Just as we have only one opportunity to make a first impression, your church’s website has only seconds to capture interest. As the church and the rest of the world become more accessible and more connected — thanks in large part to the web, social media and mobile devices — it’s more important than ever that our churches have informative, easy-to-navigate websites. A website’s content plays a huge role in its effectiveness. But how do you know if your content is having the impact you’re looking for? Asking users to provide ongoing feedback is an effective and efficient way to make sure you’re engaging with individuals visiting your church’s website. One way to do this is through short, focused surveys. By proactively engaging users on your site, you will gather information that will allow you to make sure users are able to get the results they want and that you’re getting optimal functionality from your site. This will require staff reading, following up and in some instances, implementing recommendations. Collecting data and not doing anything with it is not a good use of your resources or time.
This month, we provide tips on ways to engage your website’s users while gathering constructive feedback.
Proactively engaging your site’s visitors will require you to generate interaction and ask them to provide feedback.
- Getting good customer feedback necessitates targeting certain users for their input.
- Timing is everything. Proactively engaging your users will allow you to determine when, what and how much feedback you want from them.
Passively engaging visitors to your site allows them to initiate contact and feedback with you. You may accomplish this by placing a form in a highly visible location on your website. The benefits of passively engaging your visitors include:
- Redirecting negative feedback from social media to the person monitoring your website for comments.
- Letting individuals know you are open to their comments and willing to listen to what they have to say.
Tools to acquire your visitors’ feedback
Creating the correct survey tool to acquire the right information is essential to getting useful insight about your church’s website. A good survey should provide the feedback you need. Quality surveys should not be lengthy — three to six questions should be your maximum and the surveys should not take more than three or four minutes to complete. Some examples of surveys include:
- General benchmarking. This type of survey is used most frequently for gathering feedback from users. Benchmarking is a tool to measure the quality of your site when compared to best practices for others in your industry. A general benchmarking survey should be used to determine user satisfaction at the beginning of your process. Once you’ve received feedback from your users you can set your baseline or standard for your site if you have not done so previously. If you have a set baseline the survey will let you know if your site is meeting those standards. With this feedback you will be able to measure your site’s performance over time.
- Subject-specific surveys allow you to focus on just that — specifics. With this type of survey, you’re able to ask exact actionable questions to get the feedback you’re looking for. Perhaps you’re wanting to know if your Sunday school curriculum was easily found on your church’s website. Subject-specific surveys allows you to ask users questions specifically focused on their unique experience. By homing in on a focused user or the functionality of your site, you should get the pertinent feedback needed to ensure a positive and productive experience for your users.
- Task completion surveys should ask three basic questions:
- What was the purpose of your visit to our website today?
- Were you able to complete your task today?
- If not, what prevented you from completing your task today?
Knowing why users visit your church’s website is critical to having a user-friendly site. This also helps you determine the optimum content to post. Asking users, the simple question “Were you able to complete your task today?” will quickly let you know if your site provided what the user needed and the problems users may be having with your site. A negative experience creates frustrated users who are less likely to frequent your site, and that could lead to a negative perception of your church.
“What prevented you from completing your task today?” is an open-ended question that can provide an opportunity to hear directly from your users. Providing a text box to allow users to answer this question in their own words will give you great insight on issues of concern from your users. Group replies into common issues and tally the responses by percentage. By doing so you will have concrete data on ways to improve and enhance your church’s site.