This blog post is about making the most out of other websites. If you want to have a successful digital media strategy, there are a few other websites you could be using alongside your own website and social media channels which will improve your website, make your church look more professional, save you time and give you more content to be sharing on social media.
Here are just a few of the main ones to be looking out for. They all offer free accounts with added extras at a cost. I’m just giving you a very basic overview on them all. If you want me to explain any of them in more detail or have any questions about any of them, do let me know in the comments.
Have you thought about recording the sermon each week? With Soundcloud you can upload audio files and then anyone can listen or download them to listen to later. You can even embed audio players (add to your website) so they can be found easily in one place without having to leave your site. This is a great service to offer, especially to those who can’t make it to church one week or want to know what your church is like.
It’s also a great way of directing traffic back to your website from social media.
You may also want to go one step further and offer other audio files. Maybe you could get people from your congregation to talk about how they came to faith, what they love about your church, their favourite thing about being a Christian. Extras like these don’t take up much time and can be easily recorded on smart phones.
Do you put together a weekly or monthly parish magazine? How do people read it online? Through Issuu you can upload a PDF of each issue which can then be read online like a magazine. You can also embed the magazine viewer on your website. It’s easy to use and because the layout matches how a magazine is read, it’s a much more professional looking way to share your magazine.
If you have regular concerts or events at church which need to be ticketed, consider using Eventbrite. Everything you need to ticket an event is available to you: people can book tickets and pay for them all in one place, and you can manage the guest lists, send out messages to all attendees and customise your event page with information (such as a map) and more. Because it does all the work for you, it should leave you more time in your day. (NB Paid ticketing does cost extra but non-profits can apply for lower rates.)
This site is perfect for sending out regular email newsletters. Mailchimp includes plenty of tools to design the newsletter that best fits what kind of an organisation you are, analytics to see how many people have viewed it and settings to schedule your newsletter. The site also gives you the option to let people subscribe themselves to it, meaning you can add a box to your website and grow your newsletter reach through people wanting to learn more about what you do. If you’re not sending out an email newsletter – this site will make you want to!
Apart from www.achurchnearyou.com, Google maps is probably the main way people locate your church. Millions of people use the site so make sure your details are all correct. Is the little pin highlighting your church sitting in the wrong place? You can fix this yourself using Google Mapmaker.
When you click on your church map pin, what details come up in the box on the left? Right at the bottom of the box are the options: “Suggest an edit” and “Are you the business owner?” Through these you can correct and update any details about your church. Fill it in with as much information as possible.
If This, Then That
This website This website lets you create ‘recipes’ so that when one thing happens online or on your phone, something else happens automatically. This is especially useful for things like posting Instagram images to Twitter. Currently, Twitter only posts a link to the image, but through this website you can set up a ‘recipe’ which will automatically post any image to Twitter which you have uploaded to Instagram. Another useful ‘recipe’ emails you a copy of any photo you take on your phone. There are many more recipes like this which will save you time and make life a little easier.