23 May 2010
Create a Church Website from Scratch Using Only Social Media
Today I discovered the new ELCA "LIFT Taskforce." LIFT stands for "Living into the Future Together: Renewing the Ecology of the ELCA." The taskforce's mandate is "to develop and recommend options for the future of the ELCA in light of its identity, changes in its environment and its call to God’s mission."
To my mind, they are already doing it.
The first thing I noticed about LIFT is that they have created a web "site" entirely through social media. Their main website is a Wordpress.com blog. They also have a Facebook Page and a Twitter Feed. That's it! Compared to the epic maze that is the ELCA website, the LIFT site is totally refreshing - clean, crisp, and concise.
LIFT is a great model for congregations that 1. don't already have a website, or 2. are looking to reboot or simplify their site, or 3. don't have the financial resources to spend on web hosting, software, or a professional web designer. It's also a good way for individuals to begin crafting a web presence.
This is a deceptively simple way to have a cutting edge site. Here's the trick:
Wordpress.com allows you to create static "pages" on your blog, which behave just like regular webpages. ·You can create any number of pages·(for example, on this site I have three pages: Me and My Church, My Sites, and Gutenberg to Zuckerberg)·and you can designate one as your "home page" - the page people see when they arrive at your blog.· Although Wordpress is a blogging platform, you don't have to use the blogging features at all, if you don't want to. ·However, I recommend that you use a combination of the two. ·More information at Wordpress on·Posts vs. Pages andcreating a Page.
Note: More pages does not equal a better site. ·Fewer better pages is the way to go.
- Easy Updating
The biggest hurdle for congregations when it comes to websites is not lack of money. ·It is poor design and outdated information. Using a blog as a website helps with both. ·Blogs are designed to be easy to update and they come with lots of good free design templates. ·Have fun finding the design that fits your congregation best.
- Facebook for Media and News
Facebook is the easiest ·way to post all your pictures, videos, and links. ·Post short updates about what's happening in your church or links to interesting stuff. ·Keep it light.·Don't announce your next Property committee meeting on Facebook! ·Assume that your main audience on Facebook is first-time visitors and "fans" of your church or project. It is a great way to get people interacting with your content and one another.
- Twitter for Updates
Most churches have at least one never-ending webpage filled with layers of endless and outdated updates. ·Put that page out of its misery and instead use Twitter as a quick and concise way to update people on news, information, upcoming events, and new blog posts. · It's one more way people can stay in touch. ·Most people aren't using Twitter yet, so be sure to put your Twitter feed on your blog·using a widget, which is how LIFT does it.
That's it. ·Three great free and easy tools that make for a deceptively simple, cutting edge web presence. ·Thanks to LIFT for pointing the way!