Find out more about how it’s a key part of LentPilgrim and EasterPilgrim here. We survey our 14,000 A Church Near You editors annually and are thrilled with this year’s results.
For example, more than 40 per cent of editors have heard visitors to their church say they found them through ACNY.
More than one-third of editors have proactively said the new analytics report of their ACNY pages have encouraged them to make the most of their page/s, and 30 per cent have been surprised by how high the numbers are.
The vast majority of editors who added their Christmas services and events to the site did so in under an hour – more than 90 per cent. 23 per cent of those who added their services to ACNY saw more people attend their Christmas services this year, and 60 per cent saw a similar number.
We invited editors to leave comments on the survey, and some had questions, which we’ve answered here in this Q&A. If you have questions about ACNY, why not visit our Editor Help Centre, where we’re adding more resources all the time.
“A very valuable resource. I am new to editing, but find it easy to use and appreciated the facility to link to the Christmas campaign. I hope the profile of the site continues to increase.”
Why did the site change?
The new ACNY saw a 50 per cent increase in traffic the first month it launched in 2017, compared the same month the previous year. By returning the control to churches, editors are now able to get access to the site faster, can customise their pages more and can even use the site as their main church website.
In the A Church Near You editor, one told us: “This questionnaire has made me realise that there is a lot more functionality to ACNY than previously and that I need to investigate further.”
Why can’t you choose which service appears on your homepage? We don’t want it to show our next service!
You can! When you’re logged in, go the first tab on the left-hand side, click on the grey pencil by the name of your church to edit your homepage. Scroll down to the “What’s on” panel and select “Use this event” by using the drop-down menu and selecting your chosen service or event. When you’ve done this, remember to click “Save” at the bottom of the page.
Is your hard work editing our ACNY pages paying off?
In 2018, the site received more than 10 million page views, with 82 per cent of visitors doing so for the first time.
Since launching the inbox feature, to allow the public to contact churches directly to inquire about attending services, organising a life event or asking another question, more than 10,000 messages have been sent to our churches. This increase in engagement is so encouraging – and shows that your communities are still looking to the church at key moments in their lives.
Our 2019 editor survey shows that more than 84 per cent of churches would recommend ACNY to other churches, and 35 per cent of churches already using the site as their main website or are planning to soon.
In the survey, one church told us: “We have a comment in our visitor book that says they visited our church purely because of the warm welcome felt on ACNY,” and another said: “I have encouraged other churches to use ACNY too. I have also found it very useful to help others moving away from the area in finding potential new churches for them. Thank you.”
Does the Church of England want churches to get rid of their websites and just use ACNY?
On A Church Near You, you can link your church’s website, Facebook and Twitter – and Instagram soon – from your page, to help people find out more about you. In fact, the Visit our website button is one of the first things visitors see when landing on a church’s page that has added the link.
Last year, we introduced the feature that made it possible for churches to use ACNY as their website, by redirecting their domain names to their ACNY pages. We explained the process here. This development was based on the results of our previous annual editor survey, where 40% of churches said they’d like to use ACNY as their main church website. This would save the Church of England around £1 million as the churches were able to stop paying separate hosting, development and security fees.
However, this option was only added for those churches interested in saving this money and having only one site to manage. It was not and never will be compulsory – it’s just an option.
This was introduced for churches, like this one who left this comment at the end of the editor survey: “I am delighted with ACNY and the church is going to use this as its sole website in future. I started editing the pages just before Christmas.”
I have to keep logging in to check if we have been sent any messages, couldn’t we receive a notification?
All editors will be emailed when there is a new message, using the same email address you log into A Church Near You with. The email will include a link that takes you to your inbox, where you can read the message and find the senders email address to reply to them. We’ve had helpful feedback from editors on further improvements to make to the inbox features, which will go live this year.
Nearly 10,000 messages have been sent to churches by members of the public since this feature launched. However, nearly 3,000 of these messages are still waiting for a response! Please do remember to follow the link to read the message when you receive an email saying that a member of the public has contacted you via ACNY.
There’s no need to log into ACNY just to check the inbox – unless you receive the email notification.
“Thanks for all the work you do. It is a great resource.”
The success of ACNY is down to the hard work and commitment of our editors, and we are grateful for the time they spend keeping their pages up to date. Thank you to all those editors who took the time to feedback about their A Church Near You experience. Our development work this year will be based on this.
If you need some help in logging into ACNY, editing your pages or even pointing your domain name to your page to use it as your main church website, visit our Editor Help Centre here.
“It's getting better all the time. Keep it up!”
Digital Content and Communications Manager