One struggle for a church is how to best utilize your website. While it may be tempting to launch your website, set it, and forget it, there’s so much more you can accomplish with your site. Sure, making sure your are visitor-focused is important. Having all of your church service times, mission, upcoming events, and everything else that describes your church is very helpful. But what about other content?
Your church website should be the hub for all things communication for your church. Social media, email, print materials, all of your communication should point people back to your website. How do you do that? Consistently add content to your website through a blog.
For creating content for your church website, here are 10 ways to utilize a blog.
1. Lead Pastor Update Blog
Let’s face it, your lead pastor is a wealth of information and content. They have a ton of information to share all the time. Instead of waiting for that next email to go out in the middle of the week at strange times and at an inconsistent rhythm, coach your lead pastor in writing weekly updates as blog posts. While you have your communication schedule planned and information ready to go out, build into that regular rhythm of your weekly or bi-weekly newsletter a link back to your lead pastor’s updates. Rather than email inboxes getting flooded at weird intervals, let your lead pastor do what they do best and publish content. Your website is a great outlet for lead pastor publications.
2. Devotions and Sunday Teaching Extensions
Speaking of pastoral publications, your blog is the perfect space for devotional content. You can also expand your authorship to other ministry leaders to hear different voices and even recruit some gifted volunteer leaders to share devotional thoughts. Honestly, can your pastor and other leaders get all they want to say out in one message on a Sunday? In fact, encourage your pastor(s) to save anything they cut from sermon prep into another document. Use that content that didn’t make the final sermon draft as an extension of Sunday’s teaching. Why waste good content?
3. Ministry Specific News
As your church grows in size, or maybe you are already there, you find yourself grasping at straws to keep all of the communication together for an entire church. You probably feel like there is an overwhelming amount of communication from all corners of your church’s ministry areas, probably to a point where you may have members getting two emails from their small group leader, one from their volunteer coordinator, one from the lead pastor, three from children’s and student ministry leaders about their kids, and all of that is probably before you send out an all-church newsletter that everyone is supposed to read. That’s a lot. So, how can you minimize the clutter? Help your ministry leaders set up a news blog for their individual page. Again, use that approach to then point your members back to the website.
4. Sermon Video Blog Posts
However you manage your sermon videos, creating blog posts using the video link (usually from YouTube or Vimeo) is a great strategy to add meta data to your sermon content and gain more traction on your website. What does that mean? Search engines love when content is consistently being added to your website. How search engines and people find content on your website is through keyword searches. Every time you post a new sermon video as a blog, use categories and tags for each sermon to help your content be more accessible by searches. You can organize your sermons by series, but also include categories (i.e. Faith, God, Servanthood, Justice) and tags (John 1, New Testament, Old Testament, Exodus, Family, Friendship) so people can search topically instead of by just series.
5. Church Newsletter Content
We’ve heard it before. We’ve probably experienced it ourselves. The super long email that has so much information and is too difficult to sort through and has all of its pictures blocked so you don’t bother to read it. It probably ended up in most people’s spam folders. Why not cut through the clutter by moving your church newsletter content to your website. It’s easily accessible, it is sorted by date, it doesn’t compete with other emails in an inbox so people can go back and easily find it again. And, most importantly, you get your members back onto your website again. You may still send out a weekly newsletter by email, but limit the reading time and how many call to action items you have by directing people to jump out and into your website.
6. Small Group Study Questions
If you church creates questions for your small group studies based on your sermon teaching, why not leverage that connection even more by sharing that content through your website? Post your weekly study questions along with your sermon videos, then link back and forth between the two so people can easily reference it. Do you have a church app? Great! Use your study questions blog RSS feed and simply add that link to a tab in your app. Publish one article in one place and it goes straight to your app. No more uploading document, printing questions, or emailing materials. Maybe you still add a PDF version to the post, that’s okay. Post your questions where everyone can access them from anywhere and on any device.
7. Church Bulletin Blog
Similar to your small group study questions, you can utilize your blog for adding your church bulletin and have it connected to your church media. Your church might be (read should be) thinking more digitally in 2020, so use the tools you have available to produce your traditional print content through your website. You could still include a print version for people to download, but take advantage of your websites mobile responsiveness and hyperlinking capabilities by putting your bulletin as a blog post. Again, you have great meta data, in particular the date posted, and you can add links to sign ups, connect card forms, embed sermon notes, and more. The best part, you can send this to your members ahead of time so they have it ready for Sunday morning.
8. Serve Opportunities Blog
Even though we’ve been using the word blog as singular, your website (particularly if you are using WordPress or a service like TheChurchCo.com) can have multiple blogs with multiple categories. This content management strategy is perfect for organizing and posting serve opportunities. Have a landing page on your website called Serve, and make it easily filterable for people to choose opportunities to serve the church in areas like children’s ministry, worship, ushering, welcome teams, tech and operations teams, and more. You can also feature community serve opportunities or highlight local organizations. Post about clothing or food drives. The options are endless, but you can make it easy for people by pointing them again back to your website. When a person says, “Hey, I want to serve somewhere.” Send them to the place on your website where all of the most up-to-date opportunities are posted.
9. Mission Trip Journals
One of the best reasons blogs are so valuable for your church website is that you can recruit and train other people in your congregation to create content. As a communicator, you are probably not going on every mission trip your church organizes. You might not have an opportunity to go on one ever. But, wouldn’t people love to read about what God is doing in the world through your church? Equip a person going on a mission trip to do daily blog posts about what the team is doing on their journey. It’s a great way to tell a visual story too because the mission team can take pictures or videos on their trip and include those in their posts. If internet connectivity is an issue for a missions team, send them with a journal and publish the content once the team returns. There is no better way for the rest of your church to be part of the mission going out into the world than to follow the team with them through their trip journal.
We are impacted by stories and storytelling more than any other form of communication. The emotional impact of personal stories captivates us in ways we can’t even describe most of the time. Whether through video, audio, or writing, feature people in your church or in your community who have experienced life change through the Gospel and through your church. There is no better method of sharing the Gospel of Jesus than through storytelling. Why wouldn’t we emulate what Christ did most in His teaching. He used ordinary people, places, occupations, and experiences to reveal to people the very nature of God. When we hear stories of people who we are familiar with and know personally, we are impacted even more by learning how God is moving in and through your church and community. Stories are out there, you just need to find them and share them. This is probably some of the best content you can add to your church website. Publishing stories on your website on a consistent basis shows that God is active in your church.
The internet is a funny place, and search engines are weird. While nothing is an exact science these days, there is one thing that can be guaranteed. You can boost your church website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by consistently adding content to your website. Don’t be satisfied with a pretty website that just tells people about your church and where to find it. Utilize a blog on your website to show people that God is at work in your church. Keep people coming to your website and make it your central hub for communication and storytelling.