Those are simple instructions, right? Yes, go to Google and find out what information is on the internet about your parish. My hope is that you find your church website as #1 on the list of results, which means you’re doing some things right online.
First, make sure all the information is up to date on your Google listing. Once you’ve found your parish on Google Maps, you can click on the map and click “suggest an edit” if there is something incorrect. Make sure the address is to the church building itself, not the office or rectory. The last thing that you need on Sunday is someone knocking on Father’s door looking for Mass at 8:00 a.m.! Update your website, phone number, and office hours. What’s great about Google when doing a search is it will tell you if a business is opened or closed. I work with many seasonal Catholic churches where many of their visitors come during the summer months. The last thing they’d want to do to those visitors is give them a Mass time that’s wrong.
I’m going to challenge you to look past those first few results, however. There are numerous organizations and websites that have listing of Catholic parishes, including Facebook. One thing that helps your website traffic is legitimate backlinks from reputable organizations. You can harness the popularity of their website to help your church website get to that #1 result on a Google search.
Below is a list of some other websites where you can update your church information. Each of these allows you to create an account to update church information that is incorrect. Go forth and update your Mass times!
This site is run and owned by Liturgical Publications. It receives more than 1.5 million unique visitors on average per month. You can search for your church by name, city, and state. When you find your church, claim your listing.
You have the ability to update your Mass times, phone number, and website. There’s an about section; you can add pictures, videos, and upload your bulletins. LPi bulletin customers will already have the bulletins uploaded to Parishes Online automatically. Parishioners can subscribe to get those bulletins in their email inbox each and every week.
If you want to help visitors find you, make sure your information is accurate here. According to their website: “It can be difficult for Catholics to find a Mass when traveling or when it is not practical to attend their regular parishes. It is not always easy to find the right diocesan or parish websites. Mass Times makes it much easier to search for a Mass by presenting all the possibilities in a geographical area on one page. We provide worship times, church locations, contact information, website links and maps. There are 117,000 churches in 201 countries/territories.”
It’s another nice resource for Catholic parishes. I like that they feature a map on the home page!
Yes, that Facebook! Facebook is a business with the goal to make their stockholders money. They are looking to drive more traffic with the ability to sell more advertisements. Your church has a Facebook page whether you like it or not. Take ownership of it at the church and utilize this free tool to communicate to parishioners. It may be the one opportunity someone has that day to engage with their Catholic faith.
On another note about Facebook, you may find a parish ministry has created a Facebook group. While that ministry leader has good intentions for that group, are they authorized to have an official voice for your church? You want to oversee those as soon as possible.
There are many resources on the internet for Catholic parishes. Make certain you are keeping your church’s information updated!