In this day and age, it is extremely important to have a presence online. However, just having a website isn’t always enough. A website’s layout and content play huge roles in its effectiveness. Statistics show that:
- 85 percent of users leave websites due to poor design.
- 40 percent never return because the content was hard to find.
- 83 percent of users leave because there were too many clicks to find what they wanted.
- 75 percent of visitors admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.
The last thing you want is for users to abandon your website once they get there. Here are some tips on how to create an effective website to keep your viewers happy and coming back.
- Identify your target audience.
Figure out who you want coming to your website and determine what they are looking for. If your target audience is men and women ages 40–60, you probably shouldn’t use lingo only teenagers would know.
- Set goals for your website.
If you aren’t setting goals, then how will you know what you want your website to accomplish? First, determine what you want your website to do. A few common things websites are designed to obtain are donations, volunteers and awareness.Then, make sure your website is set up to achieve these goals. Dedicate pages for donations or volunteer information.
- Understand how users interact with your website.
It is important to know how people are using your website and where they are coming from. There are many online tools that can help you track what users are doing. Google Analytics is a free online tool that will tell you who visited your site, how long they stayed and what pages they viewed. It can also tell you how users found your website, so you can know if your efforts are paying off. The tool will show if users found your website directly, through a search engine or through a referral (like social media).
- Brand your website.
It is vital to align your website with your brand. Place your logo on every page and use the same color scheme on each page. You want to make sure users know exactly whose website they are viewing.
- Keep it simple.
Your home page should immediately tell what your church is about. Tabs for other pages on your site should also be easily found. Remember, 83 percent of users leave websites because the content was hard to find and 40 percent of those users will never return.
- Make your contact info easy to find.
Internet users have the attention span of a toddler. If they can’t find your information fast, odds are they will leave and not come back. At the very least, have your phone number at the bottom of every page. However, putting your address and email on every page will make it very easy for new or current users to contact you when needed.
- Focus on web design.
The way your website is laid out is just as important as the content on it. Studies show that people scan web pages in an “F” pattern and rarely see what is on the middle or bottom right of the screen. Make sure your most important information is in the top right of each web page.
- Make your website mobile-friendly.
It is very common for people to access websites from multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Making sure your website is mobile-friendly will enable your site to be effective on every platform.
This was quite helpful. Hope I find time to implement ideas!
I am surprised that you did not include visitors in the items that the website is designed to obtain. That is the first goal that we had when designing our site. The second was communication among our members. And, of course, we wanted to keep it easy to use with pictures and easy to read text. Part of the communication piece was to let our members and long term attendees be able to join the website and access restricted pages with information that is not “private” but that we did not want the whole world to see. This includes governing documents, names of elders, deacons and committee members, financial documents, etc. We are in the first phases of this last step so we will see what happens. We can also send emails from the site, have announcements about upcoming events — ones that might attract visitors. We also have the ability to have signups for events. Those who join can also be notified when new pages are added or existing pages are changed. It will be interesting to see how this works for us. The next step is to start an on-line giving campaign, which will most likely be with the Presbyterian Foundation.
Thanks for this article. It is helpful.
Will there be a local workshop on this in the Los Angeles, California area? Will the trainers be coming to Los Angeles? If yes, do we sign up through our own church and through our own pastor?
Bruce, I don’t know how your comment didn’t come through. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. Workshops are schedule by the Presbytery. We are more than happy to come to the Los Angeles area. Simply contact your presbytery and let them know your interested. We require at least 20 participants in a workshop. You may give your Presbytery Exec my contact information which is firstname.lastname@example.org and I can walk them through the process. There is no fee connected to us conducting a workshop.