If you’ve ever built a church website, you know that it’s no small task. From working through the layout, developing content, adding images, proofing, and so much more, there’s a lot that goes into it. And once you’re done, you should rightfully celebrate!
However, whether you've just done this, or your church website has been up for a while now, your job has just begun. There are still things that need to be done in order to maintain your church website. The best way to move forward with updates and improvements it to evaluate your website statistics.
You can evaluate these statistics by connecting Google Analytics to your website, or by using the reporting feature from your content management system. By making data-driven decisions, you can ensure that your website is serving your members’ needs. Here are some statistics you'll want to especially pay attention to when monitoring and evaluating your church website.
1. Traffic Source
Do you know how people are finding your website? If you don't know much about a website's traffic sources, here are some examples of ways people find websites:
- Organic search traffic: The amount of traffic your website gets when someone uses a search engine (like Google) to find information
- Referrals: The traffic your website gets when someone clicks on a hyperlink from a different website
- Social media: Someone finds your website on a social media platform, such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, etc.
- Direct traffic: Someone types your web address directly into a browser
- Email marketing: If your church runs email marketing campaigns and people click on the link you've included, this is the kind of traffic it generates
- Paid search: When you advertise on platforms like Google Adwords and gain traffic through a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign
It's vital to the health of your church website to know exactly where your traffic is coming from. This will help you know where to focus your online efforts. If your church uses social media, but you're not getting any social media traffic, you may have to ramp up your engagement or remember to include a link to your church website in every post. If your organic traffic is low, you may need to evaluate your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. If you're lacking in referrals or direct traffic, you may need to rethink your marketing strategy.
2. Top Pages
Besides knowing your traffic sources, you'll also want to pay attention to which pages on your website get the most visits. This tells you the exact reason that people are going to your website. Are they visiting your upcoming events page or are they reading your pastor's blog?
Whichever page they are visiting the most often, you'll want to focus on these pages and make them easy to find. Make sure you include them in your main navigation or featured on your home page. If there are other pages that aren't as popular, you may either need to revamp those pages or decide whether or not you really need them. Keep in mind most church websites should have these 5 pages.
3. Time On Site
When people go to your website, how much time are they spending while they are there? This measurement is typically reported alongside your “bounce rate,” or the rate at which people leave your site as soon as they arrive.
If the bounce rate of your church website is abnormally high, it means that people aren’t finding what they were looking for when they clicked on your site.
Each page on your website has its own bounce rate as well. If people click on a certain page and immediately bounce off the page, it may be an indication that something is wrong with your wording or your design. Other factors that play into a high bounce rate include slow page loads, low-quality content, or people just aren't finding what they are looking for. Whatever reason, it's important to find out why your content is failing.
Remember, the average visit to a webpage is generally less than one minute. This isn't a lot of time for someone to find what they are looking for, which makes it imperative that your website is easy to navigate and that information can be quickly found. If you can get them to stay longer than that initial minute and check out a few more pages, you're definitely doing something right.
If you need to improve your bounce rate, some of the best practices include adding video, compelling graphics, and ensuring your church website stands out above the rest.
Do you know what kind of visitors your church website is attracting? Is it members who are looking for the latest information on upcoming Bible studies, or is it first-timers who need directions to your church campus? This is important for a couple of reasons. If members are your primary audience, it might mean that your church website is only being visited by those who know your website exists. If you aren't getting any new people coming to your website, maybe it’s because nobody can find it.
Also, are there only local community members coming to your website, or are some of your website visitors from out of town, out of state, or even from other countries? Are most people using your website on their mobile phone, tablet, or PC?
By knowing this information, you can make adjustments as needed to attract a wider audience.
5. CTA Click-Through Rate
If you have calls-to-action on each of your web pages, you need to find out which ones are performing well, and which ones aren't. If one isn't performing well, it might not be an offer that person is ready for or it may not match up with the rest of your content.
If you are needing to improve your CTA click-through rate, here are some sure-fire ways to do it:
- Use correct color combinations for your CTA button
- Use clear action words
- Make sure your CTA is easy to find
- Don't put too many CTAs on each webpage
- Draw attention to your CTA with graphics and images
If a CTA on your website isn’t performing well, check the design, wording, and audience of the CTA. Try to find the disconnect and adjust to make sure your offer lines up with your content.
While it is not a statistic per say, watching the behavior of your users can be extremely valuable. By installing a software like Lucky Orange or Hotjar, you can watch where users navigate, how far they scroll down each webpage, and even where their mouse hovers.
This information can help you determine what content users are reading, which links they are following, and which page they are exiting from. Besides being interesting to watch, behavior can help you determine which parts of your church website needs improvement, as well as finding ways to increase user engagement.