Lesson #2. Content. What makes people keep returning to a particular website is fresh content. The search engines are also looking for frequently updated web pages. So ask yourself this question: How often is my ministry’s website being updated? If your answer is never, then your site isn’t going to be visited too often. If your answer is once a month, that’s better, but if you really want to improve your visibility online, you need to be adding content every day.
I know a lot of websites have been created by a web designer with a lot of pictures and a message from the Pastor, and some links to the different ministries, and all of that is good – if you want to people to know about your ministry, then leave. Most ministry websites are just big electronic business cards. They give the basic contact information, and that is all. They are not making adequate use of the power of the Internet.
You say, “But Sam, my web designer will charge me an arm and a leg to post something new every day.”
You say, “But Sam, I don’t know anything about creating a website.”
You’re right again, but now you don’t have to know anything about website design. It’s called a Blog.
A blog, for those of you saying, “What’s a blog?” is like an electronic journal online. Many sites offer free blogs – Blogger.com, MyBlogSite, etc. My favorite is WordPress.com. This page is a WordPress site. I have it as part of my hosting package, but if you haven’t created a site yet, I recommend creating a WordPress Site. You can create a great site that you yourself can easily update using WordPress. You’ll need a hosting company to do this. I recommend Blue Host. There’s a banner on this page. (Yes, I get a little commission if you sign up with them, but it really is the best place to go if you are looking to start a site for under $100) That said, you need to be able to update your website daily with new content. I know that in ministry, there is always more to share. Pastors can take one of their messages and post a shorter version online. They can give a daily devotional, or share a praise report. There is always something new to post. The point is, in order to get noticed by the search engines, and in order to have a website that people will want to return to, you need to keep updating the information that is on it. You have to keep offering your visitors something new.
If you have one of these sites that has been created by an outside company, and you can’t have it updated daily, here’s what you do:
1. You create a blog. Just Google “free blogs” or go to Blogger.com or WordPress.com. I recommend WordPress, because there is so much you can do with it. I’m still learning all the cool things a person can do with WordPress.
2. Once you set the blog up, tell your designer to add a link to it prominently on your front page.
It’s that easy. Now you don’t have to bother your designer anymore. All you have to do now is set aside time every day to update your blog.
Obviously, it would be better to have your primary page the one that is being daily updated. Again, If you’re just starting out online, I would create your ministry’s website on WordPress. There are so many different FREE themes out there that you can use to make an attractive website that not only tell people what your ministry is all about, it offers you the ability to easily update your pages with new content.
People will see that there will be new messages posted everyday, and they’ll come back again and again and again.
Pretty cool huh?
Stay tuned for lesson #3.