By Molly Ritvo
[Written with synagogues in mind, but applicable for all.]
If you’ve explored your Google Analytics, you may be noticing that your website visitors aren’t spending as much time on your website as you’d like. To help keep your members and prospective members from hitting the back button shortly after visiting your website, we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep your visitors exploring your website for more than 10-20 seconds:
- Speak to your audience. Consider your website as your online story. As much as novelists consider their audience in their writing process, you need to be mindful and strategic about who your website is geared for. Think about the average age of your members. Are they a little older? If so, use a larger font, so it is easier for them to read. If your goal is to attract young families and young professionals to your community, then be sure to use images and text that will appeal to this demographic. If your Religious School community is one of your target website audiences, make sure there is plenty of relevant information available for them.
- Be selective with your content. When designing a website, keep in mind that content is always first. Pictures complement content and add color to your website, but first start with good content. To make your website come alive and speak to your community, you need to have good content. Your goal is to draw your community to your website and to keep them captivated with meaningful content.
- Highlight contact information. Visitors should easily be able to identify where your synagogue is located, your office phone number, which denomination you are affiliated with, and who are your clergy members. Many users will also be looking for a phone number, e-mail address, the hours your office is open and directions to your synagogue. Make sure all of these items are easy to find so that new people will able to effortlessly join your community and attend events and services.
- Create smooth navigation map. Do all of your home subpages have a clear way to return to your home page? Does your home page provide access to all major parts of the site? Is navigation consistently presented from page to page? Prioritize information so that your homepage is easy to read with a clear header, introduction, and easy to see links. Not every piece of information needs to be included right away (that’s why you have subpages).
- Update your content regularly. Make sure your calendar is up to date and that you’re showcasing upcoming holidays and not ones that have passed. If you don’t tell your community when and where to show up, they won’t be there. Make sure all calendar events include short, inviting descriptions and specify the event location, time, and give a contact name/ number.
Your website is your community’s portal to everything Jewish. It is the gateway that brings your community together and into your building. But it’s just the first step in creating an engaged community.
Molly Ritvo is Partnership Development & Digital Marketing Associate at Jvillage Network.