A visitor’s first encounter with your church is through the church’s website. It’s important for your website to be welcoming to visitors, with a clear design that lets people quickly find the information they’re looking for.
But when you’re used to seeing your site, it’s hard to see what needs improving.
Enter Criticue, a startup promising free critiques of your website via crowdsourcing.
Why should you care about comments from random people who will likely never come to your church?
Well, as the person responsible for the website, your view is biased. If you designed the site, or if you look at it every day, you know where to find stuff. Even feedback from church members is limited, since members already know about the church. People who know you might not be as honest as they could be, for fear of offending you.
Criticue allows you to get feedback from true outsiders.
Officially launched in June, 2013, Criticue is a platform for website administrators to exchange critiques of each others’ sites. Basically, you submit your site for feedback, and other people will give you their opinion of it. According to Criticue, the average review is 53 words, so don’t expect a novel, but even a few words can give you a fresh perspective on what you can improve.
When you submit your site for review, you can also ask specific questions. You might ask something like, “How can I improve the site navigation?” or “If you were a visitor looking to come for a Sunday morning service, how hard is it for you to find all the information you’d want?”
The best part? Using Criticue is completely free. All you need to do to get reviews for your site is to take a couple minutes to critique other people’s sites. Reviewing one site gets you one credit, giving you access to one review of your site. If you don’t like the site you’re given, or you don’t have anything helpful to say, there’s also an option to skip a site and get another random site to review.
Once you submit a review you’ve written, it needs to be reviewed by a moderator before you’ll get credit for it. In my experience, this happens quite quickly, at least within a couple hours. As I was writing this, I submitted a couple of reviews, and they were approved within 15 minutes.
The nice thing about the moderator system is that you’re guaranteed to get reviews that say at least something. There’s no guarantee that they’ll be helpful, since others are doing reviews for the purpose of earning reviews for their own sites, but most reviews I’ve gotten have had at least one or two helpful comments.
Alternatively, you can buy credits for reviews. Buying credits is currently priced at 5 credits for $9, 15 for $19, or 30 for $39. They also have a referral program, where you can get free credits by having people sign up through your referral link.
When you get a review, you can see how long the reviewer spent on your site and what the reviewer’s reputation is. You also have the option to respond to the reviewer for follow-up or clarification, as well as to rank how useful you found the review. Reviews are confidential and anonymous.
While Criticue is targeted at startups and entrepreneurs rather than churches, it’s a great tool for getting feedback for a church website. Check it out at Criticue.com.