Archive for category Websites
Ladies – there is a new site for you to check out – Come Fill Your Cup (http://comefillyourcup.wordpress.com). It seems that some ladies have jumped into the ministry technology stream lately. Two friends of mine, Erynn Sprouse and Tami Roberts have started a ministry blog for the ladies. Here’s how they describe its purpose on their site:
Grab a cup of tea, coffee, cocoa, water– whatever. Sit for a moment and take time to fill your spiritual cup. This is a space built just for ladies. It’s a space for you to read other ladies’ thoughts on scripture, love, life, God, our Savior and the Holy Spirit. It’s a place for you to be filled, but also to fill others’ cups. You’re invited to share your comments and thoughts, your ups, your downs, highs, lows, sorrows and triumphs. It is our most sincere hope that you will find encouragement to help you toward fuller service to God.
What a great tool to share with other Christian women! Check it out and help spread the word.
According to their website, Squarespace is “a fully hosted, completely managed environment for creating and maintaining a website, blog or portfolio.” There are a number of things I like about Squarespace for small (and even large) church websites:
Easy to use, no coding (unless you want to) – The online page building system is easy to use and requires no coding knowledge at all to use. But, if you know some CSS, you can tweak a bit deeper to give your site a completely custom look and feel. This flexibility makes Squarespace stand out.
Multiple content managers – This feature is the “game changer” for me. Squarespace allows to to share content management with multiple people. For example, the Youth Minister could be given access to update the Youth Ministry webpage content. Since the site uses a simple online form to build and edit the pages, anyone can become a content manager. By spreading the load over multiple people, you can assure that your site continues to function even as people come and go from the congregation.
Highly Customizable - Everything in your Squarespace site can be tweaked. Colors, fonts, columns, and images can all be controlled through an easy to use online interface.
Create blogs as part of your site – You can add as many blogs as part of your site as you want. You can create blogs for the preacher, youth minister, education minister, or anyone else you want. And the best part is it only takes a few clicks of the mouse.
Built in statistics – Statistics help you see where your traffic is coming from and what pages are getting the most attention. All of this is built into your Squarespace site from the beginning.
Social media support is on the way – Soon your Squarespace website will integrate with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sources. This will let you connect your website to larger and larger communities.
You can check out the video below to see a tour of how Squarespace works. It really is a great solutions for churches and it is very affordable. With prices starting at $8 per month for the Basic package all the way up to $50 a month for their Community package, this solution will fit into most budgets. I recommend the Advanced ($20) or Business ($30) packages for most church needs. If you need a better way to build a website for your congregation you need to look into Squarespace.
If you look at the last few entries I have made here, they all revolve around an online service called Slideshare. This online community allows you to upload and share slide presentation with people in a variety of ways. People can see the presentation on the Slideshare website itself (www.slideshare.net), you can embed the presentation in your Facebook profile, on your blog or website and even email links to anyone you would like. You can get to my Slideshare account and see some of the presentations I have posted by clicking here.
While this may be cool for some, (especially ministry tech geeks like me), it begs the question SO WHAT? I mean, what is the big deal about being able to put your sermon presentations online? Does that really matter?
Well, it might. Obviously leveraging the power of your visuals with your audio will help you communicate more effectively. If not, why did you build the PowerPoint presentation to begin with? But it goes beyond that…or at least it should.
1. Build short, 3-4 minute presentations to teach people about the inspiration of the Bible, Christian evidences, the importance of the church, New Testament Christianity and more and then embed them in your Facebook profile, blog or congregation’s website.
2. Build a short 3-4 minute presentation that describes your congregation, its purpose and mission to attract visitors.
3. Build a presentation to introduce new members to the elders, deacons and ministry staff.
4. Build short presentations to answer common Bible questions that people ask most often.
Getting the idea? There are hundreds of ways that you might leverage this tool in ministry. Share your ideas with me…I would love to hear what ideas you all come up with…let me know!
The folks at Logos Bible Software have done it again. They have created a new tool called RefTagger. This tool allows you to link Bible references on your website to Biblegateway.com so visitors can see the text for themselves. RefTagger goes through your page and links Bible references automatically. When a visitor hovers their mouse over the reference, a small pop-up window opens showing them the verse. You can choose between the KJV, ESV and NLT translations for your pop-up and it is very easy to add to your website. There is also an icon option that lets any visitor using Logos Bible Software open the verse in Logos right from your website. This new free tool is available here.
Let’s talk about traffic. No I don’t mean how long it took you to get to work today or that logjam of cars on the Interstate trying to get across town. I am talking about who is coming to your website or blog. Traffic is obviously important in this sense of the word. If no one is coming to your website or reading the posts that you labored over and posted to your blog, then why do it? If, on the other hand, you have people visiting your site from Korea or Ukraine or India, and you are in Denver, Colorado are what time your services are held and cool Mapquest directions to your building really all that important? We need to understand that the web is an international tool. That visitor from Korea, quite honestly, couldn’t care less about what time services start. You need to provide him (or her) with more. Teach him some biblical truth that he didn’t know before. Share something that will plant a seed in his life that may bear fruit for the Lord.
So who is coming to your site and where do they come from? I am often asked if there is a way to tell when people visit your website or blog. The answer is a resounding YES with the help our our friends at Google. Google Analytics is a free statistics package that you can easily add to your website or blog. Once installed on the pages or your website or blog you can get detailed stats about the number of people visiting your site and even where they come from. The amount of detail that can be gained from this tool is really impressive. You can learn the number of new visitors vs. returning visitors and dozens of other stats to help you understand who is looking at your site. One of the more interesting reports shows you a map of the world and when you hover you mouse over a color coded country (the color coding indicates traffic volume) you can see how many visitors have come to your site from that country. A simple click on the country shows a close up map of that country with dots from the various cities containing visitors. As an example, I know that within the last 30 days our school website (www.bvbid.org) has received:
– 2090 visits
– 55.89% of those visitors are first-time visitors to our site
– 50 countries had visitors
– within the U.S. we had visits from 49 states – North Dakota was a no show
Certainly this information can be very useful to a ministry website or blog. Knowing that a vast majority of your traffic come from a particular region or area of the globe may help you realize that you have an opportunity to reach out to people in places and lands you never dreamed were possible.