Presentation on theme: "Website and Email Lists for Your Church? Paul Tukey & George Drumbor Communication Assessment & Strategy Committee NJ Association of the UCC Oct 4, 2003."— Presentation transcript:
Website and Email Lists for Your Church? Paul Tukey & George Drumbor Communication Assessment & Strategy Committee NJ Association of the UCC Oct 4, 2003
Why Build a Website? Articulate the reasons well, at the outset Who will it serve? Target audiences? Members? – a communication medium Local community? Recruiting new members? Visitors from across cyberspace? Having target audiences in mind guides the choice of content!
Resources Required One person to lead the project With some technical knowledge Possibly a student, but plan for the future! Willing to explore, solve problems, commit time, make decisions, follow through A committee to help plan, design, implement Strong support from church & ministers Contribution of content by various groups A budget & a credit card But it’s not expensive! A computer with Internet access
Overall Steps - 1 Socialize the idea at church, get support Line up people to participate Seek ones with experience, expertise Consider target audiences Visit many websites to get ideas Esp. church websites in your various communities Line up your resources Plan your initial content Choose design criteria & a design Need a graphical designer? No, but…
Overall Steps - 2 Choose & register a domain name Choose a web hosting company (web server) Considerations, varying costs & trade-offs Some offer “soup-to-nuts” e.g. Web Medley at UCC Choose & acquire software “tools” for… Creating & editing webpages Manipulating simple graphical images Again there are many choices, costs, trade-offs
Overall Steps - 3 Learn… Your webpage editing & image editing tools How to upload pages & images to the webserver The rudiments of html & hyperlinks How to acquire graphical images How to download other’s webpages to study and even “borrow” from them
Overall Steps - 4 Deploy your initial website Get feedback Iterate (until everyone is satisfied) Get your website indexed by Google, etc Make plans for on-going maintenance and regular content updates Plan for the long haul! It’s harder to ensure longevity than to create the website initially!
Advance Planning Content Scope: which areas to cover, which to leave out Static vs. evolving content Design “Look and feel”, fonts, point sizes, colors, layout Number of pages, navigation among them Good design criteria Need a graphical designer? Target audience(s) How to balance needs of multiple audiences Experiment! Try out possibilities, get feedback from church
Some Pitfalls Stale content Burnout – if one person does it all People promising to help but not showing up Loss of interest It’s more fun to create it than to maintain it Student web helpers They graduate and leave, all too soon Lack of access to your webserver If the initial webmaster leaves the picture Stale content
Pitfalls (cont’d) Poor design Inconsistency, excessive glitz, confusing navigation,… Being too ambitious Creating more content than anyone is willing to maintain Creating a design that makes content posting hard Technical glitches that can take your website offline and require troubleshooting or technical support Conflicting advice from various experts in the church Time sink (or $$$ sink) Buying expensive software that no one uses
Other Considerations Be careful about posting: Pictures of kids Home phone numbers Email addresses Copyright (yours, others) Internal search engine Searchability by Google, etc Password-protected pages for members Printability of web pages How your website fits in with your church’s other communication media (e.g. post newsletters as pdf files?)
Emailing Lists Very powerful & quick communication Much faster and cheaper than US Mail Very useful for committees & boards Useful for “whole congregation” only if A large fraction have email You can get them to sign up You ensure the others aren’t left out
Emailing Lists – Some Issues Protection from spam, viruses List-serve vs. centrally managed Keeping track of changing email addresses Requires constant attention More technical than making a simple website Can be linked to website in useful ways
Possibilities for today Websites to visit, walk thru, critique: www.ChristChurchSummit.org Other church websites in Summit Other NJA church websites NJA > CAC > UCC George’s favorites
Possibilities - 2 Build a simple “church” website from scratch Show image capture/edit/deployment Edit raw HTML WYSIWYG editing with MS Word, FrontPage, etc Use FileZilla for ftp (publishing to server)