Christmas and Easter may be your church’s busy days of the year, but Ash Wednesday is the busiest day for your parish website. Why? It makes sense if you think about it. Most parishioners know—or should!—when Easter or Christmas Masses take place. Typically these holidays follow the typical Saturday and Sunday Mass schedule, but not Ash Wednesday! This means parishioners and visitors will be looking one main place for their Mass time information—the parish website.
Ash Wednesday Masses try to accommodate the working schedule of Catholics, so many parishioners find themselves loaded down with sweets on Fat Tuesday trying to figure out when Mass is being held the next day. Of the parish websites managed by LPi and our Parishes Online website, we typically see a fivefold increase in web traffic starting on Tuesday.
Let’s help our parishioners get to Mass on Ash Wednesday! There are two simple, but often overlooked, tasks that your website administrator needs to do.
One: Make Ash Wednesday Mass Times Clear
In the “Mass Times” section on the average parish website, churches include the Mass times for the weekend and a more generic “Holy Days” or “Weekday Masses” section. While Ash Wednesday is a feast, it isn’t technically a Holy Day of Obligation. A more general description may save you a little work in updating the site after Ash Wednesday, but it can cause some confusion for your parishioners before the feast itself. Plus, your website will get some added SEO benefits by having the words “Ash Wednesday” more prominent, depending on what a person searches for.
Two: Make Ash Wednesday Mass Times Visible
Mass times are the number one reason parishioners and visitors go to your website. Don’t hide them on menu level four! Put the Mass times prominently on your church’s homepage. This is especially relevant for special Mass times like Ash Wednesday. You want people in the pews! Having accessible Mass times helps to get them there.
Beyond Ash Wednesday
Your parish likely has all sorts of events happening during the Lenten season—Stations of the Cross, fish fries, small group studies, or other devotions. Parishioners want to know this information. They want to grow in their faith. Having this information readily available can help your parish have better attended events and more engaged disciples. Consider adding information about these Lenten events on the home page.
Another idea is to create a new page underneath “Events” or “Faith Formation” on the church website. Call it “Lent 2018” and include all the relevant information about your parish’s Lenten efforts. More than simply a schedule, this page can explain why these events are valuable for growing in faith and offer contact information to get more involved.
Let’s make sure your church website is updated, accurate, and ready for Lent!