Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Web sites are your parish front door

I just finished reading Scot Landry’s chapter in the newly released book by Brandon Vogt: The Church and the New Media. Scot describes the work they have done in the Archdiocese of Boston to use all forms of electronic and printed media to build the Catholic community across the Archdiocese. Scot makes an observation that really resonates with me. Your parish website is your front door to anyone searching for a parish (and those currently involved with the parish).

When a person makes that first step to look for a church home, where are they likely to start? Perhaps other people they know. It’s also very likely they will search the web! So what do they see when they look at our parish websites? Hopefully they will be compelled to read more, and to come to visit!

Based on the research done in the Archdiocese of Boston, approximately 30% of the parishes have a welcoming front door. Assuming this reflects the typical population, somewhere in the range of 60% of our parishes haven’t polished their electronic entrances. Will we attract people looking for a home?

We also miss the opportunity to reach our existing parish community and keep them engaged. As we at OSV talk with parishes about setting up Online Giving, we often hear “our website is not good”. As we incorporate our new tools for giving, we have an opportunity to provide other great information about the faith and our parish community through the website. We can improve the experience of Online Giving with a web site that opens the door and provides useful tools and information.

What is your experience?

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