Heritage: Digital marketing and interpretation
Your digital profile is an essential part of welcoming and encouraging visitors to your church, whether seeking a place of worship, place of historic interest or community facility.
Church website- creating a great visitor welcome
Your website may be the first greeting point for a potential visitor to your church. Can a person easily and quickly find all essential visiting information? I would like to encourage churches to have a ‘Visiting Us’ or such named tab on the main home page. It’s recommended to include information such as:
- opening hours (not just service times but whether you’re open during the day)
- directional information that includes full geographical address (with sat nav postcode if different) and map
- parking arrangements
- facilities (e.g. toilets, shop, café or list any nearby facilities etc)
- access provision
- etc etc. All the basic stuff to encourage people to come & what you'd expect from any other establishment
Here are some website examples that have a 'visiting us' tab, although it’s important to consider what’s suitable for your church:
New or improved church website
It costs surprisingly little money to create and manage a professionally produced website, especially when compared with other running costs. The Diocese of Chester has provided Guidance on developing your website
The most commonly used by churches are Facebook and Twitter- keep it short, often and up to date. Useful for promoting activities, services and special services as well as discussion platforms for sharing ideas
Register your church on other searchable databases
- A Church Near You Please ensure your details are full and correct on this Church of England web resource. The website enables visitors to search for a church in their locality or by the type of facilities needed.
Explore Churches. This NEW web resource by National Churches Trust enables visitors to search for churches to visit by location or theme.
National trails Advertise your church on the new National Trails website.
Create your own church app for a digital guided tour.
A company can be commissioned to develop an app for visitors to download to their smartphone or iphone. It can take the form of a ‘tour guide app’ to explore a church building, or more of a marketing app to keep people informed of events and activities.
- The Church of England's ChurchCare is working with app-developers ViewPoynt to create low-cost audio guides to parish churches.
- The University of York’s Christianity and Culture can be commissioned to develop an app. A more local digital media company or a digital interpretation company could produce an app too
- Try searching the internet for ‘cathedral app’ to see examples, as well as the Churches Conservation Trust app. For example, Ripon Cathedral, Coventry Cathedral, Bamburgh Castle, St Lawrence's Church.
- You may like to search free, online databases for specialist suppliers. Examples include:
- Mobile version. For web resources such as your church website, ensure there is a mobile version so people can view the website on their smartphone or iphone. More people now search the internet on their phone than from a laptop or desk computer, so this should become your first priority.
- Making an app. One point to note is the size of the app- a large file size will take a while to download. Also consider your broadband connection for your area.
- Further reading. One example is Get Your Church Noticed. A website and accompanying book that has plenty of practical tips
- Church of England guidance on good communication, including digital
Return to Heritage homepage