We recently had the opportunity to interview one of our ministry partners, Don from Worship Center, on content strategy and its role at his church.
Don, your team is currently working on a church website redesign, can you share more about that?
Two years ago we began rebuilding our church website. It was a complete overhaul from the ground up. We were tackling the entire project, and it was the first time we were doing it with a strategy in mind. There’s quite a bit to take in. Our previous site had no content strategy. It was not developed with intentionality. So, like I said, we were tackling a whole lot of things that we had never really done before. Now, a year after the original launch of the new site, we are redesigning the UI/UX but it’s still being built on the content strategy we initially developed with you.
How was it having the Ekklesia 360 team with you through the development process?
I think you guys came alongside us. I contracted with Ekklesia for the all-day strategy session. Because we had never built a website strategically, we didn't know where to start. I would say if you've never done it before, don't be afraid to get help. It’s necessary. You’ll learn from the experience, but let somebody help you. You helped, not just in building a strategy for our site, but in the fundamentals of web strategy.
As part of the content strategy we recommended you install analytics, how has that been helpful?
We were using Google Analytics on our previous site, but sparingly. Now that we’re referencing the data, we have over a year’s worth of analytics to take a look at. This info comes to play in our redesign to see what areas we’re doing well in and what areas need to be refined. Building the site from the ground up, we built for the big picture of the strategy - it was a lot. Now through analytics, we can focus on specific areas intentionally.
How has that changed the way you make decisions as a staff?
I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is that we do make a lot of assumptions. When we are addressing behaviors of a demographic or segment of our audience, we assume they think or behave in a certain way but we don’t have anything to show for why we think this way.
With analytics, we can look at traffic and see patterns we would just guess at previously. For instance, with unique site visitors, we see what they’re clicking on and the path they take. Now we have proof of the behavior new visitors have on our site. One key area unique visitors are clicking on is our Staff Page. I proposed that the page would be popular for visitors to our site as they explore what our church is like. Things like the age demographic of your staff, how many staff you have, and what areas of ministry you have a staff position for are all indicators of what your church might be like or what the priorities are. This has proven itself out through the data we have seen. The staff page is one of the highest in unique visits on our site.
If you had advice for a church who wasn’t tracking analytics, what would you say to them?
It’s a good question. I would ask how they truly measure or know their level of effectiveness and in what areas? If they're not basing this on any data, they’re just guessing. To me, it seems like an important thing to know how effective we are with what God is asking us to do. I’d share this simple and free resource they can use to learn more about church website analytics. By using analytics, they will know where people are going and not going and what they’re doing or not doing on their site.
For churches that don’t have a content strategy what would you share with them?
Strategy is an interesting topic in some type of church communities. But I believe God is a strategic thinker. And if He is, we should be too. Think of the plan of salvation, for example. We refer to it as “a plan.” It began right after the fall and culminated with Jesus being raised from the dead. All of the prophecies that had to first be spoken, then fulfilled by Jesus didn’t happen haphazardly. We should approach the things that God has entrusted to us with the same strategic intentionality. This includes our website, which is our church online. Otherwise, we’re just shooting in the dark when it comes to connecting with and moving our online audience toward spiritual growth.
Free Content Strategy White Paper
We’ve found the best way to achieve results is through a content strategy. This strategy addresses the complex series of issues created by the sheer quantity of content produced by churches.