Church leaders, resist the temptation.
Resist the temptation to pull down your church website in favor of a congregational Facebook page. In fact, if you must choose between the two, keep your own dedicated website.
Why the Temptation?
It seems like the entire world has gravitated to Facebook. It takes less than 30 minutes to create a church Facebook page. As soon as the page is launched, there is immediate positive feedback from church members who are also on Facebook.
At the same time, most congregational leaders are not confident they can create a competent church website. Those who can understand the risks inherent in website: The creator ends up serving as webmaster. Hence, members shy away from creating websites for their churches.
This means churches have to hire someone to create the website. Building a dedicated church website seems like it takes ten times longer than a Facebook page. Once the website is live, leaders face another resource question. Should the church pay the designer to maintain the website? Or will the designer train members to regularly update the site?
Why Even Maintain a Dedicated Website?
Given the above, it’s clear why only maintaining a church Facebook page is so tempting.
Resist the temptation because dedicated church websites give congregations a much better opportunity to engage and involve their own members in the life of the church.
If this is not reason enough, the dedicated website also is much more effective in helping people who are searching for churches find congregations. More importantly, the website is more effective in assisting people in actually visiting churches.
Dedicated Websites are Better for Churches
Let’s start by challenging the assumption that the world has gone to Facebook. Not only do people throughout your community not have Facebook accounts, some refuse to browse any social media. Churches limit the number of people they can reach by only using Facebook.
For those who do use Facebook, some will never discover your church’s Facebook page. Why? Facebook is cluttered, loaded with posts and pictures and advertisements and updates. In addition, the way Facebook places content on personal Facebook pages is constantly changing. I have Facebook friends and pages and groups that haven’t shone up on my feed for years.
By comparison, the sole focus of the dedicated church website is the congregation. Everything from the color scheme to the layout to the content can be customized to create an accurate image of the church.
A dedicated church website allows for long form content, whether video recordings or blogs or key congregational documents. Facebook, like all social media, is designed for short form content.
The dedicated church website is much more effective for potential new members as well as guests and visitors. This is because churches create a page solely for first time visitors, sharing such information as directions to the church and worship times.
When people search the internet for a church, the search engines reveal more information from dedicated church websites than the church Facebook page. This allows those searching for the church a better opportunity to directly access the information they desire.
The bottom line is the dedicated church website is easier to access and navigate than Facebook. Hosting both a dedicated website and Facebook page is optimum for churches. That said, the church website is non-negotiable. Each church needs it’s own website.
How has your congregation’s dedicated website benefit your church? Share your experiences in the comments or shoot me an email.