What’s the single most important thing you want visitors to see on your church website?
Often, there might be a specific announcement you’d like to draw attention to. For instance, if there’s a major fundraising event, or perhaps a concert coming up, you want visitors to be instantly aware of it when they land on your site.
Of course, you could change the front page, but you also want new visitors to see whatever main content you have their. Also, changing the front page every time something happens is a pain. And what if someone lands on an interior page?
Say, “Hello” to Hello Bar.
Hello Bar is a simple free plugin script that puts a bright message bar at the top of your website. It’s been mentioned on ChurchMag before here, but it’s now open to the public without an invite, and it’s a mature tool.
Once your Hello Bar is set up, changing the message to link to whatever page or announcement you want is simple. You change the message through the Hello Bar website, so you don’t have to change any code or even log into the website itself every time you want to post something new.
The bar will show up at the top of every page, so it hits people landing directly on internal pages. No need for them to go to a dedicated announcements page or the front page to see the message. Or, there’s also an option to only display it on specific pages.
It’s mobile friendly, has customizable colors, and you can set it to scroll like part of the page or to stay at the top of the window when you scroll down.
This is a tool intended to boost conversion rates for internet marketers, but it’s a good tool for churches too. It works for highlighting a particular event, directing visitors to a certain page, or for inviting readers to follow a social media account.
A particularly interesting use case is for weather cancellations. I live in Iowa, where we had ridiculously cold weather for much of the winter. Hundreds, probably thousands of churches in my area cancelled worship services and events due to cold or snow. This would be an easy way to quickly put a message on the church website notifying people that services have been cancelled.
Since Hello Bar is intended for internet marketers, it also works well for collecting email addresses. You can set it up to sync with MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, AWeber, or Constant Contact if your church uses any of those. It also includes analytics to tell you how many views and clicks you’ve received, as well as your conversion rate.
Again, it’s free to use, and it comes as a lightweight custom WordPress plugin, or as a one line HTML import.
Setup is ridiculously easy, so check it out at HelloBar.com.