People long for meaningful connections and will pursue them in a multitude of ways. This is at the core of all the social networks - Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram, LinkedIn, eHarmony, Match.com, et al. Who do I know? And, just as importantly, who knows me?
People are communal beings - we need each other. We also look for meaning in our lives. As these 2 things merge, local churches play a significant role - if they are prepared for it.
Applications and search results are becoming very localized - providing different results for the searcher, depending on their place and time. All organizations need to center their online (searchable) content around their location and their website.
Has your church prepared itself to be a place of community for people seeking meaning in your area? We'll give you an overview of the local search landscape and how you can become a better online neighbor.
Having a web strategy for your church is really a part of having a communications strategy for you church - your website is just one aspect of all your communications media. Even your web strategy will be broken into several components - a website, possibly a Facebook page and a Twitter account, maybe other online channels like YouTube and MySpace.
There are many pieces to your web strategy, but just having all the pieces doesn't mean they all fit together - yet!
Just like shaking the box won't assemble the jigsaw puzzle for you, you need to have a picture of how it will all fit together and then take steps to make it all happen. Today, we'll look at the pieces and the steps in the context of an overall strategy.
1. Having a web presence is no longer a nicety, but a necessity
2. You have limitations, as do the various options for establishing your web presence
3. It's not that difficult or stressful to make a decision, once you know what your choices are
There are lots of ways to communicate online and there are a variety of costs - where should you focus your attention? Where should you start? Website? Facebook? Twitter? Google Sites? Blogspot? Tumblr? YouTube? MySpace?
Well, you get the idea - there are a lot of facets to your online presence and you might want to hear what others have to say about building your online identity and communicating your message.
Once you make the decision to move ahead and build or update your church website, you need to choose the platform you will build it with. What are your choices and how will you make the decisions you are faced with? Here's a look at a baker's dozen of top content management systems and how they compare for church websites and how should you evaluate them.
As someone making an entry to the web for your church or ministry, you might think it rather simple, given the number of easily available tools. Or, you might find it too complex, given the myriad of choices and options you face. In either case, having somewhere to turn for guidance makes your job less challenging.
A logical place to turn is someone who has already done what you are hoping to do and has a similar mission. Larger churches and denominations certainly fit this role and are good starting places. However, they vary greatly in the resources they use and make available on their websites.
Here's an overview of several large denominations and the resources they offer, along with some of their own practices.
Creating and maintaining a personal website is far simpler than doing the same tasks for a church or ministry, or any organization, for that matter. Even when you acknowledge this, the reality is often times harsher that you expect or imagine. When you start to feel overburdened, take some time to gather yourself and gain some new perspectives for your situation. Then, work together with your leaders for a sustainable ministry solution.
Photo credits: I found the image for this article on Flickr and it was made available under a Creative Commons license - CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
People lead busy lives and calendars are seemingly easy ways to help keep you on track. The problem is, many people tend to put everything on their calendar and then try to manage what's there. What impact would adding an events calendar to your site have?
Calendars, especially online calendars, create a high expectation for timeliness and accuracy. They also provide a nice overview of your organization's activities and opportunities to connect. But, they can also be high maintenance items. We'll examine a few options for modules and an approach that may work for you.
The Web is a great place to find something to read. But, with so many choices placed in front of Internet users - what do they decide to read and how to they find it? The Internet is used to expand one's social, intellectual and even spiritual experiences. Just as your church buildings do not serve only as a tribute to the craftsmanship of the builders, your web site's primary function is not to highlight the skill of the programmer, but to reach people. How can you reach people online?
We all remember being taught the Five W's (and one H) in school, don't we? Well, they are still relevant in the realm of the World Wide Web. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How apply not only to your online content, but also to your online outreach.
Recently on Church Marketing Sucks, Brad Abare posted a series on producing church web sites that don't suck. Let's face it - it is just as easy to produce a web site that sucks as it is to create one that doesn't suck. Follow these tips so your site is good for more than just serving as a bad example.