One of the most common reasons to visit a church's website is to find the church's address, worship times, or phone number. In fact, it is probably on the home page of your website so that it is easy and quick to find. It should not only be listed on your website but on Bing Local Listings, Google Places and Yahoo! Local as well.
Even if your church doesn't have a website or will never start using Twitter or Facebook, I'm sure your church records sermons. With tape players obsolete and CD players common, it would be good to make the switch to recording your service digitally if you haven't yet. Not only will this be more compatible with your church listeners, but will allow you to easily podcast your sermon.
A while ago I wrote an article detailing several items that every church website should include no matter the size of their church or website. Mick Mel's recent post "Don’t be like a “University Website"" details many of the items I mentioned along with several items that are unnecessary on your church's homepage. Most of the items are aimed at presenting a good impression for your church, but also help with not frustrating return visitors.
More and more software programs are becoming available online or 'in the cloud'. Currently, there are several popular services like Google Docs or now Microsoft Office Web Apps that make working in the cloud advantageous. Recently, Intuit unveiled Quickbooks Online which allows an organization to manage their books, run reports and more online. Now those who keep track of the church's finances and books can do so in the cloud.
Another simple and quick way to add value to your church is to have email addresses at the church’s domain. Many times church staff or leaders create email accounts with the provider of their internet service, or through free providers like Yahoo (Yahoo email), Google (Gmail), or Microsoft (Live Mail, Hotmail).
Over two decades ago Nike coined the phrase "Just do it". While this has taken on numerous meanings, the original meaning still rings true: even if it's not going to be perfect or close to perfect, just do it anyways. If you are waiting for the perfect moment and for everything to come together perfectly, it's probably not going to. Instead, take the first small steps, and go from there.
Look up; at the top of the window. Up in the address bar is the URL of this website. Have you looked at the addresses that your website is using? Your church is probably using a system (CMS) that automatically creates the URL for a page based on a template. Usually the default is for ugly unusable URLs. However, with most of the popular CMSs there are options to change the way URLs are structured.
A month ago Blizzard (a video game developer) announced they were going to require users of their online forums to use their real names with a hope to reduce trolling, flame wars, and other non productive comments. This was a bold move by Blizzard which shows the severity of their problem. Immediately, many users complained, and Blizzard ended up cancelling this requirement.
Yesterday we added the Facebook widget as a slide on the CRCNA home page. It still throws me for a loop when I see my friends on CRCNA.org (when I'm logged into Facebook, that is). But it's certainly attention-getting — and that was the point.
Not only is there a sample bulletin announcement and other ideas on this page to spread the word about The Network, but there are two images that you can post on your church website. This not only showcases your support of The Network, but helps us get the word out so that we can add to the number of voices on the site and share the knowledge and wisdom for the many different roles in a church.
Endless solutions exists to make your church run better, faster, and more efficient. As with any solution, there's a trade off between using a new technology since it's faster or cheaper, and the usefulness of it. Dan Hotchkiss explores the difficulties associated with new technologies and the shift to digital in an article from The Alban Institute, titled When to Adopt New Technology
Ever wonder what operating system other churches are running on their servers? What they use for email? What solution other churches use for their staff intranet? What their IT budget is? The Church IT Survey is a survey that provides responses for these questions and forty others from over 150 churches.
Two aspects of the web that are driving innovation are collaboration and lowering costs, of which almost any new web service or site provides. Recently Microsoft started the
Technical Preview of Microsoft Office Web Apps
which includes both of these. Office Web Apps (OWA) enable the editing, sharing, and storing of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote files online, through most browsers and any operating system.
Over the last couple of years it seems just about everyone is either a social media consultant or offering seminars. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I wanted to pass along one that I have heard good things about. This next Friday WiredChurches.com is offering a one day workshop on Social Media & Web. The workshop will focus providing valuable content on your site, the best way to present it, and how to use social media for marketing. If you check out their site, look at the other events they offer and you might just come across another one that interests you.