CTR: Website

Needless to say, having a web site to both promote and inform your church or ideas is imperative. Nearly all households have access to the Internet, sometimes even on more than one computer. The great thing about the Internet is that it can reach the whole world, and not just your neighborhood. Thus, if you have anything to say (ie. a Gospel message), everyone can get to know about it.

Having a web site is not just a commodity for churches, but a must. The web site needs to be your profile and what's good about it is that there is limitless information you can put on it. Another good thing is that static content on your site can be changed very easily. Even better, you can opt to go for a dynamic site which will automatically change your content based on changes to your services, like times, events, ministries, staff information and more. Your web site is your identity, make sure you have one!

Perhaps it seems like a daunting task but there are easy and some free options available. I imagine the only thing stopping you is the resources to maintain it, the fear of new technology, or the cost associated.

First, Don't Be Afraid! Things are not set in stone. Second, this is also an opportunity for a lay leader/deacon or anyone really to get involved with your church. Put them in charge of it and see how much it increases their willingness to get behind your vision.  So I have taken care of the fear and resource issues, all you have left is the technology. Let me make that easy for you as well. I have searched the web over, And thought I found true love. You met another and Phht! you were gone. Sorry, my brain took a tangent but I have searched the web over and I have identified three resources I can get behind and support.

AdvancedMinistry - AdvancedMinistry has all of the features you need to build and manage a website. lt uses simple, familiar web-based tools and no programming or HTML is needed. You can easily create pages using text, images, links, and even video*.  Easily add features like Blogs*, calendars, file downloads*, and interactive photo galleries*. There are many more features available and the pricing is competitive. They are among the few to offer a FREE plan which provides a great quick start to your online presence. Very easily managed content by anyone without all the confusion of content management systems (CMS) like Joomla or its offshoots. It doesn't hurt to try it out for free! Find out more on their website.  If you are not doing a church site, they offer a business edition as well. I have not used it yet but I am planning on at least trying it out. Here are my musings with AM.
  • Quick Mockup Site
    (14-Day Free Trial, Created in about 15 minutes; expires on July 4th).
  • South Ridge Fairmont

Clover Sites - If that is not easy enough for you, you can also try this site. They allow you to try everything before you buy. The setup cost is higher but you really cannot get a more interactive CMS for your church and these sites look super professional. They offer completely visual editing and allow you to make all the changes you want, then publish them to your Live site later.  Each site comes with several different layouts that you can use for any page. There are many other features offered and you can get a complete feature list from their site. The only downside to this is all sites are completely designed in Flash. Thus, If Safari is your main browser, you may not want to go this route.

Choolu! - This one is a new kid on the block but it has all the right stuff features and functions as church management software as well. It is rumored to be offered for FREE to anyone who signs up for testing and possibly to everyone! I look forward to the beta release by the end of the summer and I really feel this will be a happy medium between the two systems above. I will personally keep tabs on this one and let everyone know when it is ready. If you are not in a hurry, I would sign up for this offer. It could possibly be the best option available.

I really hope these posts are a help to you and encourage you to look back through the technology posts if you have missed them to see what other resources are available. July 9th: Google Apps!

1 comment:

  1. We passionately agree with what you are saying in this blog in terms of that every church needs to have a website that is easy to keep updated, but there are a few other things that are needed as well:

    - people have to be able to find it using the search engines
    - it needs to really reach out and welcome visitors
    - you must integrate Facebook and/or Twitter to help foster better communications with your membership

    And we believe that in order to accomplish all of this and to it right, it really needs to be done by a professional web design/seo/content management specialist/social media specialist type person. These are the things we promote and try to help Churches do at ChurchBuzz.com (we are brand new as ChurchBuzz, but our team has been doing Web Development for 13+ years).

    You can read more on these important aspects for Church Website Management on today's blog article: http://bit.ly/b3iGLb

    Patrick Steil