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Since the Lewes local meeting website launched in October of 2016, regular updates have been made to the information we share with the public on-line. Have you had a look around the website recently?
In the first 11 months of 2017, there were 3,465 “hits” to our website, or an average of 10 per day. In comparison, the main Quakers in Britain website receives over 30,000 hits per month!
The top two pages people visited were the Home Page and the Members Page (which, as you know, is password protected). So the website is, as it was intended to, reaching two separate audiences – outreach to enquirers, and in-reach to those members and attenders of Lewes meeting who use the Members Page to access reports and minutes of Meeting for Worship for Church Affairs, the monthly newsletter, and more.
Visitors to the site are interested in our garden, and The Garden page has had a healthy amount of traffic throughout the year. The editors try to keep on-line photos of the garden up to date, and if you are a keen photographer, you might like to contribute to this effort. We are lucky to have such a beautiful space in Lewes, with the Gardening Group and others working hard to make our garden both lovely and productive. It is interesting that people not only seek out the meeting house garden in person but also “virtually” via the website.
Our Resident Friends confirm that the Booking the meeting house page has regular visitors, with many booking enquiries now coming in through the website. This is a useful way to communicate with people who are interested in renting space in our building, and who can look inside the meeting room and the children’s room without ever physically entering the building. The Booking the meeting house page is the fifth most visited page on the website.
It is closely followed by Blog posts – which I found quite interesting. As you know, our blog posts are guest editorials written by individual Friends, who write about an aspect of Quakerism that speaks to them, or of which they have particular experience. Although the meeting produced only five blog posts in 2017, statistics show that people are reading them. (If you are reading this, you have found your own way to the Blog post page.) Next year, it would be great if the meeting could commit to producing a different blog post every month. Would you like to contribute in this way? Is there an aspect of Quaker faith or practice that you would like to write about? If so, please contact the website editors, Lou Wright or myself, and we can send details on how to submit a piece.
Many other local Quaker meetings in Britain have dedicated websites, with some linked through their Area Meeting websites. This is not how things are set up in Sussex East, although Area Meeting might seek to revisit this in the years ahead. Friends have probably found their way to other local and area meeting websites; they are a very good way of finding out about Quaker meetings in locations you intend to visit.
There is a great deal of interest in the virtual presence that Quakers occupy, and it has been interesting to be part of this process, and to follow and participate in the debates that arise, i.e. private vs public space, scrutinising how we communicate, and looking at ways in which what we do now will impact the future of our Society.