January 7, 2016 — The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson
It is time for every congregation to have a website as well as a Facebook page.
If you have a website, it is time for you to take a good look at it and evaluate if it is meeting your needs.
In 2014 I wrote this: How to Improve Your Website.
Take another look at this because it covers the basics:
Have a clear strategy of what you want to accomplish with your website
Design it for visitors
Keep it updated
Make sure it looks good and can be navigated on all mobile devices and all browsers. What looks good on your browser can be a mess on another one.
Another consideration to keep in mind for your website is security.
Hackers are looking to get into your site, not just for information but to use your server to hack into bigger sites.
The two most common reasons your site gets hacked is that you have a weak password and you have outdated software.
Did you know the most common password is “Password”?
By keeping your passwords strong and your software updated you can reduce most of your security risks.
Your website is your space on the internet.
It is your front door for visitors. But it can be even more. Websites can be powerful tools for ministry and can be the foundation that supports many of the communication needs of the parish. It can also be a tool to reach out with the Gospel beyond your doors and your own members
To get the most out of your website, it needs to be regularly updated and maintained. This is probably too much work for the pastor or even a volunteer in most cases. Do it yourself solutions are not only time consuming, but they look amateur to visitors who are used to seeing professional looking websites in other areas.
The time has come for congregations to budget for their web presence just as they budget to maintain their building.
In this day and age your web presence is just as, if not, in some cases, MORE important than your building.
So let this be the year that if you don’t have a congregational website, you start one.
If you have one, you assess how well it is accomplishing its goals and work on updating it and strategize how you can better utilize your site to enhance parish communications and further your mission.
If it’s too late to get this as a line item in your congregational budget, use this year to educate your congregation on why this is a good thing for your mission.
Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson
Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA
About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-HansonThe Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.
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