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Church Websites 101: Set Goals

Church Websites 101: Set Goals
If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get lost. And, you'll see a lot of new places!

Setting goals is all about knowing where you're going and knowing when you arrive. We all have heard about S.M.A.R.T. goals - now is the time to put them work. Goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. Let's see how that applies to our church website and the strategy you are developing.

This addition to Church Websites 101 will step away from the technology for a bit, because this is actually more difficult to master than the technology.

Around New Year, everyone (Almost everyone. Some people. A few people, at least) make resolutions, or goals, or a wish list. A typical resolution sounds something like "This year, I'm going to lose 3 pounds." They rush ahead with great intentions, excited to achieve their goals, but soon efforts fade and the resolutions become a thing of the past.

Let's do a quick overview of the differences between goals, strategies, objectives and tactics

  • Goals = the broad outcomes
  • Strategies = the approaches you will take
  • Objectives = the measurable steps to achieve the strategies
  • Tactics =  the tools you will use and how you will use them

Let's look at the resolution to lose weight. Losing weight is an outcome or objective, not a goal. It does contribute to your goal, but it is still an effect of a healthy lifestyle.  A true goal would be "I will live a healthier lifestyle" Or,"I will improve my quality of life."

Do you even have goals for your online ministry? What are they? Who knows about them and is keeping you focused on them? Some of the more common goals I've heard are

  • We will post the bulletin on the website every week
  • We will upload the sermon audio/video/notes by Monday every week
  • We want 100 subscribers to our devotional emails in the next 100 days
  • Be the first search result for ___.

There is nothing wrong with having this kind of list - the items are actionable, specific, measurable, reasonable, and have a deadline. But, these are objectives and tactics, not goals.

What would some goals for church websites look like?

  • Be the top resource for ___ in our community (or around the world)
  • Help our community grow in faith and carry on the work of Jesus Christ
  • Go , teach, lead
  • Extend our community to the other 6 days

Ambiguous, aren't they? Not what you're accustomed to setting for goals, are they? Yet, these are some of the most powerful statements you can make for your church or ministry. Are any of these measurable? Do they have a deadline? No. In our new view of things, only objectives can be S.M.A.R.T.

For those that are analytical (like me), numbers and metrics drive a lot of activity. I have to step back and take a wider look at my goals and how I measure them. Here's a list of objectives (necessary when trying to meet your goals) that often get mistaken for goals:

  • More 1st time visits, 
  • more repeat visits, 
  • higher repeat frequency, 
  • longer time on site, 
  • more pages visited, 
  • more visits to a specific page, 
  • more visits from (search, direct, referral), 
  • more 'Likes', 
  • more 'Shares' and Tweets, 
  • more bookmarks, 
  • more back links, 
  • faster page loads

As you work through your goals, ask how each of these fit into achieving your goals, but put your goals first.

What goals do you have for your church website?

Also in the series:

<< Church Websites 101: Not Always Easy, But Should Be Local Searches for Churches >>
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