30 Traffic Ideas for Your Church Site

Daniel’s terrific Daily Blog Tips invited bloggers to submit their best traffic-generating tips, with the ideas and link love to be shared among everyone involved. Here they are so give these a try. And you might try a similar call-for-submissions post to generate some links for your own church site.

(My comments on how to apply the tips to church websites are in parentheses.) Continue reading

Take a Page from St. Mary’s of Greenville, SC

St. Mary’s home page
Update: November 15: St. Mary’s site is restored 

See this post for related coverage.

Update: November 14, 2008, 10:37 PM ET.
The St. Mary’s of Greenville site is unavailable as I write this so many of you are coming here looking for more information. Try these links:

I’m guessing St. Mary’s site is unavailable due to a surge in traffic, but I have not yet heard back from one of my webmaster contacts there.
Thank you–Mark
[Update from Nov. 15, 2008: Port 80 was closed intentionally to give time for the Diocese to regroup.] 

OK, back to the original review from January of 2007…

You don’t have to wonder this month why , South Carolina is American Catholic’s website of the month. One look at this site’s beautiful layout and gorgeous pictures will inspire you to explore the clearly displayed main content areas and to read the fresh news. Let’s take a closer look at the many elements of church site design St. Mary’s does right that you may want to try on your own site.

Continue reading

Wrong Copyright Year? That’s So 2006

You’re not still writing “2006” on your checks, right? But what about that copyright notice at the bottom of your homepage? Remember to update that too, Marketing Sherpa reminds us. If not for the legal protection, then do it for the sake of making your sight look updated and organized.

Take a Page From St. Jerome’s Church in St. Petersburg

You can see how your church website compares to others by taking a look at American Catholic’s Parish Site of the Month, which I do each month. While American Catholic doesn’t share the criteria they used to select St. Jerome’s in Petersburg in December, here are a few features that stand out.
Continue reading

Show Off Your Top Pages and Phrases of The Year

Top 10 lists supposedly showing the most popular search terms for the year are pouring out from Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, AOL and even Lycos (via Avenue A – RazorFish) so where’s your list? It’s an easy way to generate some buzz using data you probably already have on hand for your site without having to create a lot of new content. Continue reading

Recap: Chicago Search Engine Strategies Conference

OK church webmasters, here are highlights from this year’s Chicago SES conference for those of you running parish websites.

  • Write down 10 reasons why someone would want to link to your site — if you get stuck at #5, go back and get some good content before you embark on a link campaign
  • Handle misspellings in your meta keywords tag or in a glossary — not everyone is going to spell “catechetical” correctly, but make sure you do
    • Common misspellings in your meta keywords won’t influence your rank, but will show SEs a potential connection there
  • Cross link within your site — your anchor text is helpful to visitors and SEs;
    • Repeating key navigation at the bottom of each page helps and also saves your visitors the trouble of having to scroll to the top
    • Site maps help here, too, but be sure to include an introductory paragraph and explanatory phrases for the humans
  • For FAQs, list all the questions at the top of the page where visitors can see them without scrolling
    • Use anchors to jump down to the answers below the fold; you want as many questions visible as possible so don’t let the answers get in the way
  • Forms on the left side of the page typically perform better
  • Include phone number(s) on mobile version of website — will become a click-to-call link on a phone browser (I’ve updated my mobile guidelines accordingly); move navigation to the bottom so that new content is clearly visible when a new page loads on a tiny screen
  • Optimize your site for video
    • Put all your clips in a single /video/ directory for organizational and search engine (SE) purposes rather than scattered across your site; your visitors and the SEs are more likely to look in one location to see your vids rather than expecting it be related content under different topics
    • Tag, tag, tag — use descriptive, not clever, title tags, file descriptions and body tags; if you’re reconverting video to an alternative format, make sure your tags aren’t lost in the process
    • Create a video site map — similar to a regular site map, but just for your videos; include it in your regular navigation if you have lots of clips
    • Yahoo in October said more folks were looking for video than love, news or religion-if you can’t beat ’em…
  • Optimize your landing pages for where your visitors are in the “buying” process — sure, you’re probably not a pure e-commerce site, but church websites still have “shoppers” who may be doing early research on area churches or might be ready to commit immediately; make sure you speak to both groups
  • Monitor trends with google.com/trends to see how the popular search terms for your site ebb and flow over the year

You’ll find more SES coverage by Search Engine Roundtable and Bruce Clay recaps Chicago and then some, too.
Updated 12/16/2006: Search Marketing Standard’s comprehensive SES Chicago round up

Technorati tags: seschicago06 and seschicago

Make Your Site Accessible for The Most Disabled Visitor: Google

Website accessibility for disabled visitors often gets pushed aside in favor of other design or branding considerations, but now you can solve that dilemma. Matt Bailey, president of Site Logic Marketing, explained how to get accessibility the same priority as SEO. He said that search engines are your most disabled users – – they can’t see, can’t fill out a form, can’t press a button to continue. So, if the powers that be say No to accessible design, you can give them a reason to say Yes to Google.

Matt presented “Successful Site Architecture” as part of the SES Chicago 2006 Conference, which I’m attending.

Technorati tags: seschicago06 and seschicago