Here I was thinking it would be easy setting up a blog about how to be clear and simple in church communications would be, well you know, simple and clear.
Go with Typepad I said to myself, lots of my peers have chosen it. It's gotta be be easier to set up than WordPress, with all its plug-ins that don't sync up when they are supposed to. It's gotta give me more control over my design than something as blog 101 platform than Blogger.
But then I signed up and whammo, I hit multiple menu items, many, many sub navigation paths. If that wasn't enough, then I had to try and link Google analytics. Then I had to try and set up Feedburner.
I was struck what it felt to be an outsider visiting a church website for the first time. What I thought would be simple quickly became complicated and unclear. Visitors to our websites have lots of questions often with little or no clear or simple direction to helping them in their journey either before they come on a weekend. We expect them to pull all of the different pieces of information together and work it out.
How do I get there? Where are you again?
Do you have clear directions front and centre on your website on where you are and what time you meet?
Where do I park?
I'm not sure if I can come to church because I'm not sure what the parking is like. (Do you explain that parking is easy and where it is? Do you have a team that help people park because they may not have a clue where the best place is to park.)
Is there a place for my kids? How do I find it?
I'm nervous about bringing my kids. Help me feel comfortable. Will they be safe and where do I go? (How do you invite parents to drop their kids off at kids church?)
What can I expect? How long does a service go for?
Will I fit in? Are there people like me there. (Do you have a video of what your weekend service looks like?)
These are just some of the questions our guests may have when they visit our church website. It is our job in communications to help answer these types of questions as clearly and simply as possible and ensure it is easy for them to find it.