It’s a trend among some churches, especially smaller ones, to have only a Facebook page and not a website. In some ways, this makes sense. Facebook pages are easy to set up, they are free, and Facebook has more than two billion users, so most people are already using that platform. With that in mind, it certainly begs the question, “Is it still necessary to have a church website?”
In a word, yes. While there is some merit to the idea of having only a Facebook page, there are five reasons why I recommend using a different strategy.
1. Facebook offers little customization.
For some churches, this might be a good thing, because it requires fewer decisions and less work when setting up the page. You just add a few images and you’re ready to go. But this also means that your page looks like every other one on Facebook. Your personalization options are very limited, and you have to conform to what Facebook allows.
2. You can’t control the environment.
Facebook has the right to make changes to its platform at any time without notifying users, and the company has done this in the past. The changes are for the benefit of the users, so they’re not necessarily bad. But this means your church has to react to these changes when they occur. Facebook also changes its algorithm that determines which posts show up in people’s news feeds, so not everyone who follows your page will see your posts. It’s not possible to rely on your Facebook page to get your messages out to everyone.
3. You must compete for attention.
In people’s news feeds, your messages will run alongside photos from friends, updates from family, and every single post that goes viral. In addition to all of that, Facebook will run ads alongside your page, which is less than ideal.
4. Search engine optimization through Facebook is weak.
One of the primary reasons to have a website is to show up when people do Google searches for churches. Facebook pages do come up in search results, but the Facebook name is added to the results and people are only directed to your Facebook home page. This means that, for instance, someone searching for service times will have to spend time digging through your Facebook page to find them.
5. Not everyone is on Facebook.
Yes, Facebook has two billion users. But there are still people in your church and community who aren’t on Facebook. In my experience, many people who don’t use Facebook are intentional about it, so they won’t even go to a Facebook page even if it is public.
I do certainly recommend that your church have a Facebook page—but use Facebook as part of your online communication strategy, not as the entire strategy. A Facebook page is not bad for your church; it just shouldn’t replace your website.
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About the Author
Peter Frank serves as Senior Marketing Manager of Church Supplies at Concordia Publishing House. A graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin, his background in theology, business, and computers gives him a unique perspective on technology in the church. Married and the father of two children, he is frequently humbled when his 18-month-old shows him new things on the iPad.Follow on Twitter More Content by Peter Frank