Immanuel Lutheran Alpena

Showcasing the ministries and community involvement of a historic Northern Michigan congregation and increasing digital lead flow for its K-8 school.

  • New Website
  • SEO
  • CRO
  • Hosting

The Client

Immanuel Lutheran Church has been a fixture in Northern Michigan for over 150 years. Founded in 1874, it has since grown to become one of the largest congregations in the Alpena, Michigan area.

At a time when many churches are struggling, Immanuel has been blessed with a growing membership and the ability to reach thousands via weekly televised services, pastoral visits to area senior living communities, and summer services at the Alpena Bandshell on the shores of Lake Huron.

Immanuel also has a thriving day school, providing a high-quality Christian education to area children that pairs faith with academic excellence.

The Problem

Immanuel's existing website had been built by a parishioner over fifteen years ago on WordPress. It had served its purpose well at a time when many churches still lacked websites and didn't understand their potential for helping reach unchurched members of the community. Any new site had to be maintainable by both technical and non-technical volunteers.

The existing church site was being hosted by a local marketing agency as a courtesy, but it hadn't been updated in a substantial amount of time. Many links were broken. In terms of SEO performance, Immanuel's existing site was below average.

The school site presented a special problem. It had its own WordPress install and at one time utilized a Divi theme. For some reason, though, the school website had been unpublished, leaving a lot of dead links pointing to a domain that only showed users an "Under Construction" page.

The Solution

Amethron's first step was getting the church ownership over its own site files. Thankfully, the agency that was hosting their sites was very helpful and gave us dashboard access to both the church and school sites. We cloned the sites to our own servers and got to work on replacements.

We went for design concepts that showcased Immanuel's beautiful stained glass windows and updated classrooms. The site layout and navigation needed to be appealing to a younger audience but also easy-to-use for older members of the congregation.

The new Immanuel church and school websites are built on Statamic. One of the beautiful parts about Statamic is that it gives developers the ability to easily configure roles and permissions on a granular level. In Immanuel's case, this solved two problems at the same time: ensuring maintainability while also making it hard for a non-technical user to accidentally break the site layout.

Immanuel's new site has enjoyed a significant increase in local SEO performance. Since launching, the church and school have experienced an increase in digital inquiries by people interested in visiting a service or enrolling their children.

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