Case Study: Journey Church Growth Strategies
It would be great if church growth strategies did not require as much effort. It would be so much easier to just focus on doing church and not having to focus on getting people to church.
Many people want to stay away from putting online church growth strategies in place to get people through the doors because they feel they are somehow unspiritual.
People should just want to come to church right? They should just be “led” to attend.
The reality is that people DO want to come to church. However, a lot of the people who need to find your church are not necessarily tuned in to the voice of God at that point in their lives.
Obviously God is dealing with them to connect with a church, so He COULD send them directly to yours. But, many times when they have that spiritual desire to attend church they take a natural step and begin searching.
Their search nearly always begins online, and the churches on the FIRST page of Google or in Google Maps results are probably where they are going to begin creating a list of places to visit.
The question for you is this.
Is your church easily findable and accessible at the very moment when God is dealing with them to find a church? Can they find your church when they begin their search?
Church Growth Strategies – Journey Church Improves Online Visibility
Awhile back I resigned my staff position at a great church in Oklahoma to move to Missouri near some of my family and begin this website with the goal of helping churches get more easily found online.
My brother had started a church a few years before, and it had grown from nothing to now around 400-500 in weekly attendance. When we moved back to the area we began attending that church.
One of the first things we did together was to look at the online strategy of the church to see what could be improved. I had created the original website around the time the church started, but that was before it was important to have a mobile responsive design.
If your church does not have a Mobile Responsive Website Design that resizes itself well for mobile phones and tablets you most likely are being demoted in Google search in your area. Google has made it clear that being setup for mobile devices is now a requirement if you want to be promoted in search.
So we needed to update the website quickly. We began the process of thinking through the exact approach we wanted to take that would bring the most benefit to current attenders AND potential new visitors.
Our solution was to put a very clear link to the “I’m New” Page near the top of the Front Page, then include everything we normally talk about on a regular basis in services on the Front Page as well. That way we could always say to go to the main website address and our most talked about connection points would be just one click away.
We focused our search engine optimization on local church search terms, and after the update, we have been able to maintain the #1 spot in Liberty, Missouri search terms for churches in the area.
You can search the terms yourself, but remember that your results can be skewed by your personal Google searches and your Google history. What matters is what local searchers see when they search in your specific local area. You may have to clear your browser cache and history to see accurate results even in your local area.
Remember that Google placement can change quickly, but this #1 is our current placement locally.
If you want to see the updated new site I created you can go to www.journeykc.com
Just fixing the website alone, however, is NOT going to solve all of your online visibility problems.
Even if you have a mobile responsive and well-optimized website for church search terms in your local community, there is more you need to do to help your church get found.
Additional steps that contributed to our online church growth strategy that have helped people find the church included…
- Optimizing our Google Business and Google Maps listings
- Claiming and Optimizing our Local Business Directory Listings
These listings are extremely important to the online visibility of your church, and act as a direct way to communicate with Google that your church is open, your information is correct, and your church website connects to your physical address.
When Google gets that information verification it is much more likely to INCREASE YOUR CHURCH IN GOOGLE SEARCH.
Visit www.findingyourchurch.com/FreeScan to request a FREE Church Online Visibility Report and find out how well your church listings are optimized and how visible your church is in these Local Business Directories.
Online Visibility Results for Journey Church
As a result of redesigning the church website to be Mobile Responsive and more user-friendly as well as claiming and optimizing our Local Business Directory Listings and Google Business and Maps listings… we began to see great results.
You have to remember that these results DO NOT typically happen immediately.
Depending on how long your church has been online as well as the “competition” for church-related Google search terms in your area your church may have more of a struggle getting to #1 or even on the front page. It depends on your situation and your local area.
But within a few months we were #1 for local search terms in Liberty, Missouri, and also on the front page for some Northland Kansas City search terms. We had always been around or on the front page, but completing those two steps locked us into the #1 spot in Liberty for sure. As a result of being #1 and near #1 in these search terms we have had a MASSIVE INCREASE in new visitors and guests.
Every week we have multiple families attending for the first time, and nearly ALL of them say they found our church online first. Yes we have people in the church inviting people too. But the ones who are walking through the door with no connection to people in our church are the majority of the new visitors we have. They ALL say they found us online FIRST because we were so easy to find.
One week in the middle of the Summer when most churches are struggling to get new visitors we had ELEVEN NEW FAMILIES. Not eleven new guests. Eleven new FAMILIES visited on one random Sunday. We were not doing an outreach or special service either. It was a regular Sunday, and they nearly all of them [if not all] found us directly online.
Not only do we get local people attending, but we also get people who are just in town for a night or two and want to attend church. Since we are at the top they have told us that they simply choose us and stop searching.
Another type of visitor that this has helped us reach is people in crisis. Just last week we had a new local family who had not been to church in years attend Journey. Their family had experienced a personal tragedy the day before and felt like they needed to go to church. They searched and ours was first.
The bottom line is this. If your church is not doing everything it can to become found more easily online your missing amazing opportunities.
>> Can I help your church?
My mission with FindingYourChurch.com is simply this. I want to help churches get found online and help the people who are searching for churches more easily find them.
There are so many missed opportunities that may be passing right by your church and you will never even know what could have been possible. Those people who you could have helped may have simply found a church other than yours and went there instead.
The reality is that the church they do find may not even be a good church. You know yours is great and yours can help them right? Why not help them find yours instead?
We are definitely not in competition with other churches. But, if we really believe in the mission that God has for our church and what we can provide for those potential new visiting families then I believe we should do everything we can to help them find OUR church.
If have questions about your church online presence or would like help getting your church found more easily online similar to Journey Church contact me [Jeremy Phillips] at firstname.lastname@example.org
My goal is simple. Help churches get found by new visitors.
Results like Journey Church are not guaranteed. But if you have not put these strategies in place, your church will be at an extreme disadvantage in getting found on Google and those potential new visitors will most likely visit a church down the street instead.
Contact me at email@example.com to work with me directly, or check out The Finder Resource Membership that walks you step by step through several ideas to help your church online visibility including what we just discussed.
Get your Free Finder Resource Membership at www.findingyourchurch.com/TheFinderResource