CEC North America

It was a big deal when churches turned the organ in for a guitar and drums.  It was painful, hard to learn, and required more people than a single organist, and yes, it was necessary to carry the Gospel forward.  Getting your church online is hard, a bit painful, and requires more people than a single person to ‘make a web page.’  Once completed, you will wonder how you got along without it. 

We need another goal besides getting people to show up once a week on Sunday for an hour.  What about the other 167 hours of the week.  This answers that question.

Get My Church Online

New STEP #0 "I Need Help Starting"

SiteGround
-3-How-to-Setup-a-Great-Church-Facebook-Page-YouTube

STEP #1 PREPARATION (GET CONTROL)

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STEP #2 PREPARATION (ACCOUNT CREATION)

Google-Search-Console
  • Sign up with Google Search Console
  • Sign up with Google Analytics
  • Link your web page to these platforms
  • Claim Your Business
  • Google My Business
  • Encouragement

Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/ and sign in with your Google account you created for your church.  Google’s service is free.   This service shows you how search engines view your website, how they behave on your website, and how you can help search engines find you (adding Sitemaps, fixing mobile errors, etc.). To link your website to Google search console, you will need to have the ability to upload files to your website. (See above FTP)

Go to https://analytics.google.com  and sign in with your Google account you created.    Google’s service is free.   This service shows you who is looking at your website, how they behave on your website, how they arrived, and many very valuable pieces of information.  Like many powerful tools, it appears overly complex.  Rest assured it gets easier.   After a week, Google will have some data for you.  Start with looking at the Home Screen, it has a great overview.  At the bottom, look at “What pages do your users visit?” for useful insight.

These accounts link to your webpage.   Google Search Console and Google Analytics link in similar ways.  Either will have your file uploads or you can use plugins.  The file upload is best.  You are getting ready to make significant improvements to your website and these tools will show you if you are succeeding.

You may ask why is this part of your website plan, it does help.  It provide outside links to your church/business.  Also, if it is not claimed, you lose that traffic and you lose credibility every time some visits. 

To start for Bing, Click Here

For Google, start here Click Here

This is the first, easiest, fasted, most effective, and powerful way to get online.  We have an entire Page to Help with this.  Google wants to match the search to content that best meets the needs of the person who is searching.  You can be that content.  After you claim your business, update your Church Profile in Google My Business often, at least 3 times a month.  Post news updates, tell about your church and photos, photos and photos.  Google likes new content and will start showing your business to those it believes are looking for you.    This Video is a great way to start. 
These features can be very technical looking, but they tell you what is going on.
The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.

– Sean Gerety

STEP #3 PREPARATION (FACEBOOK)

facebook-1905890_640
  • Do you have the right type of Facebook Page
  • Update your Facebook page
  • Setup Facebook Business Manager
  • Encouragement
Does your church presence on Facebook have “friends” …or “fans?” You may have set up your Facebook page as a “personal profile” on Facebook, rather than a “Group,” “Fan Page” or “Page.” NO WORRIES, this can be fixed

Look Here

Facebook changes all the time.  Take a look at the video at the left.  It will walk you through a simple diagnostic review of your Facebook page. 

One of the areas you will show your church service and advertise your church on is Facebook. To do this, you need to have access to Facebook Business Manager. At this point, we just need to turn on the account; we will play with it later.

Setup Facebook Business Manager

You can’t tiptoe into social media. You have to jump into the pool. People have a natural fear of it. But the scary part is not being there. Your customer (future member) is already there.

– Dave Saunders

Facebook is the entryway into Social Media and the simplest to work with. It is a forgiving platform and still effective.

STEP #4 PREPARATION (WEBSITE)

https-3344700_640a
  • Secure your Website
  • Review your Host contract
  • HTML or WordPress or WIX etc.
  • 10 Things your Website Does NOT need
  • 10 Things your Website DOES need
  • Encouragement

Websites today need to be secured.  You need to see the padlock like this.  

It is often offered free from your host service.  Google and Facebook will not like linking to unsecured webpages.  Don’t skip this simple step.  Use this website to check your website Why No Padlock.com 

Your host might be a shared host that shares resources. This is normal and is OK. As you proceed, understand if your host has any limits on your growth and the criteria to upgrade your service.
We recommend that you use WordPress to run your website. It is fast, safe, and easier to learn than other methods. A website built on HTML is good, but to edit you must learn how to code and the website may be limited by your skillset. WIX and other free services are OK and a good way to start when funds are limited, but they are not a permanent solution as they have limits that will hinder you later. You can always upgrade later.
  1. Don't use stock images, use your own images where ever you can
  2. Don't use sliders, people don't stick around to watch
  3. Don't ignore SEO, Never.  Provide keywords for every post, and page, provide Alt text for all images.
  4. Don't use large images, they are slow loading, long Mobile load time will hurt you
  5. Don't make money with ads or popups
  6. Don't fill up your web page with animation and good looking junk, like fancy icons
  7. Don't ignore security, backup daily or weekly.
  8. Don't get the cheapest host, we recommend SiteGround
  9. You don't have an action button, meaning "Sign ups', 'Our newsletter', etc.
  10. Don't make the Website for people in the church, but for people outside the church
  1. Updated, Modern Design. (Not just what you find good looking)
  2. It must work great with mobile
  3. Only well-written content and clear images
  4. Use your images, not stock photos (only use stock photos as place holders until you get a photo yourself)
  5. Crosslink, if you talk about your small groups, then link to that page from many other pages
  6. Link your Social Media
  7. Do test your webpage often with GTMetrix and Google Page Insights
  8. Great Branding, your colors, icon, logos images need to follow a clear plan of how you want to look.
  9. Update often. Images, content
  10. The menu needs to be simple
  11. We always need a#11, It needs to work!  all links need to work, check often
  12. OK #12, Talk about others, not yourself.  Not why you are awesome, but why you have answeres, and can help. 

A website is a window through which your business says hello to the world.

– Amit Kalantri.

Many think of a website just as the Sign in front of the church, saying welcome, services at 10 am.

In fact, your website is an extension of your church, not only Sunday Services but ALL its ministries.

STEP #5 OPTIMIZE (Search Engine Optimize)

rank math
  • What is SEO?
  • How to Start with SEO
  • SEO Images
  • Set your Webpage in Order
  • Content, Content, and Content
  • Encouragement

SEO: Search Engine Optimization: This makes your website easier for search engines to find. Search Engines use “bot” programs that scan your website for content and then try to match your content to people who are searching for you. We use a WordPress Site, and we use the Free Plugin “Rank Math” to help with our SEO. It is time-consuming but going through each page, adding the right Keywords (Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about) is worth it.

SEO is matching you to people who are looking for you or what you have. If you try to be what you are not, the search engines will label (correctly) as non-relevant content, and you become lost.
Start with your home page. Find the keyword (phrase) that best described you and the page.
First does your content, your page really say who you are? Are they built for people already in the church, or can you use this to evangelize?

Often you find out at this point, that the website is really just an online sign, and doesn't really explain who you are.
You need to set yourself apart. If you are one of the 10,000 churches that say they are a family, friendly, etc, you will be lost in the white noise of the internet.

You must find a way to set yourselves apart.  Common words like 'friendly' are so common, you will never be found.  

Find out First, why you are unique.  Draw people to take.  Don't hide your uniqueness, celebrate it, someone is looking fit you. 

Did you ever search for an image and find it?  If you did it was because of someone good SEO work.  Images have a piece of code that gives them a searchable name, it is called "alt" or alternative attributes.  It looks like this alt="pancakes" stack of breakfast pancakes with honey

But for SEO work, a better name would be  alt="stack of breakfast pancakes with honey"

This example is editing the code directly, if you are using WordPress, they have an easier way to add these within the media file system itself.

People can find you be content, or image, never neglects the images.

First Decide: Is the Webpage for people in the church, or are you reaching others for the Gospel. We think it is for the Gospel, so we recommend a church have a signup page for events/classes and an announcement page.  All the rest (especially the main page) are for people who have not been in your church. Make sure that

  1. All your pages are working.
  2. There are no bad links.
  3. Update your pages regularly.
  4. Fix any errors Google Search Console has found.
  5. Get rid of pages you don’t need.
  6. Make sure every image has an alt label (Attributes title) as Search engines can find your page through its images also.

Make it easy for people to find you.  Your address, church hours, online service, links to videos of past services, google map link all need to be on your front page.  Add links or another page to help with parking, finding you etc.  Leave nothing to chance. 

Have photos of the church and the people.  New guests will decide if they will fit with you, based upon a photo.  You will attract people that look like you.

Update, Update, Update.  Old content means you don't care, and people will move on. 

There are NO TRICKS to increasing your page rank (where you show up on Google). You need to have what people are searching for. The way to do this is by adding new and relevant content. You can’t win me in the opinion wars. The big pages pay to get their information out and we can’t compete with that. Instead, make unique content answering questions like “Where can I baptize my children?” Clearly define what you church is like. Avoid common terms such as healing center or worship center. Avoid church terms. People who have not been to church will not know them. Find what makes you unique.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

– Proverbs 21:5

This is hard work, but the harvest is ready. God is looking for the laborers.

STEP #6 GET READY TO BROADCAST

dummies
  • Studio and Software
  • Church Online Platform
  • Facebook & Youtube
  • Encouragement

The Studio can be your phone or one video camera.  When you start, you do not need multiple cameras or closeups.  You do need quality.  A great service broadcast with poor video quality or poor sound will not retain your current member and certainly not retain new guests.  

Here is a website with some great details.

Church live streaming guide – learn to easily stream live church services

Church Online Platform (CHOP) is the best method to get your church online. It allows interaction with the people. You are NOT looking for numbers; you are looking for engagements, people who interact with your service, not passive watching. Your hosts are very important in creating a worship environment.
Here is the Setup Video. 

Facebook is the easiest way to get online, but don’t stop there. Facebook viewership tends to be older and often will not leave that platform for anything newer. It also has a very limited ability to interact and engage. YouTube is the Google of videos. A YouTube channel that looks great and is organized is a great way to attract new people, better than Facebook and CHOP. Make sure each video your post has all the SEO data filled out with unique Title, Descriptions, Tags, etc. Think about what people are searching for and what makes your videos unique when you fill these fields out.
I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. – Winston Churchill
This is new, this is hard, but it is worth doing.

STEP #7 BROADCAST

CHOP tutorial
  • Broadcasting
  • Live or Recorded
  • Hosts
  • Encouragement

Practice, Practice, Practice, then practice some more. 

  1. Have a backup plan, a video to show if yours doesn’t work. 
  2. Decide: will you delay the in-person service if the online service isn’t ready?
  3. Start with broadcasting an empty church just to test it.
  4. Broadcast sound: work hard to make sure it sounds good.  (DO NOT play artists’ CDs, albums, or original recording.  Facebook and Google will ban you for rebroadcasting copyrighted material.)  You may broadcast you singing the songs, but not the recording artist. 
You can broadcast live as it happens (this usually has a 5-15 second delay). There is a risk that the stream can be interrupted by internet issues or other software issues. You can broadcast a “Simulated Live” broadcast you previously recorded that looks live. The viewer cannot stop it or “rewind.” What you do depends on your confidence with your skills and the system you have.

Here is the best overview of the duties of an online host:  https://arkhuntsville.com/2020/03/chat-host-training/

Going online WILL require MORE people than just broadcasting to Facebook.   These people are important, select them carefully. 

Twenty-five years ago, a pastor had to make the hard choice to give up the single organist and one instrument to upgrade to reach the people with a guitar. Then they needed a drum, then a speaker, then a soundboard, etc. We are at the same tipping point. Don’t be the only church still playing an organ in 2025.

STEP #8 TRACKING

GA
  • Tracking
  • Vanity Metrics
  • Learn, Adapt, Repeat
  • Encouragement

Do you remember Google Analytics? Now is the time to put it to real use!   Complete start to finish Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be your best friend.  The one that always tells you the truth, congratulates you for every win, and provides you a way ahead after each defeat.

Analytics support solid decision making. This is the house built of solid rock that can stand the storm. 

Vanity metrics are things like registered users, downloads, and raw pageviews. They are easily manipulated and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that really matter. The Biggest Number is the Most Un-Important If you have 1200 impressions and six engagements is that good or bad news? Impressions are the number of times your site shows up in a search. Engagements are the clicks; this is where your growth is.   People who do more than watch are your harvest field “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Always remember, Facebook and Google are advertisers. It is in their best interest to give you numbers, but some are worthless, and some make us feel good.  Dig for the truth instead.

More Information

Knowing the truth is hard. It is easier to live with constant encouragement, but in truth we need the cold hard truth of reality. Expect 100 mistakes and missteps to find the right path, then do it again. Work hard to be unique. Blending into the crowd on the internet is the fastest path to obscurity. This takes time; for every change you make, it will take time to see if it works or fails.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

– Proverbs 21:5

This is hard work, but the harvest is ready. God is looking for the laborers.

STEP #9 OPTIMIZE
(Under the Hood)

speed
  • Optimize
  • How to Measure a Website
  • Recommended Tools
  • Encouragement

Your website needs to be optimized in a few areas.  None of these is really hard, and even working a little bit will bring great rewards.

Visual:  The page needs to use the same color and branding across all pages.  Does your “Contact Us” page look like your page or somebody else’s.

Speed:  The pages need to load fast.  People, especially on mobile phones, will not wait for an 8 second page load. 

  1. Make sure all your pages are working. 
  2. There are no bad links.
  3. Update your pages regularly.
  4. Fix any errors Google Search Console has found.
  5. Get rid of pages you don’t need. 
  6. Make sure every image has an alt label (Attributes title) so Search engines can find your page through its images also. 

Here is a great website that will analyze your website for common issues:  GT Metrix Speed.  This site has a scoring system (IGNORE IT). The numbers that matter are on the right.  You want your fully loaded time under 8 seconds.

Mobile View:  Google Analytics will tell you what percentage of users are using a phone to view your website.  50% or greater is common.   

This website Responsinator will show you how your webpages look like in various devices, desktop, tablet, iPad, iPhone etc. 

We use the following plugins on our WordPress website: 

  • ElementorPlugin helps to build fast and great looking content
  • WP Rocket:  Cache plugin that helps speed up the website
  • Permatters: Helps speed up the website by stopping extraneous code
  • WordFence:Security Plugin prevents unauthorized access to the website
  • Generate Press Theme:  Fast, safe, powerful, simple to use theme
  • Rank Math SEO:  Great and Free SEO tool
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Always remember, your website can Always be Better, Faster, Always.

– Proverbs 16:32

STEP #10 ADVERTISE

facebook
  • Did they say Advertise?
  • Google Versus Facebook
  • Content, Content, and Content
  • Encouragement

Yes, we said advertising, and we recommend you spend money doing it.   Today, how much of your church budget is spent on outreach?  Advertising is a way of getting the Gospel in front of people searching. 

How much is your evangelism/outreach budget today?  50%, 20%, 1%, non-existent?  

Start with $100 a month, this is enough to learn with.  Once you get some success, reinforce your success.

Google ads work by matching you with what people are searching for.

Facebook works by sharing your ads with people who may have a like interest.

If you want to advertise a Saturday Evening Church Carnival, use Facebook to reach your friends and friends of friends.

If you what to let people know you have a great video about “What is Prayer,” use Google. 

You NEED both.

There are NO TRICKS to increasing your page rank (where you show up on Google).  You need to have what people are searching for. 

 

This cannot be overstated. If you have what people are searching for, Google will send them to you. 

The way to do this is by adding new and relevant content.   You can’t win me in the opinion wars. The big pages pay to get their information out, we can’t compete with that. 

Instead, make content that is unique, that answer questions like “Where can I baptize my children?”  Clearly define what your church is like.  Avoid common terms like healing center or worship center.  Avoid church terms. People who have not been to church will not know them.  Find what makes you unique. 

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

– Matthew 5:15

If you have the answer, shout it from the rooftops.

STEP #11 ONLINE CAMPUS

chop2
  • Online Chuch is not an Extra
  • One church, not two churches
  • Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
  • Encouragement

One church, one message.  You may argue whether Online church is the church. It is, in fact, Church for many people.  There is not a method to preach the Gospel that can reach more people, faster.

People who had thought about coming to your church, used to look at your website to “check you out.”  Today, they will watch a service, not just a video, and want to interact.  

Some of them end up coming to church, some stay online, and some do both.

Many committed church members no longer attend services every week.  Some two weeks a month, some less.  Now, they visit in person the same, but in these “off” weeks they attend online.

Try to change your mental model of church.  Don’t try to broadcast your in-person service to the web.  It won’t work.  People want to participate, not watch.  Change things, events in your in-person service, so that the online service also looks awesome.  The people in-person will not see any change, and the people online will stay as viewers. 

Talk to the people online as well as those in person.  If you take up an offering in person, have a button come up “AT THE SAME TIME” that allow online viewers to give. 

Have ONE SERVICE, make changes to both. 

You do not want viewers who watch and do not engage.  You want the service to be something that draws the viewer to become a participant.  

This is called engagement.  It measures clicks, likes, shares, gives, claps, anything that can show a person is interacting with your church. 

This measure will increase and decrease, and when it does ask the question, WHY?

When God Closes a Church Door, He Opens a Browser Window

– Kate Shellnutt

Read More

COMING SOON: ADDENDUM GOOGLE ADVERTISING

Google-Ads
  • Is it Advertises, when you are presenting the Gospel for Free
  • Google Non-Profit Grants
  • How to use Google
  • Encouragement

One church, one message.  You may argue whether Online church is the church. It is, in fact, Church for many people.  There is not a method to preach the Gospel that can reach more people, faster.

People who had thought about coming to your church, used to look at your website to “check you out.”  Today, they will watch a service, not just a video, and want to interact.  

Some of them end up coming to church, some stay online, and some do both.

Many committed church members no longer attend services every week.  Some two weeks a month, some less.  Now, they visit in person the same, but in these “off” weeks they attend online.

Try to change your mental model of church.  Don’t try to broadcast your in-person service to the web.  It won’t work.  People want to participate, not watch.  Change things, events in your in-person service, so that the online service also looks awesome.  The people in-person will not see any change, and the people online will stay as viewers. 

Talk to the people online as well as those in person.  If you take up an offering in person, have a button come up “AT THE SAME TIME” that allow online viewers to give. 

Have ONE SERVICE, make changes to both. 

You do not want viewers who watch and do not engage.  You want the service to be something that draws the viewer to become a participant.  

This is called engagement.  It measures clicks, likes, shares, gives, claps, anything that can show a person is interacting with your church. 

This measure will increase and decrease, and when it does ask the question, WHY?

work, but the harvest is ready, God is looking for the laborers.

Future Additions

Google Tag Manager

A free tool to manager multi-tools to that track your site

Google Optimize

Allows you to test multi-version of a web page, based upon audience.

Cloudflare (CDN)

CDN: Content Delivery Network.  A way to make access to your website faster, safer, and cheaper. 

I Don’t Know

 I don’t know what is next, but I will share it here.

Google Optimize

Useful links

Pixabay:  Free Public domain photos and images.  No copyright issues. High Quality;  Click Here

Grammarly:  Mistake on the Website are not cool.  Check your Grammer. Click Here

Cloud Convert:  Got the wrong format.  Change it here, nearly anything.  Click Here

Fiverr.com:  Stuck, Something doesn’t work, Need Help.  Hire an expert, safely and at a great value.  We used this for years.  Click Here

Uptime Robot:  A simple and effective way to ensure your website is up ad running.  (Helps evaluate your hosting provider)  Click Here

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