Claiming church listings.
A little tedious.
And you should absolutely do it for your church.
There are a few ways that churches can grow:
- Word of mouth from current members (or regular visitors)
- Engaging with your community outside of your church walls on social media
- Being found online through search engines
Each of these growth verticals require an accurate web presence. Why? Because no matter what, people are going to end up going to Google to find your church.
The Internet has changed the way churches operate, retain talent and leadership, grow membership, engage with community, and make an eternal impact across the world. Churches today have a massive opportunity, and it all begins with connecting with people in your local community.
“We’ve got to get this right as the Church. Eternity is literally on the line!”
– Van Baird, That Church Conference
All Churches Should Be Found Online
One of my favorite metrics to watch on Church.org is the dramatic increase in traffic starting on Saturday afternoon.
Nearly every week, traffic begins to spike by 50-70% at around 1pm through the early hours of Sunday morning. Around 85% of the traffic to church.org comes from believers and seekers trying to find information about a new church and even their current church.
This creates a massive opportunity for churches to help connect with their local community, which is actively pursuing the Church. Simply by creating the opportunity of being found online, your church’s web presence can help people discover a Christian community.
For this reason, getting the basics of just being found should often be one of the highest priorities for a church communicator or staff member.
How to Increase Your Church’s Visibility Through Online Listings
Helping people find your church online is one of the most passive ways to increase attendance and welcome new families and individuals. It’s a key piece of any church communications strategy, which should also include social media outreach and content creation.
There are a few easy steps that churches of all sizes must take in order to improve visibility for seekers and believers that are searching online.
1. Make sure that your website is up-to-date and accurate. Check your phone number, email address or contact form, and your church’s physical address
2. Using the same information on your website, claim these top listings for churches:
3. Check through your social media to make sure that your location and contact information is correct.
4. Start creating content that will add value (educate, edify, entertain) your congregation and visitors. A blog on your website is a great way to achieve this goal.
5. Engage in social media. Don’t just be about YOU. Connect with others in your local community and simply support them. Focus on uplifting people who go and don’t go to your church.
The Easiest Way to Invite People Through Your Doors
Have you ever used Google Maps or Apple Maps and showed up at the wrong place? That can be pretty frustrating.
In the business world, these types of digital mistakes lead to small businesses losing business to their competitors. In the church world, these types of digital mistakes can lead to people losing hope and turning around to go back home. We can only pray that they find a different church on the way home to plug into.
Claiming your online listings is an easy way to help make sure that people can get plugged into your church community. For many, it can be the first opportunity to receive love from a group of people that love Jesus.
Being found online helps others find Jesus, and the Church cannot ignore this simple digital step.
Kevin Ekmark is a partner at Church.org, a Christian media and technology company dedicated to connecting communities with their local church. He has set marketing strategies for over 1000 local businesses and churches in the past 10 years. You can follow Kevin on his personal website, Twitter, and Instagram.