Constrict Your Content, Not Your Audience

Hands typing on a keyboard

Christianity is unique in many ways, but one that was controversial for early believers was the inclusion of the Gentiles. Faith in Christ was not be restricted to any group, race, or nation. So how do you market your church website to a particular demographic if you want to welcome everyone? Instead of narrowing your market, focus your content to answer the most frequently asked questions of potential members.

An Example

IRS website circa 2012

Imagine the difficulty of writing content for a government website, specifically the IRS. Their audience is too vast to narrow it down to any group; if you pay taxes, their website applies to you. So how can you guide your users to find the answers to the questions that they have? Currently, the IRS website answers three important tasks:

  1. I need to know my payment options
  2. I’m waiting for my refund
  3. I need to file my tax return

In each of these, the action words payment, refund, and file are highlighted. Right up front, they answer the majority of questions people have when they arrive on the site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your first step is to determine what questions potential your potential, new, and existing Christians have. Different people have that information depending on the size and complexity of your church. It could be your pastor, welcoming committee, or a member on-boarding team. Regardless, they should be able to write down 5 to 10 questions that are most frequently asked of them and the church.

Prioritize and Clarify

Now that you have narrowed your questions, see if you can prioritize them. Hopefully the ones you consider most important align with one of your high-level goals for your church and ministries. If not, consider which is more important. Is the customer always correct, or do you feel there is a truth in scripture that is nudging you in a direction not yet considered by your audience. For instance, if they do not know you offer counseling for substance abuse, they might not consider asking about it.

Develop Matching Content

The next step is to align your content with these questions. Your home page is probably the most important place you can address this. Much like my article on fasting, considering removing something you might consider essential, and posing your highest priority question and answer. If the majority of new believers have asked that question, then you will more effectively reach that newest group of potential members right off the bat!

Action Item

First I would recommend listening to Stephanie Hay’s interview on the User Interface Engineering podcast. It was the inspiration for this article, and it has many more great points about creating good content. Second, talk with those people who have contact with potential members and collect their findings. Compile them, discuss with your elders and committees, and see how those question match up against your overall goals. Then, pray for guidance and wisdom as you proceed with your updates.

Photo courtesy of Zanetta Kok

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.