Why your church should be using A Church Near You

07/09/2018

Did you know that every Church of England church has a page on A Church Near You?

Since launch, AChurchNearYou.com has become a major tool to encourage people into their local church. Since the site’s transformation in November 2017, even more churches are now making use of it. Is yours?

Here are eight reasons your church should be keeping you A Church Near You page up to date:

  1. The site receives around 10 million page views a year with 50% more traffic in December 2017 vs December 2016.
  2. Many of these visitors are coming to ACNY for the first time, 82% in fact.  A lot of the enquiries churches receive through the site are for weddings and christenings.
  3. People regularly visit A Church Near You first as it often appears top in search results.
  4. In a recent survey of our 13,000 editors, 77% said they found the new site easy to edit 
  5. A Church Near You is completely free to use. By using it as your website you can free up money for other church projects.
  6. The site meets modern security and accessibility standards, saving local churches lots of time and resource.
  7. We've got exciting plans to regularly add new features and functionality
  8. By using tags provided, you are highlighting the good work of your church nationally.

But don’t just take our word for it. We've been thrilled by the overwhelming positive support we’ve received from those regularly using the site, both as church editors and visitors finding out more about their local church.

Here’s what Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, had to say:

"A Church Near You is a fantastic, free resource for our churches. I'm delighted by the way so many editors in my diocese - and beyond - are claiming their pages and using them to let millions of visitors to the site know what they get up to each week, from the regular Sunday services to the holiday clubs, foodbanks and community groups on offer. I'm excited to see how churches now make the most of the ability to use their ACNY page as their website, saving these churches money that can be freed up for other church projects. We all know how important digital is to our evangelism and discipleship strategies, and I believe ACNY can play a huge role in that."

We also spoke to two current A Church Near You editors about what they think of the site:

“The development of ACNY into a platform with improved search and user experience has encouraged us. ACNY has been a useful part of our Christmas campaign for the past two years. In December 2017 we saw a significant uplift in referrals from ACNY of users we had not interacted with before. As a working benefice our web platform is integrated across our churches. We appreciate the parish level search optimisation ACNY provides which is useful for occasional visitors to parish churches. 2018 will see us use the platform in new ways beginning in Advent.”

- A Church Near You Editor, St Mark's Church, Ampfield - St Denys Church, Chilworth - All Saints and St John the Baptist, North Baddesley

ACNY was a great stepping stone in convincing the congregation and PCC that an online presence is valuable and necessary. The biggest selling point for them was it didn’t cost the church anything and was clear, well designed and accessible for all technical abilities.

“As we wanted to expand digitally as a church, it was much easier to propose building upon our ACNY presence rather than propose starting from scratch. We now have our own digital vision as part of our church which all started from ACNY.

“Using the data from the new update of ACNY, we were able to create events tailored to visitor trends.  We’ve also had several couples who, having booked their wedding reception locally and looking for a church, find us via our online presence including ACNY.”

- A Church Near You Editor, St John's - Ellel

We’re excited to be launching the next update to A Church Near You this month. Find out more about what’s coming to the site from our presentation at July’s General Synod.

If your church hasn’t filled in your A Church Near You page yet, what are you waiting for? You can find out how in the ACNY Help Centre.

 - Church of England Digital Team