Despite web development and social media advancements, some things will not change. These unchanging principles help us keep some important things in sight. In an earlier post, Engage, Respond and Answer, we explored the principle of engaging people. In this post, we look at another Online Presence 101 Principle: Basic Information. The number of rebrands and freshening up content doesn’t change the fact that information is still important.
Think about why you followed links form your last few online searches. I’m sure it had to do with you finding out something. You were looking for information. The primary purpose of online presence for an organisation is or should be to provide information.
When you’re in desperate need for particular information, a lot is irrelevant.
Never go sleek at the expense of useful information. No parallax effect, sleek promo videos and images can make up for information needed. It doesn’t matter how creative your website is if it doesn’t have the information people need. At best they can to see some cool stuff, but in reality, it is useless.
Design is about making it easy for people to navigate and find information on your website.
Remember that websites are built to communicate. And they’re only useful when they convey what people want and need when they visit them.
Something I’ve also noticed are differences in websites and social media details. For example, vision and mission statements, addresses and phone numbers aren’t the same on Facebook and the websites. This often leaves people confused. Whatever details you put online must be the same everywhere.
In the case of your church, make sure that your service times and locations etc. are the same. Sometimes organisations update details on social media and forget websites and vice versa. Always make sure that you not only have basic and matching information but that it is accurate also. It is frustrating for both congregants and potential visitors to not get accurate information.
Must Have Information
A while ago Chris, suggested things to include on your website:
- Name of the church;
- Contact details (remember the importance of responding;
- Location of the church (and offices if different). Include photos of the location;
- Statement of faith;
- Church’s history;
- Description of your church;
- Child arrangements;
- Dress code;
- A welcome video;
- Explanation of the Gospel.
Of this list, there are things that you could get away with not having. The most basic and important I’d suggest:
- Name of church;
- Contact details;
- What to expect when you visit. This is about telling people the kind of church you are. It can include the environment, dress code, children’s facilities. Photos and videos of your congregation are helpful. Avoid stock photos so that there isn’t a disconnect with reality.
Where To Put It
For example, Instagram made updates to their bio which you could take advantage of. On social media platforms make sure you complete as much details as possible in the given fields.
On your website use the header and footer. That way, no matter where users are on your website, they have access to the information. Use the about page.
There are different entry points to websites. You can never have contact details, service times and location in too many places. Rather have these details plastered all over your website than hidden away in one page.
We need these reminders. Basic, vital information, must be easy to find and accurate on all your online platforms.