Livestreaming has taken the digital center stage for many churches in 2020. Church leaders and communications staff are spending a lot of time, energy, and money to either start or improve their live online experience.
Streaming your services to social platforms like Facebook or YouTube is a great first step, but don’t stop there! Your website is still one of your most powerful digital tools. Adding your livestream to your website can be an easy win to help increase your reach.
Here are four benefits to adding your livestream to your church website:
Benefit #1 – A Consistent Call to Action
Embedding your livestream on your church website gives you an opportunity to simplify your messaging. You can create a dedicated “Live” page on your website with an easy to share URL that never changes, e.g. mychurch.org/live.
When the URL is always the same, this allows you to more easily share the link in your communications instead of having to create or find a new URL every week.
Benefit #2 – Engage First Time Visitors
It’s been said many times, but your website is the new front door of your church. Visitors who have never been to your church before are likely going to find you via a Google search. More often than not, Google will be directing those people to your website. According to Google Trends, most people are searching for churches on Sundays – likely when you have a livestream available.
Instead of hoping that first-time visitors will take the time (and additional clicks) to find your livestream on another platform, make it easy to help them watch where they already are – your website. Reducing barriers between visitors and opportunities to connect with your church can only help lead to more connections.
Benefit #3 – Maximize the Power of Video
Video has staying power. In fact, video helps increase the average time someone spends on a website by 88% (Mist Media). When your livestream is on your website, you gain an opportunity to help people take their next steps online instead of being distracted by ads, Facebook posts, or YouTube’s next video. A digital connection card, giving button, or downloadable resources are just a few ideas of things to include on the same page as your livestream.
Benefit #4 – Avoid Social Media Lock-In
There are most likely people in your community and congregation that are not active on social media. Some senior saints struggle with technology and other people deliberately choose to stay off social media. Whatever the reason, these people should still be able to connect with your livestream. Embedding your livestream on your website lowers the barrier to entry for anyone who wants to watch. No social media account, login, or app required, just access to your website.
Also, if you don’t stream to multiple social media platforms, what happens if you decide to switch from Facebook to YouTube? Or from YouTube to Vimeo? Instead of having to re-educate those who already struggle with technology, they can simply keep going to your website.
Automate the Process
To embed a livestream on your website, you need to copy and paste your livestream’s unique HTML embed code, typically every time you go live. If you aren’t using a scheduled livestream, you will have to get the embed code and update your website after your livestream has already started. Not ideal, especially if you are involved in other parts of your video production or worship service.
Once your livestream is over, you should replace the embed code with something that is relevant to your visitors throughout the rest of the week, whether it’s more information about your church or a link to your sermon archive where they can watch past sermons.
If your website is powered by WordPress, there is a set it and forget it solution that runs automatically when you go live without having to manually update your site every time. WP Livestream is a WordPress plugin that automatically embeds your livestream on your website. When you go live, you can alert your website visitors with a notification across your website. After your livestream is over, WP Livestream will take the notification down and can show alternative content on your livestream page.
If you’re already putting in the effort to livestream your church services, make the most of it by embedding your livesteam into your website as well.