If someone decides to visit your church, there is a pretty good chance they are going to use their smartphone to help get them there. Over half of American adults now own a smartphone. I could do a whole post on how using GPS and smartphones to get around has made us directionally challenged, but I am one of the worst offenders. I often use my smartphone to navigate even when I know exactly where I am going. (To be fair, I often forget where I am going.)
I attend a different church nearly every Sunday morning. I hope to settle down one day, but right now I am enjoying the freedom to roam. When I am ready to go, I hold up my android phone and say, “Okay Google, navigate to [blank] United Methodist Church.” I really do that. My work phone is an iPhone but my personal phone is a Google Nexus 5. Google and I get along way better than I do with Siri.
So, let’s say I want to worship at Oak Meadow United Methodist Church, just down the road from the Conference Office. I say, “Okay Google, navigate to Oak Meadow United Methodist Church,” here is what should happen:
Nice. Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes Google has no idea where the church is. Sometimes it will send me to the wrong place. This would be bad news for most visitors. Fortunately, I work for the annual conference, I have other ways of finding things. But some people might just give up and go to brunch. I guarantee if they say “Okay Google, navigate to Jim’s” they will find their way to breakfast.
So, what do you do? Check it out. Look up your church on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yahoo Maps, Bing Maps. If it is not there or it is wrong, fix it. Most search engines and map platforms make it easy. They want to have the correct information. If you submit a change they usually change it pretty quick. If you can’t figure it out, let me know by email or in the comments and I will see what I can do.
It is worth your your time. Not only do good map results help people navigate to your location, correct information also helps you move up in search results. So, whether people are trying to find you physically or just on the web searching for a church, you will be easy to find.