How to Keep Your Congregation Engaged

How to Keep Your Congregation Engaged

Sep 22, 2014

Your website should be a strong, prosperous and engaging online home for your community. Your members and prospective members need reasons to visit your website and return again and again to ensure that your digital portal is doing its job. After exploring your Google Analytic data, you may notice that some of your visitors are leaving your site quickly. To help you increase the length of time visitors spend on your site, we’ve compiled a list of five helpful suggestions:

  1. Update your design. The sad truth is that we all judge books by their covers and your community is judging your website by how it looks.  Social Triggers blogger Derek Halpern shared a study on website reliability.  The study found that 94% of wary respondents attributed their uneasiness to the website’s design. Design matters. When was the last time you re-designed your website? If your website isn’t reflecting modern themes and mobile-usability, it’s time to a refresh. (And we can help you do that!)
  2. Create strong informational architecture and a clear navigation structure. Don't make your community hunt for answers. Think about the last time you arrived on a website looking for a specific piece of information, only to get trapped in a seemingly endless web of poorly laid-out navigational options. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. To make sure you're offering a clear navigation, while increasing your SEO, explore your website as if you are a prospective member or a brand-new member. Is it easy for these new members to find the information they need? A great first step is to create a new members’ webpage or tab like Jvillage Network member Congregation B’nai Tzedek (see the “I’m New” menu Item).
  3. Is your website fun? If your website appears boring, bland, and lacking in personality, no one will want to meet your community in person! Don’t be afraid to showcase your community’s personality online. While brand “personalities” differ from organization to organization, simply having an established personality is an essential part of a business’s success. If your website reads like anybody could have written it, you’re going to have a problem connecting with potential members. If your Rabbi is particularly funny, have him or her write a comedic blog. Or consider showcasing how vibrant and busy your community is, like Temple Shaaray Tefila.
  4. Where is your call-to-action? You’d be surprised how many websites don’t have a clear call-to-action. Think of your website's mission as the thesis statement and all the subpages support this mission. If your website’s goal is to attract new members, each webpage should have a clear call-to-action. For example a webpage devoted to potential members should include text like “Join us for a tour to learn more!” and then that text should link to a contact page or sign up form. Your audience won’t take action if you don’t prompt them, so be mindful of placing a compelling and relevant call-to-action items all across your website.
  5. Update your content. This also seems like a no-brainer, but we see a lot of outdated content.  Take the coming weeks as an opportunity to tidy up your online homes and dispose of any website clutter. Make sure you are advertising upcoming events, not holidays that have already happened. Are all of your links working? There's nothing worse than offering stale references to website visitors. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider breaking up copy-heavy content with bullet points and/or graphic elements. Free your website from weighty verbosity and make your pages easily scannable.

In order to continue to offer your community an engaging online home, it’s imperative that you put your best foot forward online. Consider updating your website once-a-week so your visitors will have reasons to keep coming back to it.

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