“3 Things Every Church Should Have in the Digital World” by Susan Kleinwechter. Digital technology offers many tools for communicating your church’s ministry to visitors and to members. Although there are many things a church can do online, there are three foundational things that every church should have in the digital world – a website, domain-name email, and a email marketing service. Other things should follow these three.
- Church Websites 101: Don’t Start with the Web by Kevin Hendricks of Church Marketing Sucks. Churches have to start with strategy. Includes links to other resources.
- The Seven (Plus One) Deadly Sins of a Church Website by Thom Rainer
- Websites: The new front door for every church by Laurie Haller, Special Contributor to the United methodist Reporter
- If You Can’t Edit Your Church Website, It’s Time For A New One by Allan Buckingham
- How to launch a self-hosted WordPress blog in 20 minutes or less by Michael Hyatt – shows how easy it can be
- Writing for the Web (PDF) by the Church of England
- Content your church website must have by Steven Gliebe
Your website needs to be ‘responsive’ or easy to use on a mobile device. The majority of visitors to your site are likely to be using a smart phone or tablet. Also, some search engine algorithms (such as Google’s) will rank your site lower in search results if it’s not mobile-friendly. Read more on how to test your site and how to update it, if needed, to a more mobile-friendly format. Contact the diocesan office if you’d like help.
- Easy WP Guide by easyWPGuide – a simple online WordPress manual that will help you get an overall understanding of how to use various features.
- Eight things you should do after building your wordpress site by Steven Glieve
- 11 Things to Do with Every New WordPress Install by iThemes
- 71 Best Free WordPress Themes 2019 by Brenda Barron
- Beginner’s guide to Weebly
- 5 Ways to Improve Your Website – a weebly.com resource
Choosing between WordPress & Weebly
WordPress and Weebly getting-started information by Susan Kleinwechter
http://www.moja.com/ – Content management system used by Trinity, Fort Worth and the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO and Your Website by Susan Kleinwechter
MailChimp for Nonprofits MailChimp gives nonprofits a 15% discount, but of great importance for churches, if your list has fewer than 2000 subscribers, you can send 12,000 emails a month free; they call that their Forever Free plan.
Getting Started in MailChimp; MailChimp Knowledge Base, Video Index (helpful MailChimp videos), and Resources & Guides – “MailChimp’s guides offer information for email marketing rookies, experts, and everyone in between. We’ll walk you through your first newsletter, show you how to use your report stats to write better content, and make sure you know all the spam laws. Whether you’re an email pro or just exploring your options, there’s a MailChimp guide for you.”
Constant Contact product tutorial and guides
- “Stepping Out with Social Media At Church” by Susan Kleinwechter
a starting point for why social media matters at church
- “Tweet if you Love Jesus, Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation,” Elizabeth Drescher, Morehouse Publishing
- “The Social Media Gospel, Sharing the Good News in New Ways,” Meredith Gould, Liturgical Press
- “Facebook for my church” and “Facebook 101” by Susan Kleinwechter
points you to a resource to learn how to create and use a facebook account
- Social Media toolkit: Facebook and Social Media toolkit: Twitter from the Diocese of Toronto in the Anglican Church of Canada
- Google Apps Documentation & Support – get help using your mail, calendar, documents, and other google apps: learn.googleapps.com
- Manage staff transition in Google Apps: A 10 step checklist by Andy Wolber – staff turnover happens, here’s how to make the transition smoothly.
Microsoft Office topics from gcflearnfree.org – Goodwill Community Foundation offers free online learning
Working with Images
Canva (Canva.com), and Why I Love Canva by Susan Kleinwechter
Image Sources & Tips
- Edublogs’ Images, copyright, and Creative Commons
- Understanding Creative Commons Licenses
- 7 websites to get free high quality images by ChurchMag
- Where to Find the Best Free Stock Photos by Jacob Gube
- The Ultimate Directory Of Free Image Sources by Dan Leeman
- Wikimedia Commons – read about licensing and reuse
- StockVault.net shows free photos in addition to premium (paid) stock photos
- ImageBase.net has a collection of photos, mostly taken by David Niblack, that can be freely used for personal, commercial, non-profit, artistic, or creative purposes.
- Bing images lets you search for images by type of license (read about Creative Commons licenses or read Bing’s help for a basic understanding of licenses)
- Google’s image search lets you search like Bing does, but selecting license filtering is a couple of clicks farther away than Bing’s.
- Churchart.com is a reasonably priced source of stock art and many templates for newsletters, Power Point presentations, etc.
- PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption by Jakob Neilsen of Neilsen Norman Group – Points out usability issues of PDF files online. “Users get lost inside PDF files, which are typically big, linear text blobs that are optimized for print and unpleasant to read and navigate online. PDF is good for printing, but that’s it. Don’t use it for online presentation.”
- Gateway Pages Prevent PDF Shock by Jakob Neilsen of Neilsen Norman Group – Has tips on good practices for when you do use PDFs online. “Spare your users the misery of being dumped into PDF files without warning. Create special gateway pages that summarize the contents of big documents and guide users gently into the PDF morass.”
- Free PDF to JPEG online converter http://convertonlinefree.com/PDFToJPGEN.aspx – Sometimes you’re given a PDF, but you need a JPG. Convert it here online for free. Has other image converters.
It’s important that people can find your church when they look for it.
- Episcopal Asset Map
- Google’s “My Maps” allows create and share custom maps to mark locations relevant to your church and its ministries, for instance. Here is an example, showing churches by deanery.
- ArcGIS – If you want to go beyond marking dots and shapes on your maps, here is a free online course that will show you how to use ArcGIS for data analysis and storytelling.
Goodwill Community Foundation offers free online learning, no catches, no gotchas, at gcflearnfree.org. They offer tutorials in basic technology, Microsoft Office, social media, math, career, reading and everyday life. http://www.gcflearnfree.org/office