Questions we consider:
- Is social media more visible than a website?
- How do businesses and organisations make themselves visible to potential customers?
- Is there a definitive answer?
- What should be expected from church websites – and any other websites?
Getting to the church on time (getting the church times)
Finding a church on the internet should be easy – you would think. I recently visited a village in the south west of Northern Ireland. I wanted to go to church in the evening and discovered that it was harder to find out what was on offer than I expected.
I assumed it would be pretty straight-forward, type a search term, something like ‘(village name) churches’ or ‘churches in (village name)’, visit the various church websites, and do a similar search on Facebook.
What I wanted from my web search:
- a little bit about each church
- what is the address / location?
- do they have an evening church service?
- what are the church service times
My website search brought up approx seven churches:
- some had websites
- some of the websites weren’t up to date
- some of the church websites didn’t exist any more
- some were listed on Google Maps, but some of the listings hadn’t been claimed, so didn’t have much info
- some were only listed on directories (which didn’t seem to be up to date)
- some were listed on their denomination’s main website, which worked quite well
My Facebook search showed some churches:
- some had Facebook pages
- some didn’t have Facebook pages
- most or all of the Facebook pages didn’t list the church service times
There was one church website that was very clear and straightforward about:
- what the church was like
- their location
- times of their church services
Their church website appeared to be the only one in the area that had an evening service, so I ended up going there.
What can be learned from this about visibility on the internet?
This story is about an online search / website search for a church and church websites, but there’s plenty of things we can learn about promoting our businesses, charities, organisations or things like events. I was a visitor to the area, so I may have known more about the local churches if I lived in the area. A local person may also be looking for this information.
Information on your website or social media page
Facebook can be good, but information needs to be on the page – and as easy to find as possible. Having clear info on your website is really important, as are giving a bit of thought to levels of importance, and making the information as accessible as possible.
Doing some (SEO) search engine optimisation for your location will improve the chances of your business having good visibility and will help you compete well with your local competition.
Think about different groups of potential customers that might want to find your service.
Do I need a website?
Whether or not you need a website probably depends on what business or service you offer. Because:
- your website belongs to you and its visibility is controlled by you – in comparison to a Facebook page, or other social media, which is controlled by the social media platform
- having a website, Facebook page and other social media is probably the best way to make your business really visible
- a website – even if it doesn’t have loads of info – is still a good fixed point for you to list your services and give potential customers your location and contact details
Best way to promote your business or charity on the internet?
Having a website is good because everyone who has a smartphone or desktop computer has the potential to find you. Having a Facebook page is good, as it’s very much the biggest social media platform. Which social media do you like, and use (Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, WhatsApp), using the social media that you like is good, as you hopefully will enjoy using it and posting on it.
Want to talk or meet up?
We’re always happy to talk on social media, WhatsApp, by phone or message (John 0777 999 1551), email or to meet up – either at your home or workplace or at our office in Abbots Langley (behind the Harry Potter Studio), north Watford, Herts.