Working on a church communications team can be both exciting and intimidating. You cannot wait to have an impact. You are now the digital voice of your church. Getting off to a good start is important. But where does that journey begin? Where will that path take you? Start with understanding your website. This article is based on recent success in my professional career.Continue reading “The 90-Day Church Website Plan”
Essential Church Communications Tools
You cannot build a house without tools. And good tools make it go even faster. The same is true of building a successful digital ministry. The right combination of hardware and software will accelerate productivity. This article explores eight things your church communications team needs.
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Analyzing Internal Church Interview Data
Internal interviews are a great way to discover existing corporate knowledge. You get first-hand accounts of customer feedback from church staff and volunteers. Yet it may not be clear how to analyze the notes you took during those interviews. This article explores how I analyzed results of interviews I recently conducted.
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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.Continue reading “Updating and Validating Personas”
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. As a child, castles, caves, and racetracks were some of my favorite creations. Yet I never recall being upset that those creations would 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 and exploring ideas is often viewed as wasted effort. This article advocates the use of a website sandbox; a space to let imagination run wild and God’s creative spirit to flourish.
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
If 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
What 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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