Parish websites are evolving. We are re-thinking their mission. We are becoming much more attuned to our audiences and our messages. We are thinking more and more about the evangelizing potential of the parish website.
Until recently, most of us thought about the parish website in terms of staff, services and parishioners. What does the staff want to say to parishioners about the services they are providing? While much of the content on a parish website can be useful to active members, parishioners usually have other sources for the information they seek, such as the parish bulletin. Even if they do refer to the parish website from time to time, they don’t visit it on a regular basis unless there is something pulling them there such as a blog by the pastor or a staff person, or links on social media or email. It is good to have information available to parishioners on the website–but on the home page it needs to be secondary to the “Welcome! We are so glad you’ve come to see us!” message.
If we rethink the mission of the parish website in light of our call to be an evangelizing community, we will realize that the most important people who come to our website are visitors, new comers and inactive Catholics who are thinking about returning. What they find when they come to our site can be a positive, encouraging moment in their lives. It can help them decide whether they will be with us in church next weekend, sometime in the near future or never.
Part of my ministry at Catholic Web Solutions is to help parishes re-imagine their parish websites in light of the evangelizing mission of the Church. Here is a brief (1.04 min) video on what that means.
If you need help in re-thinking the mission of your parish website and/or developing a new website with an evangelizing focus, please contact me to learn about my website audits and other services.