therefore, you can trust our church also."
Rohn Gibson (00:20:46):
Yes, very good. Importance of testimonials, don't want to understate that whatsoever. Make sure you've got testimonials specifically on this Christmas landing page but also all throughout your site. Okay? Next on the list is you want to create a couple of, and there's really multiple ways you can do this, but ultimately, a way for people to easily get to what are the events you have going on specifically related to Christmas.
Rohn Gibson (00:21:14):
One of things we've done here is just created a block, which is super easy to do, added length that then can take them over to the church calendar. Another option that we don't have an example of here, but you could easily do this is just to list the dates. Here's specific events that are going on in our church. Obviously, Christmas Eve. If you have multiple Christmas Eve services, you should list all those times. Any of the upcoming or maybe things following that between Christmas and New Year's that are available. Just making it super easy for them to navigate and find out, "Okay, when are these things? what's going on? What can I get involved with in different types of things?" I think that's a great thing too.
Rohn Gibson (00:21:59):
There's ministry opportunities. Going in caroling, going in on the context of, again, this year, that may change a little bit, but giving them all types of different events and things from service-related opportunities even as it relates to just getting involved in the service. I think that is such an important thing. Just to make a super clear, here's the events, here's what's going on, we'd love to have you come and join us. Okay?
Rohn Gibson (00:22:32):
Next on the list is Frequently Asked Questions. This again, the 'What to Expect', you're trying to lower that anxiety level, and this Frequently Asked Questions is really made to even knock that thing down even a couple of more notches, so literally, they feel comfortable and confident in walking into the doors of your church. That's the goal. We want them to feel comfortable and confident walking in to the doors of your church. What are the frequently asked questions you get? Answer them here. We've given some really good examples. obviously, this year is a unique year, so making it clear what are those things.
Rohn Gibson (00:23:11):
I wouldn't recommend ... one of the things you want to accomplish on the landing page is you want to have just very ... you want it to be just very specific related to this topic. With that, that means you want all of the information to be encapsulated on this page. If you have another page, maybe where you talk about COVID, or you talk about cleaning standards, or you talk about those types of things, try to include as much of it on this page as possible, so they don't feel like they're on a scavenger hunt to get all their questions answered, they're literally on this page, they're planning on visiting around the Christmas season, and they can get all of those questions answered right here.
Isabelle Faletti (00:23:57):
Uh huh (affirmative).
Rohn Gibson (00:24:00):
Don't just take our template. I would encourage you take a few minutes and really think, what are the questions that you're getting inside of your context that you're going to be serving people this Christmas season and really do your best to try to, the word's not coming to mind, but get ahead of what those questions are, so again, they can just feel comfortable and confident walking in the doors of your church.
Isabelle Faletti (00:24:29):
Yeah, yeah. This shows that you care about your visitors because you are trying to decrease any stress that they would have instead of just having an invite and saying figure it out yourself. Just in general, when you invite someone to any type of event, whether it's at church event, a Christmas event, or just a social event, you need to know the details. If there's a specific parking garage at a concert that you're going to, you need to tell your friends, so that they can have the best experience. This is an extension of how to live in good community, really it's what it is.
Rohn Gibson (00:25:14):
Yes, yes. I think, with the landing page, that's so important. This goes back to a lot of our beginning episodes of ChurchSpring live is what is the goal. The goal of this entire episode and as well as this landing page is to get new people who aren't maybe familiar with your church, it's the first time they've come across your church, or maybe they were just invited, to come to one page and get exactly what they need to make the decision to walk in the [inaudible 00:25:41] of your church. It's really important. The goal is we want new visitors to walk in the door, and this can be a powerful, powerful page to help you do that during this season.
Rohn Gibson (00:25:52):
Frequently Asked Questions, make sure you give that some thought and really address those main 5 to 10 top questions that people have that will hinder them from walking in the door. Answer them here and let's get them in the door. Okay?
Isabelle Faletti (00:26:05):
Rohn Gibson (00:26:05):
Next is having a call to action. It's good we've got this verse here, I'd encourage you to do that, I think that's great. Love it, just obviously adds to the level of, okay, this is related to Christmas. But next, that call to action is so important. You've seen that multiple times already on this page. It says join us for Christmas right here. It says join us for Christmas earlier on. It says 'join us for Christmas' throughout the body copy of the website. Now, we're to the end of the page and be really clear what you want people to do as that next step. This is a big opportunity that a lot of people missed on their site, is they'll add the Frequently Asked Questions or they'll add some of this content that's all about driving a person to take action and respond, but then there's no response, there's no call to action to respond.
Isabelle Faletti (00:26:54):
Yeah, what now?
Rohn Gibson (00:26:55):
Yeah, and we wonder why, "Why aren't people responding?"
Isabelle Faletti (00:26:58):
Rohn Gibson (00:26:58):
We didn't give them a call to action to respond. Give them a call to action to respond as simple as, join us for Christmas, if you have questions, whatever. Put this contact form. This is one of our simple block templates that literally, you go to add a block contact form, customize the content, select who you want it to go to, and it's super, super easy to do. We actually knocked out two things on the page there. Number one, strong call to action at the end, and number two, make sure you have a contact form that if they do have questions, it makes it super easy for somebody to reach out to you. Don't assume, "Well, my phone number is on the site, my service times are on the site, all these things are on the site, they shouldn't have any questions at this point."
Rohn Gibson (00:27:44):
Okay. Let's not get too arrogant. There's going to be questions that people have and we want to make it super easy for them to reach out to us. Your landing page, specifically for Christmas and highlighting what's going on a Christmas, answering those questions, eliminating or at least lowering the fear and anxiety, is one of the super important pieces to drive visitors to your church this Christmas. What's next on our list?
Isabelle Faletti (00:28:13):
Yeah. First off, do we have any questions from any of our attendees about this landing page, about anything that we've talked about? I know that landing pages itself maybe a new concept to you, so if you have questions about that, make sure to ask here and we will address them as we continue to go throughout the event.
Isabelle Faletti (00:28:34):
The third super important way to update your website is to, are you ready? Update your homepage. This is extremely important, and I'm going to say that by every single point, because there is a reason why all these landed on our top eight ways to prepare your church website. Your homepage is one of the most visited pages on your website. In that scenario that we just talked about that Christmas landing page, you will be driving people, visitors, guests to that Christmas landing page, but they may and they will wander around the rest of your website. Or, maybe people are coming to your website in a different manner and they're landing on your, again, your homepage here.
Isabelle Faletti (00:29:21):
Let me change my screen here to show. This is the homepage of the Christmas demo website that we've created. There are a couple of specific elements that I would recommend to update on your homepage. One of the key elements is updating your homepage sliders here. That's what this top section with the image and text, these are your sliders. I know for some ChurchSpring members, the terminology of that can get sometimes lost. To define that term, this is your slider section or your sliders and you can update your sliders. Your sliders are similar to what you would think of as a billboard off the side of the highway. It is a short, brief headline with a call to action and then a very brief description that backs up that headline, and then, another call to action to learn more.
Isabelle Faletti (00:30:28):
Don't put a lot of text on this. This will optimize for different screens such as your phone. That's what I'm doing with my hands over here. Your phone, this is your mobile device, so you don't want a lot of text on it or else someone will be on their phone and scrolling and scrolling and that's not a very good experience for your visitors. You can link your slider to your Christmas home or your Christmas landing page that we just reviewed. I actually went ahead and I did do that on the second slider here. I added, "Join us for Christmas. We look forward to welcoming you and your family. Click the button below to learn more and RSVP." Then I have the 'Learn More' button right here.
Isabelle Faletti (00:31:12):
I have multiple call to actions because I want people to be clicking this button. Then if you click to "Learn More" button, you'll see that it brings people to that landing page. I also updated the homepage slider here, or the first slider with a Christmasy image. As Christmas gets closer, you may want to move that 'Join us for Christmas' slider as the number one slider. Play around with the different arrangements on that.
Isabelle Faletti (00:31:46):
Then, scrolling down on your homepage, you should have some welcome copy that's already on your website for really all seasons. Just briefly, update this to reflect the Christmas season to speak specifically to visitors who are interested in visiting you for Christmas. Really, for this, I just added Christmas a couple of areas in this section, and I put "Please join us for an upcoming Christmas event". I updated this section to say, "Come worship with us this Christmas season," so that makes it relevant, that is communicating to visitors that we want you this Christmas season. Wherever your visitor is, they know we are helping them for Christmas.
Isabelle Faletti (00:32:36):
Then, another extra step that I would recommend is to add a specific block to your homepage, again, that's linking to your Christmas landing page. As Rohn mentioned, you want to be driving all traffic of visitors to your Christmas landing page, because a Christmas landing page, it contains all information that will decrease your visitor's stress level and remove any roadblocks for them to attend for your Christmas service. This is just using one of the blocks that we offer for your ChurchSpring website updated with a Christmas image. I actually grabbed this text description from my landing page on my Christmas landing page and just pasted it, and here, it's overview of what they will be expecting for a Christmas Eve service.
Isabelle Faletti (00:33:32):
Again, you don't have to be recreating texts, recreating copy, use what you've already worked on on your landing page or what we've already worked on on your landing page and just copy and paste. Again, this "Learn More" button, just so you can see it, it goes to that landing page. You should be seeing a theme by now, I hope. Then, the last element to make sure that you are updating on your homepage is your "Social Media" buttons. This is cheating because it's on your homepage but your footer is really sitewide throughout your entire website pages, but make sure that your Facebook icons are linked to the correct social media account.
Isabelle Faletti (00:34:18):
Next week, Rohn and I are actually going to be talking about how you can be using your Facebook page for your church to really just drive traffic and communicate better to members, but it doesn't show that you are up-to-date if you have broken links. I, unfortunately, see broken social media links pretty frequently on church websites, so this is really a personal tip of mine. Go ahead and make sure those social media links are updated. If you use a ChurchSpring website, you can do that in your settings, you just have to update it in one place and updates throughout your entire website. That's for homepage.
Isabelle Faletti (00:35:00):
Some tips I recommend. Again, that doesn't take long. It took me ... I don't know, it didn't take me long what I was doing on this demo page. Then, along with that for actually tip number four is to update your images throughout your website. There's really two elements to this. Make sure that you are adding Christmas imagery when it's appropriate. You don't want it to look like Christmas threw up all over your website. I love Christmas, so I have to hold myself back, "Okay, I don't need update every single possible image for it to be Christmasy." But do make it relevant to the season that we are in.
Isabelle Faletti (00:35:44):
You'll see here that I updated the slider background image to be a nice, subtle Christmas-related event. It doesn't have to necessarily be Christmas, it can be wintery. On that first homepage slider, this couple isn't necessarily sitting in front of a Christmas tree, but you can tell it's wintery, it gives you the illusion of it being Christmas. Especially on your Christmas landing page, you do want that to be Christmasy, since you are inviting your members or your inviting visitors to come to your Christmas events.
Isabelle Faletti (00:36:23):
We have Christmas images already uploaded in the ChurchSpring image library. All the images that you see on this website are images that are in the image library. We'll be adding some updated, even more Christmas images in the next month or so, but if you're preparing your Christmas landing page, you'll just have to scroll down a bit on the image library and you'll see, I think we have, we do, we have over 100 images for Christmas, so have fun. It was hard for me because, again, I love Christmas and I love images, so I had to control myself.
Rohn Gibson (00:37:02):
Isabelle Faletti (00:37:02):
Rohn Gibson (00:37:02):
Good. Hey, we've got a few questions. I just want to hit the pause button here. Harry asks, to make it easier to find, should you have a Christmas heading rather than have it under "About Us"? Actually, what Isabelle just shared is exactly what we'd recommend that you do. You can put your landing page wherever you want.
Isabelle Faletti (00:37:21):
Uh huh (affirmative).
Rohn Gibson (00:37:22):
We put it under "About Us" just because a lot of new people, that's where they're going to start, so to make it just super easy to find, we put it right there. But the most visited page on your church website is your homepage. We just basically showed you exactly how not just to put it in your navigation but also to create a slider, create a block specifically for Christmas, and several other ways that people can click to get to that page. Great question, Harry, and I think we've answer that pretty thoroughly here.
Isabelle Faletti (00:37:50):
Rohn Gibson (00:37:51):
Walter asked if we can show him how to do that. It's really super easy. Walter, we are not going to demo it here just because Internet can be a little sketchy when we start logging in and making changes. If we have time, maybe at the end, maybe we'll try to do it, we'll see if the Internet wants to be friendly with us today. We'll come back to that question.
Isabelle Faletti (00:38:17):
Yeah. Otherwise, Walter, we will ... I'll post that in our show notes. We have a help article of how to add a new page, so if you are, I believe, Walter, you are a customer. I've worked with you before, so I know you are. You can send in a ticket also if you're unsure how to do that.
Rohn Gibson (00:38:35):
Perfect. Stephen asks how can we make the landing page have the simplest URL? Guess what? That's actually going to be on our list, so I'm just going to hold that for just a second. Then, Bill, this is a great question.
Isabelle Faletti (00:38:47):
Rohn Gibson (00:38:48):
A date to going live on Christmas on the Christmas landing page. Here, this is really dependent on what your schedule looks like. Adding a Christmas landing page today, I wouldn't necessarily recommend that. However, if you have things going at the beginning of December, so right after Thanksgiving things start going with different related Christmas events. Maybe there's concerts or whatever that might be at your church. I would recommend probably starting two weeks to even four weeks prior to the beginning to give people time to actually come and process.
Isabelle Faletti (00:39:30):
Rohn Gibson (00:39:30):
I think there's this idea that people are like on a Thursday evening just bored wandering around church websites, thinking about where they're going to go to church this Sunday. Now, that happens.
Isabelle Faletti (00:39:40):
Yeah, it does.
Rohn Gibson (00:39:41):
I'm not saying it doesn't happen. However, there is also people, they just need to process it. They need to look and actually see and spend more time understanding what's going on, so I would recommend depending on when that first Christmas event happens, between two to four weeks, maybe even sooner, you can start that or you can create that page. Now, you can also do this in layers.
Isabelle Faletti (00:40:03):
Uh huh (affirmative). Yeah.
Rohn Gibson (00:40:04):
But I want to be clear on that. You could actually just add the Christmas page to your "About Us", or wherever you want to add it in your navigation, and get that page up and ready, but not make the changes to your homepage yet. But then what that allows you to do is you could start using it, let's say you're doing Facebook advertising or you're going other avenues to start promoting it and getting people to your church, or even just scheduling your social media posts around Christmas, you could set that up right now.
Isabelle Faletti (00:40:34):
Rohn Gibson (00:40:34):
Then use that URL and actually schedule your post, link to it in the schedule those post at a later date. Don't feel like this has to be an all or nothing. You can do it in layers as well. You could create Christmas landing page, maybe move it down the navigation, so instead of being the first thing in the navigation, they're under "About Us" like you'd want it to be in the month of December. You may drop it all the way down to the bottom, so it's not one of the first things that people see there.
Rohn Gibson (00:41:03):
Really think about your context and then apply it as it best fit you. Harry, you're very welcome. Walter, very welcome there as well. Let's see. Next on our list, are there any other questions actually before we keep plowing through here? Any other?
Isabelle Faletti (00:41:21):
Yeah, looks like you covered the ones that we had come in here.
Rohn Gibson (00:41:24):
Isabelle Faletti (00:41:26):
Rohn Gibson (00:41:27):
In line with tech, my mouse just died.
Isabelle Faletti (00:41:30):
Rohn Gibson (00:41:32):
I'm telling you. I don't think Satan wants this one getting out or something, so we're just going to keep ... Ah! The Lord's going to give us strengthen and at least enough's working we can keep it on. Next on our list is events. Add your scheduled Christmas events and include details, do it now.
Isabelle Faletti (00:41:50):
Rohn Gibson (00:41:51):
Just because, maybe you don't have all the information, if you know the dates and what the schedule is going to be as far as even just the titles and locations, go to events, create an event, and add it to your events calendar. I'm not going to spend a lot of time there, I think that's pretty self-explanatory. One thing I do want to say related to events, we've talked about this in previous episodes, if you are on our flourish plan, you get access to what's called our social scheduler.
Rohn Gibson (00:42:22):
The social scheduler is great because it's a set it and forget it. Let's be honest, there's enough happening during December in the church and even outside of the church, in our personal lives with gatherings, family gatherings, all those things, and other obligations that we have going on that, right now, the calm before the storm so to speak, is start thinking about it, get it scheduled in the events, and go ahead and schedule your social media posts that will automatically post your social media platforms as you schedule them prior to the event.
Rohn Gibson (00:42:59):
Again, that's available in our flourish plan. It's integrated directly into your ChurchSpring website. Super easy for you to use on that front. Good question, Andy. As far as Instagram, I tell you, brother, we are so ready for Facebook to make it available to do that right inside of ChurchSpring so we're not able to currently do it inside of ChurchSpring. However, there are some tools that are available, we'll link those up in the show notes. There's a couple ... I hesitate giving the ones that I know because some of these have gotten purchased or just belly up and don't even exist anymore, so we'll double check into that and we'll post those in the show notes and give you access to directly which ones we'd recommend there. I just want to validate those before we share them here, send you to a site that doesn't work. Okay, so that's Events. Update your events, schedule your social post.
Rohn Gibson (00:43:58):
Next on our list is review and update your About pages. This is good for you to do right now. This is something you absolutely don't have to wait. This could be your action item from this week is to review everything, all the pages under your About section, make sure it's up-to-date. What kind of pages are we talking about? We're talking about the "I'm New" page, your "Leadership" pages, your "What to Expect" pages, your "What We Believe" page.
Isabelle Faletti (00:44:23):
Uh huh (affirmative).
Rohn Gibson (00:44:24):
I see so many churches that do not have "What We Believe" pages on their website. I literally, I was talking to my wife and she was talking about a friend. They were a group of friends on a call and one of her friends was talking about finding a new church in this new area that they moved to. One of the things that was mentioned was that she said, this isn't us saying it as church website provider. This is somebody who's looking for a new church in areas that, if a church does not have a "What We Believe" section, it automatically goes in the "I won't visit" category.
Isabelle Faletti (00:45:00):
Rohn Gibson (00:45:02):
I think that's so powerful. When they said that I'm like, "I'm going to share that with our community because that is so important." I'll tell you, I think she represents more of visitors' opinions on that than maybe what we would want to think. It's simple. Add your "What We Believe" there, so people can really identify, "Okay, here's what this church stands for," and make it very clear, very succinct, so people know where you stand on different things. Review and update all of those About pages.
Isabelle Faletti (00:45:36):
Also make sure that your leadership images are updated when you are doing that audit of your About pages. That's something also that on the support team we see a lot actually. Leadership images are not updated. That would be cause for alarm for me if I was looking for a church and the leadership images aren't updated because I want to see who the pastor is. Go ahead and make sure your images for leadership are updated and bios are updated. Again, with ChurchSpring, we give this. This is a template actually, so you don't really have to think, "How do I write a bio?", you just fill in the blank, that's what I like about it.
Rohn Gibson (00:46:17):
Yes, yes. Super easy. Such a good point. A lot of people, still with those gray, our little default images that we put out there when they sign up, so yeah, come on. You got a powerful tool in your pocket right now, even if it's a selfie picture that you need to put up there temporarily, that's fine. But these phones, they have portrait mode that blurs the background now, there's no excuse for not having some image on your site.
Isabelle Faletti (00:46:47):
Yeah, yeah. That's so good. Okay. It sounded like who was it who asked about, ah, Stephen. You asked how can we make the landing page have the simplest URL possible? I love this question, Stephen, because you're thinking ahead, yes. That is actually our ninth, not ninth, we only have eight things, we don't have nine. What is that? Our seventh recommendation to optimize your website and that is to create a short URL for your Christmas landing page.
Isabelle Faletti (00:47:21):
I will navigate to the Christmas landing page. With the way that kind of websites work with this structure, you create sub pages, which we would recommend that you do for your Christmas page, it can create a really long URL. Let me see if I can ... maybe you guys have really good eyes, but this URL is super long and it's ... our subdomain plus the main page, About Us, and then the page name. That doesn't make it easy for you to verbally tell someone, check out what's going on at my church for Christmas. That makes a really long URL for a social post that you will be scheduling. We really recommend to create a short URL that links to that.
Isabelle Faletti (00:48:11):
Basically, in short, that means I'll pop it up here. You can go to christmas.churchspring.org/Christmas, and it will immediately go to this landing page. It'll cut out all that extra page information before your end destination to make it short, easy to remember. I'm not going to go into the details of how to do that in your ChurchSpring website. Looks like Stephen said, "We just lost video." I hope ... are we still live?
Rohn Gibson (00:48:47):
Yeah, we are.
Isabelle Faletti (00:48:49):
Rohn Gibson (00:48:50):
Here's what we'll do, Stephen. This is going to post right after.
Isabelle Faletti (00:48:53):
Rohn Gibson (00:48:54):
But we will also, in the show notes, give you a direct link on how you can do that. In your settings area, you go to the website, you go look up URL redirects and that's where you can create that /Christmas. There wasn't a very succinct version but definitely go back, we'll also post a link literally to our help file, it will literally walk you through step-by-step how to do it. It's super, super easy. That's included in ChurchSpring.
Isabelle Faletti (00:49:19):
Yup, it is. I have gone through the steps of how to do this in a previous ChurchSpring live, so I will link to that also in the show notes if you prefer a video version of how to make that update. Stephen, check out the show notes later this afternoon, and we will learn how to practically do that. Create a short URL for your landing page, that's key. All right, Rohn? Want to share the last tip that we have here?
Rohn Gibson (00:49:46):
Yes, number eight. Remember what I said earlier like the most important things, and I have a short list of those things, not just one thing? A previous episode, we talked about the importance of your blog on your website. A lot of people they'll rename it updates, actually I think on our default now we call it updates, but that's using what's called a blog technology. It's super important. You can go to churchspring.com/CSL010 to learn more about the blog and how it can work. But make sure that you add announcements to your blog specifically regarding Christmas.
Rohn Gibson (00:50:21):
You're going to have your events, but then also go and create some blog content, just as things contextually come up. It could be for even internal people at your church - "Hey we're looking for help with the Christmas program, feel free to contact so-and-so." One of the most valuable benefits of your blog is search engine optimization. We have people all the time, "How do I get to the first page Google?"
Isabelle Faletti (00:50:44):
Rohn Gibson (00:50:45):
Let me tell you. It's not easy, but it's doable. We don't need easy, we just need worth it. It is worth it. What you could do is think outside of the box, and here's what I'd recommend you do. Here's just one idea just start thinking outside the box. Create a blog post that says, "Top 10 things to do at Christmas in Columbus, Ohio" or whatever your location, whatever your city is, and then have what are the favorite things that you like to do. Maybe there's a restaurant in your area that does something really special or maybe there's a Christmas concert of some sort at some other location, and then attend the Christmas Eve service at your church. That could be one of the things on that list.
Rohn Gibson (00:51:28):
There are a ton of people who are searching for terms like that. You may not connect the dots and think, "Oh! Well, okay. I want them to come to my church, so how do I connect the dots between the top 10 things to do in Columbus, Ohio at Christmas and actually getting visitors to come to your church." That's just one idea that I would recommend that you do, but really think about that. Think outside of the box of what you would normally do, what are people looking for? Those sorts of things. Really think through how can you utilize your blog to keep people up-to-date in your church as well as to be a tool from a search engine optimization perspective to get new prospective visitors to your church website in the first place.
Rohn Gibson (00:52:12):
That, right there, is our top eight things that we recommend you do to optimize your church website for the Christmas season. I feel like I've said Easter during this, I probably have, I don't know why.
Isabelle Faletti (00:52:26):
Rohn Gibson (00:52:26):
Yeah. I came to my head like, "Oh no! That's not we're talking about. We're talking Christmas." Anyway, if I did, I apologize, but just to summarize. Update the contact information on your church website, number one. Number two, your Christmas promo landing page, make sure that you get that setup and optimized. Literally, we've given you the content. We'll put that link in the show notes. Go get it, copy it off. We're even going to give you the link to the quick little 58 to 60-second little welcome invite video. We'll give that to you as well, so no excuses, number two, I want to see that notched off everybody's list.
Rohn Gibson (00:53:04):
Number three, update your homepage. It is the most visited page on your church website, and that's not going to change anytime soon. Make sure it's optimized and ready to invite people to your Christmas gatherings. Number four, images. Update when appropriate. I love how you said that yo don't want it to feel like Christmas puked all over your website. Appropriate, but obviously we want it to be relevant. That's really the point here.
Isabelle Faletti (00:53:30):
Rohn Gibson (00:53:30):
Relevancy increases response. That's why relevancy is important. It's not just, "Oh! They're just trying to get me to follow these standards for no purpose whatsoever." No, relevancy increases response, so therefore that's why updating Christmas imagery in a tasteful way all throughout your site can be a very a powerful thing for you. Next, number five, events. Make sure you add your events, your Christmas events to your events calendar. Do it now. Even if you don't have all the information, don't wait, go ahead and do it now before you forget about it, or you get the avalanche of Christmas activity that happens. "Oh, we forgot to put that on there." Go do it now.
Isabelle Faletti (00:54:11):
Rohn Gibson (00:54:12):
While we're in the calm, can I say that? Because I know what's going on in this world. I'm not blind to that. Go ahead, schedule some time, do it now. Number six, review and update your About pages. Make sure you have a "What We Believe" page you. You heard it, not from my mouth but from somebody's literally looking for a new church. The "What We Believe" section is so important. Obviously, we talked about some other things, I just want to highlight that. Make sure you review and update your About pages.
Rohn Gibson (00:54:43):
Number seven, create that short URL. It was a great question, Stephen. Thanks so much for asking that. Make sure you create that short URL, we call it URL redirects inside of ChurchSpring. Again, we'll link that up in the show notes. Then, add some content to your site. Add the blog post. We talked about the top 10 things to do, put your city and state, and then one of those things, one of them being attending your church for Christmas Eve or whatever that might be. Some things to think about there. All right. Let's see if we have any other audience questions before we jump into taking action here.
Isabelle Faletti (00:55:22):
Okay. This is your last chance for all those who are listening to have live response hear from Rohn and Isabelle.
Rohn Gibson (00:55:29):
Isabelle Faletti (00:55:29):
Seriously, if you have any questions about the landing page, about updating images, anything, ask away. We want to make sure that when you leave this episode, you are fully equipped to update your website, that you are confident in updating your website to really be welcoming your visitors, because we know that you are welcoming, so we want to make sure that your guests feel that connection with your church by visiting your website.
Rohn Gibson (00:56:01):
All right. Let's go ahead. We're going to talk action items and just give them a minute to enter any last questions here. Just like we talked about earlier, this is all about taking ... At the end of your landing page and throughout your Christmas landing page, having a call to action, we want to have a call to action to. We want to practice what we preach here. It's time to take action, and all of you should be thinking, out of these eight things, what's that minimum one thing that you can do? I'd love to see that. What is one thing that you are committed to taking action on over the next, I'll give you two weeks. Not the next week, the next two weeks. What are you committed to taking action on based on what we've shared today? Let us know in the comments. I'd love to read those. The thing that I would recommend out of all these things that you take action on is to create that Christmas landing page.
Isabelle Faletti (00:56:54):
Rohn Gibson (00:56:54):
It's such an important tool for you, as well as those who are members of your church, we equip them with the tool that they can utilize to invite people to your local gathering. I know we had somebody on earlier that was thinking about joining ChurchSpring so I just want to put out. I know we showed a ton of stuff, obviously, everything we showed today within the ChurchSpring platform, still relevant regardless of whether you use ChurchSpring or not, so please go and implement it regardless of whether you use this or not. But if you are thinking about utilizing ChurchSpring and you'd like to learn more, I'd invite you to join me and my co-founder for a demo. You can sign up at churchspring.com/demo, select the time that works best for you, and then join us.
Rohn Gibson (00:57:36):
We walk through the product as much as we can, and then we also have live chat support during business hours to answer any questions that you have. Then lastly, if maybe you've done that or maybe you don't really want a demo, you're like me, "Hey, just let me get in and mess around with it and see if it's a good fit for me," you can do that. We offer a 7-day free trial at churchspring.com/trial. You can sign up, literally within 90 seconds or less you have your site up. You can login, start making changes, and see if it's the right fit for your context. This has been awesome. All right, let's see. Any?
Isabelle Faletti (00:58:15):
Nope. No last questions. Just so everybody knows, it is 99 days until Christmas. I just Googled it. I'm hoping Google didn't lie to me, less than 100 days until Christmas. If you're thinking, "Oh! I don't need to prepare yet." Yes, you do, just 99 days.
Rohn Gibson (00:58:30):
Isabelle Faletti (00:58:32):
Yeah. Again, you can always watch this replay, it'll be available at churchspring.com/CSL017. Check back later this afternoon and I'll have updated the replay, the show notes, the link to the welcome video script. I will link also to the Christmas website that I created, so that you'll have instant access. Just copy that text on the landing page. If you do have questions about that Christmas promo landing page, reach out to our team. I'll make sure to respond to you. Make sure to help answer any questions that you may have when you're implementing this. Again, if you're a member, just send in a ticket and we'll help you out there. If you're not a member and you still have a question about how do I ... is this the right thing to do for my Christmas landing page? Send us an email, send us a contact form. We want to provide value, that's why we are here at ChurchSpring. Don't be shy. I want to hear from you.
Rohn Gibson (00:59:32):
Amen. Belinda, literally, what Isabelle just said, don't be shy.
Isabelle Faletti (00:59:36):
Rohn Gibson (00:59:37):
Feel free to reach out to us. We are here for you.
Isabelle Faletti (00:59:39):
Rohn Gibson (00:59:39):
Literally. We are here to help you, so don't hesitate to reach out to us, setting, support, reach out to us and we are more than happy to assist you. We've got some good commitments, let's see. Creating our church's Christmas landing page. That's awesome, Walter. Walter, when you create it, when you get that page set up, please come back to this video, share it in the comment, so we can come and check it out. We may even just do a little spontaneous show and tell, show off your landing page, maybe even give some other insights on it. If you'd like that, either way, we love to see that landing page, so definitely come back and-
Isabelle Faletti (01:00:19):
Yeah. We want to celebrate with you, Walter, when you do get that finished.
Rohn Gibson (01:00:22):
Yes, absolutely. Yes, Isabelle, you're so good at that. We need to celebrate. Celebrate this hard work. Just think about it. God has given us these abilities. These abilities, these tools and resources. ChurchSpring, it's not a Rohn and Mike and team creation, God led us to do these things and gave us the ability to do these things, so let's utilize them to do his work, to reach our communities with the hope that we have, and let's be honest, Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of people.
Isabelle Faletti (01:00:56):
Rohn Gibson (01:00:56):
There's a lot of people where Christmas isn't a happy time, because they don't have hope. They don't have true hope and peace, so leverage these tools, go reach your community with that hope, with the Gospel. We're excited to be part of that with you, and we are super excited about our upcoming episode.
Isabelle Faletti (01:01:23):
Rohn Gibson (01:01:24):
This was a power-packed episode. Next week's episode is literally going to be based on our number one, most visited piece of content on the ChurchSpring blog, and that is related to the Top 10 tips to optimize your church Facebook page. To grow your church, but also to engage and equip your existing church member. Next week's episode, if you want to get those top 10 tips, and it'll be updated even from the blog post that's been out there now for a couple of years, but we are super excited to jump into this next week. As we said, your church website is your home base. That is the place where you want to make sure it is optimized, it is the most up-to-date, and that's where you send people. But Facebook specifically can be one of, well I'd say it again, one of the top most powerful tools to drive traffic to your church and to your church website, so were going to give you what those top 10 tips are and the timing couldn't be more perfect.
Rohn Gibson (01:02:29):
There's a reason we did get your site optimized for Christmas, and now we're going to talk about in the next several series of how do you drive traffic to your church website to those Christmas pages during this time and Facebook is a powerful way to do that. I can't wait till next week. We're going to have a blast driving into that topic.
Isabelle Faletti (01:02:50):
It'll be fun.
Rohn Gibson (01:02:51):
I know it's good to be extremely valuable because the church has already told us that based on how much traffic we get just about one blog post, so we're excited to dive into that even more. All right, any last words, Isabelle?
Isabelle Faletti (01:03:04):
No. I think we're good. Thank you for everybody joining us. We consider it an honor each week that you plan to tune in to us for an hour, so thank you. If there are any specific topics or questions that you love for us to address in future ChurchSpring live episodes, let us know. Send in a contact form because you are why we are here at ChurchSpring. Reach out and we look forward to seeing you next week.
Rohn Gibson (01:03:31):
Yeah. Specifically, next week ChurchSpring Live. Again, Top 10 tips to optimize your church Facebook page, episode 018, next Thursday, September 24, 10AM, can't wait to see you all there. God bless everyone. We look forward to seeing you next week. Bye now.
Isabelle Faletti (01:03:53):