A Year in Review: 2014

glasses sitting on desktop paper calendar

I am amazed that yet another year of writing is behind me. The time went by quickly as usual, and now I get to review and reflect on what I have learned. Not to waste a post, I will of course relate it to your church’s digital strategy. First is my stumbling upon a weekly Twitter chat for church social media enthusiasts. I also reflection on a year of podcasting. Last I make a plea to re-think about your positioning for the mobile space.

First I will say that the rhythm of writing every week has truly set in. I know I talked about it during my 100th article, but regular blogging is an amazing therapy. It is an added bonus that it may be give inspiration to a fellow web geek. This past October I attended the Web Design Day conference in Pittsburgh. I also attended the meet and greet after-party. To my astonishment met someone who read some of my articles. The encouragement from that meeting was huge. It let me know that I was making a difference. Which leads me to my first topic:

You Are Not Alone

There are many people out there with your same struggles and problems. Many have even solved them with amazingly creative methods. The reason this came to me was my recent (albeit sporadic) participation in the #ChSocM Twitter chats on Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM EST. For me it was an amazing place to pass on what little teaching I had to offer, learn from others, and connect with some true moguls in the church website industry. I encourage you to seek out these knowledge sharing spaces, as many already exist. If you can’t find one for you, then create a local meet-up for church web teams to gather at a restaurant, break bread, and pass around ideas.

Podcasting Is Not Easy

A year of podcasting has taught me that it is not easy; at least if done correctly. Note that I took a cheaper route and simply use my iPhone to record my podcasts. However I then transfer it to my computer for post production work. If you are recording sermons, you may want to include certain “unplanned” aspects of your message. But for me, I want it to be clean and clear. Thus I take the time to edit the file in Audacity and remove places where I stumble over words or pause to clear my throat. Ultimately I realized that to put out a quality product, it took more time than I realized. So “thank you!” to all of you out there in podcast land that are cranking out great material.

Mobile Is Now

I did not write a lengthy six-part series on mobile because I was out of ideas and thought it would help me rank higher in search results. If you are not considering your mobile viewers then you are missing out on a growing part of your market. This is especially true if you have any international audiences. Often traditional computers are a rarity, and cheap smartphones are becoming the norm. So if you do not have an app for your church, or a good responsive website that displays well on mobile devices; start that effort now. If you are using a content management system such as WordPress, this may be as easy as installing a new theme. Hand coded sites and other platforms may need more extensive work. Yet do not let that stop you. The gap will only continue to grow as these devices become better, faster, and cheaper. Do not allow your church to get further behind.

Action Item

This week’s action item is simple. See where you can take what I learned over the past year and use it at your church. Thank you for reading. I look forward to another year of journeying through the world of user experience and church web strategy.

Note: Thanks to Meredith Gould for starting the #ChSocM Twitter chat

Photo courtesy of Maxime Perron Caissy

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.