Engaging Guests Online to Visit in Person


Branding like a president is certainly no cake-walk. From the foundation of your brand to print and from word of mouth to social media , you have to work diligently to build your brand and attract visitors to your website. What you do with your visitors once they get there is perhaps the most important element of your branding. After all, you are building your brand to attract online visitors with the ultimate goal of getting them through the doors of your church.

So, what are you doing to turn those online guests into in-person visitors?

The most basic step is to make sure you have a website designed to engage your online visitors, equip them with useful information, and encourage them to attend your church.

9 out of 10 people will visit your website before they reach out in any way (Google); with this in mind, here are 5 elements essential to creating an effective online presence:

  1. Design – the look and feel of your site. Be sure your website maintains and complements your organization’s brand.
  2. Navigation– gets visitors where they want to go quickly and offers easy access to the breadth and depth of the site’s content. User should be able to find this information within seconds of arriving on your website:
    • Service times
    • Directions
    • Contact information
  3. Functionality – makes the experience center stage and the technology invisible. A site that meets user expectations makes visitors more comfortable.
  4. Interactivity – encourages users to not only gain information but share information as well. A wall of text is a dead end for interactive experience; include images, video and podcasts when it’s fitting, offering a balance of text and imagery.
  5. Content– conveys a body of knowledge to visitors and members alike. This should be kept up-to-date and is more than just words. Consider incorporating these elements:
    • Images
    • Sound
    • Videos
    • Animation
    • Music
    • And more

Once you have insured that your online presence will be compelling to visitors, you need to consider how you direct people through the site. To begin this process, take these steps:

  1. Create a list of the people you are trying to reach. Include family size, needs, interests, and any other details that you can think of. For example:
    • We want to reach the young families on the nearby military base. They want fun children’s programs; they need spousal support while the spouse is deployed. They need easy ways to plug in and connect without feeling the need for a long term commitment.
  2. Now make a list of what you want them to do after they visit your site. This may be things like:
    • Visit your church on Sunday
    • Register for VBS
    • Take part in a youth retreat

Whatever it is, you must have clear calls to action throughout the site.

Evaluating your online presence and how it compels visitors to engage with your church will help you build a brand that does more than just look good, but one that encourages engagement. Review your site for these elements as well:

  1. Does your site reflect your overall brand and the experience visitors can expect when they come in person?
    • Is your logo present?
    • Does the style and coloring of your print materials match your online presence and your physical church environment?
  2. Do you have visitors in mind in the design, layout, navigation & content? Ask some non-member friends to evaluate the site and give you feedback:
    • Could they find necessary info to visit on a Sunday (when/where)?
    • Did they know what you wanted them to do next? Can they identify calls to action throughout the site? Was it clear that you wanted them to visit in person?

For more information on how to attract more visitors and engage members through your website, download this free eBook.

Want a professional review of your site? Set up an Online Strategy Consultation for free or call 877.703.2484 and press 2.

[Image via Lori Greig]


Eric Dye

I am a blogger, business owner and lover of coffee. I spend most of my time as Programs Director for Open Church, but you'll also find me as a writer and editor for ChurchMag, as well as working on Live Theme and ChurchMag Press. All while enjoying my family and sipping espresso in Italy.


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