Updating and Validating Personas

After creating your initial draft of personas, you need to confirm your guesses. I know you already did this with internal ministry leaders. But this is with actual users. Validating personas against users should uncover interesting details your ministry leaders missed. Or you may uncover larger problems. Regardless, you will better understand how people use your digital ministries.
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Using Libraries to Speed Up Website Creation

When dealing with limited resources such as time and personnel, you need to work smarter as well as harder. One key to gaining this efficiency is to not duplicate work. By creating a digital asset once and reusing it, you not only gain speed, but also consistency. This article will discuss several areas of website creation where libraries can be utilized to greatly increase how quickly you conceptualize and create websites.
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The Benefits of a Website Sandbox

Sandboxes are an amazing place for children to play. They can dig, build, explore, and imagine so many things. Castles, fortresses, caves, battlefields, and racetracks were some of my favorite creations. Yet I never recall being upset that those creations would eventually crumble in a few days.. It was the journey, not the destination that was the fun part. Websites are all too often the exact opposite. It is a rush to build the site, exploring ideas is often viewed as wasted effort, and the finished product is expected to stand on its own for years to come. This article advocates the use of a website sandbox; a space to let imagination run wild and God’s creative spirit to flourish.
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Optimize for Speed

When you decrease the amount of time your website takes to download, you will increase the likelihood they will stay. This has been proven by studies conducted by several giants of the web, including Google and Amazon. They understand that time is money, and the longer someone spends waiting for a page to show up, the more agitated they become. When you optimize for speed, your church website visitors should be surprised with how quickly your site appears. This is especially true if they are viewing it on a mobile device over a cellular network, where every megabyte of data is money.
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Prepare for Emergencies Today

Emergencies and problems tend to sneak up on us at the worst possible moments. Annoying things like losing your keys when running late happen on a regular basis, but real disasters can set us back a lot. Similarly, digital disasters can set a church back weeks or months; slowing progress and momentum they were gathering. Yet by preparing today you can help mitigate the possibility of your online ministries grinding to a halt. This article will cover four areas you should prepare for, and the steps you need to take.
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Conducting Stakeholder Interviews

To properly support your church, your website needs to support its high-level strategic goals. If you want to know where your church is going, you will need to ask your leadership. The best way to accomplish this is through stakeholder interviews. This will not only include your primary or lead pastor, but also your various ministry leaders. By gathering input from all areas, you can not only ensure your church is aligned on its long-range goals, but also that your website is crafted to most successfully support it.
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Experience a Disability and Change Your Website

The best way to understand how someone with a disability experiences your website is to step into their bodies for a few minutes. I wrote a few articles about tactical ways to create websites for more disability-friendly interfaces and features. Yet while major companies acknowledge that accessibility is a good thing, they often refuse to build in accessibility features due to budget and timeline constraints. The best way to convince someone of their error is to allow them to experience a disability for themselves first hand.
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 39: Website Evolution, not Revolution

cws-podcast-logoIf you already have a church website, I hope you do not hear my podcasts and decide to completely re-make your site. There are actually very few good reasons to create a completely new website. Instead, try making incremental changes that will add value as you go along. Regardless of your stance on the subject of human evolution, you definitely should believe in website evolution!
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 38: Inspire Confidence on Your Church Website

cws-podcast-logoWhat if your pastor’s sermon had no major points, no reference to scripture, and no relevance to your daily lives? What if they wore a distracting outfit, talked too quietly, and stuttered? I doubt that pastor’s preaching career would last very long. So why would it be OK for your website to do the same thing? Create good looking, recently updated, easily understood, relevant websites and you will inspire confidence in your visitors. Please note that most of these are huge topics, each warranting a entire series of discussions. However, this is a primer that I hope will get your wheels turning on what directions your church web team can move toward.
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Church Social Media: Social Media Foundations

What social media foundations can you lay at your church to make your online ministries more effective? By creating good processes and having the discipline to adhere to them, you will bolster interactions on your various platforms, and boost traffic to your websites. This article contains tips on creating and recycling content, defining and sticking to a schedule, as well as curating and automating your publishing process. The end result should be a vibrant and flourishing online church community.
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Church Social Media: Getting Started

Social media is a buzzword that has been circulating for a while now, and I think it is about time I write a series that really digs into how your church can harness its power. If your church dabbled in social media before and got no results, that singular and probably disjointed venture left a bad taste in your mouth. Perhaps you have yet to do anything because you are afraid to venture in. Many churches think it will consume too much time, and pastors and leadership shy away from it. The worst scenario is that you think it is a waste of time, with no measurable or tangible results. Regardless, please give church social media another glance as we look at it from a more integrated and strategic perspective.
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 32: Getting Started: From Clueless to Colors

cws-podcast-logoIn this episode, I walk you through some for getting started with your church website, or that next big re-design. This is good preparation regardless if you are using internal resources, or an external team to build your website. These steps do not need to be accomplished in this order, but this is what I consider to be the most efficient with the least amount of re-work.
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