How to Use Web Analytics with a Service-Minded Mentality

Objections abound when it come to tracking, analyzing, and acting on church website data.

Confusion about where to start, faulty beliefs about data application, and dreaded assumptions lead many a church worker to believe web stats don’t matter.

Au contraire, my web friends. Tracking website data is not only a necessity, it enables you to serve your congregation better.

How? Read on, reader. Here’s how to use analytics with a service-minded mentality.

Attract more visitors to your church.

The more people are able to find your site, the greater the chances they’ll come to visit you on the weekends. The number of people who found out about their church website using a search engine increased 91% from 2009 to 2012.(Tweet this!)

Data analytics platforms like Google Analytics can show you the search engine terms people are plugging in to find your site. Maybe they’re accurate (e.g. “des moines church,” “lutheran,” etc.). But maybe they’re not (e.g. “san diego pet store,” “community center,” etc.).

You’ll never known unless you dig in and find out. You could have a wayward meta tag feeding Google the wrong info, thus diverting would-be visitors from your site (and, unfortunately, your church).

Optimizing your search results, along with your site speed and information architecture, allow would-be visitors to easily find you on the web. Doing so greatly increases the chance they’ll visit, thereby enlarging your church community.

Increase participation in programs and events.

Knowing where the bottlenecks are on your website is critical for understanding what community members want online. For instance, after working with MonkDev, Biltmore Baptist has a clear, visual picture of where their returning visitors are going:

This information allows the church to craft a website experience that keeps users looking and connected. Knowing what your people want—sometimes even before the event occurs—can help you intelligently allocate resources moving forward.

Build a website that produces disciples.

Our research shows the more church members interact with the website, the more likely they are to feel like a part of the larger community. Isn’t that interesting? When the website serves as a hub which facilitates community, people feel like they belong.

Creating a website where participation occurs doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something we call Mission Process Design: intentionally crafting an online discipleship path for users. This means the website actually moves people from newcomer, to participant, to engaged member, to all-star volunteer.

Again, a church doesn’t stumble into effective Mission Process Design. It takes hard work, winnowing the essence of your mission down with clarity, and translating your discipleship process to the web.

But it can (and does) happen. We’ve seen it with our own eyes. But it takes a commitment to data and finding out what’s actually working. The results, friends, are astounding. (In fact, you can find out if Ministry Process Design is right for your church.


Service doesn’t only happen on Sunday morning. Digging into church website data should be on the same level as serving as a greeter, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or leading a group Bible study for high school students. If you’re not sure where to start, let us help. Either way, your congregation deserves a website that works.

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Justin Wise

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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