Church websites need to up their game

This from BRIN based on research by Sara Batts who can be found on Twitter here:

Two-thirds of local churches across a range of denominations had a dedicated website as at December 2011, up from two-fifths in 2009, but many of those examined in detail by a postgraduate researcher were found to be sub-optimal. In particular, 63% were non-current in terms of their content, with 12% of them more than three months out of date. Many also had surprising omissions of content, 5% even failing to give the times of the Sunday services and 22% not including a map. Only a minority of church websites contained information about the arrangements for rites of passage: 35% about weddings, 30% about baptisms, and 14% about funerals. Just 8% of websites incorporated a blog and 16% a link to a social media service for the church.

Source: Sara Batts, ‘What’s the Point of a Website …’, Church Times, 30 November 2012, p. 35. The author is undertaking doctoral research at Loughborough University. An earlier report of her research has appeared on BRIN at:

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2011/churches-and-new-media-use/

By the way the 2011 census date on religion is due for release tomorrow which I’m really excited about; yep, I’m that sad. I’ll be watching out for this, as is BRIN, and it’s interesting to note that the British Humanist Association is also poised and ready.

Tags: , ,

5 Responses to “Church websites need to up their game”

  1. Fr Stephen Smuts Says:

    [...] eChurch Blog: This from BRIN based on research by Sara Batts who can be found on Twitter here: Two-thirds of local churches across a range of denominations had a dedicated website as at December 2011, up from two-fifths in 2009, but many of those examined in detail by a postgraduate researcher were found to be sub-optimal. In particular, 63% were non-current in terms of their content, with 12% of them more than three months out of date. Many also had surprising omissions of content, 5% even failing to give the times of the Sunday services and 22% not including a map. Only a minority of church websites contained information about the arrangements for rites of passage: 35% about weddings, 30% about baptisms, and 14% about funerals. Just 8% of websites incorporated a blog and 16% a link to a social media service for the church. [...]

  2. Gordon Says:

    50% of church web sites do not have the church address on them. I know because part of my job involves visiting churches and this is the bane of my life.

  3. webmaster Says:

    Oh that is absolutely bloody ridiculous Gordon…

  4. David Pocklington Says:

    The good news is that the CofE’s excellent site “A Church Near You” contains details of 16,500 churches and 53,000 services and events including more than 16,000 Christmas events, [e.g. contact details, maps, points of interest, service times &c]. It is also an ideal companion to Simon Jenkins’ “England’s Thousand Best Churches”.

    Sara Batts’ study is based upon 100 churches from each of the four denominations: Church of England; Baptist; Methodist; and Roman Catholic, which she admits means that Church of England churches are under-sampled and the others are over-represented. However, a cursory web search would support her findings, and many parish web sites are truly appalling, both aesthetically and in terms of current information.

    Perhaps there is room for a “name and shame” web site of these based upon the “Bad Vestments” site?

  5. Gordon Says:

    Or the Mystery Worshipper one David….

Switch to our mobile site