The Internet: A Communication Platform Distinguished from the Rest

There are countless ways for people to communicate with each other! However, despite the extensiveness of this theoretical list, it can be concluded that communicating with a website has the potential to be more effective than other communication methods. Using some hypothetical situations, lets take a look at some of the reasons we love websites; especially the connections they are able to make. 

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You Can Access a Website at any Time

Scenario: Jane is sitting at his computer. She just got done studying for a test she has the next day. It is 2 in the morning and few others are awake. she has recently been looking for a new Church to join and is particularly interested about getting involved in a youth group. Upon Googling local ministries, she stumbles upon your Church’s website and after liking what she sees, decides to visit your Church and joins a youth group soon after. 

This shows that you should not limit yourself with communication methods that are time dependent. Once a website is up, it stays up and people can visit it at any time of the day. You don’t want to have restricted hours for people to be able to find out information about your ministry.  

You can Access a Website from any Location

Scenario: The Johnson family is about to move to your community. They do not wait to arrive, however, before they start researching possible Churches they can be a part of. Your website does a better job than any other local Church reflecting what your ministry is all about. As a result, the Johnson's decide to visit your Church in-person. They enjoy their first service there and subsequently become members.  

You don’t want people to have to physically be at your Church to find out information about it. A geographic limitation could greatly hinder your ability to recruit new and potential members. With a website, individuals gain access to information about your ministry if they simply have internet. In short, they can gain this important information basically anywhere. 

Information can be Displayed and Organized Relevantly 

Scenario: Adam decides to go on your website. He is amazed at all of the things he can do on a website. On the site he can:

  • Make a donation
  • View a calendar that features 
  • View a list of staff contacts
  • Read the Church news letter
  • Read about all of the volunteer opportunities at the Church
  • Register for any other Church events
  • Reserve Church facilities

By utilizing all of these different features, Adam knows he can be the best Church member possible and deeply immerse himself in the ministry community. This will encourage him to remain in the ministry. A website is not strictly about getting new members, its also about retaining them.

This list could be a lot longer, but it covers a few of the things that can be done on a website. The wide array of benefits that can be gained by visiting a website prove that there is no better medium to use as a communications hub. It would be virtually impossible to incorporate such a wide breadth of materials on any other communication platform. All of the different web pages that a website has make it possible to have the information well organized. 

Websites can Incorporate Many Different forms of Media

Scenario: Carrie was just on her Church website. To start the visit, she listened to a podcast that was a part of the Church’s recent sermon series. Following this, she watched a video highlighting a mission trip taken by youth. Lastly, she reads a detailed description about a new pastor that is going to join the Church. 

A website can be very engaging! You do not have to limit your visitors to simply reading text. By using videos, podcasts, and other media, you can enhance your communications methods by drawing on the strengths of each form of media. They can be synthesized in a way that greatly connects with your ministry.

Your Church website can be very influential. Make sure you give it the care it needs so your can meet ministry goals through effective communication. Your website can take discipleship, community growth and ministry communication to the next level. 

 

 

Change your Perspective, then your Website

Ultimately, it is not necessary to completely change your communication habits in order to achieve online relevance. By simply optimizing what you already have, you can improve your website and communications online. Finding relevancy doesn't necessarily mean starting over. 

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Okay, lets look at this situation. For some of you it may be hypothetical, but for others, it may be exactly what you are experiencing. 

  • You have realized that your Church website needs to be improved. It may lack meaning for the people that visit, maybe it features content that does not reflect the current state of your ministry, or it might possibly fail to connect with the members of your congregation. 

  • You recognize that you need to fix the problem and that if you don't, the relevance of your ministry's online presence will hang in the balance.  

  • After this realization, you ponder the specific ways to improve, and ultimately optimize, your current website. From here you realize there are a couple options. Should you totally alter the way you do things? Or is it enough to simply make adjustments with what you are doing to achieve the relevance you want?

When you are assessing your website, don’t think about the major changes you have to make. Simply refocus the way you are looking at your website and how it is managed. In other words, attempt to switch your perspective. If you do this, the necessary action steps will be laid out clearly for you. 

Ministries simply need to view their websites as something that is ongoing and alive.   

As with anything that can be described with these two adjectives, a website requires constant attention. Failure to provide this attention can result in a website that greatly dwindles in effectiveness. A website cannot be viewed through a lens that makes it appear it can be placed online and then can be neglected for long periods of time without supervision. 

Think of your website as a tool. A great tool is a great start. You will, however, be unable to accomplish a task with the tool if you are incapable of using it correctly. With a website, you will only accomplish the task of communicating effectively if you use the website effectively. By committing to relevancy and an ongoing approach, your ministries can begin to use this tool effectively.   

In summary, your ministries shouldn't first worry about what action steps need to be taken regarding your website. First, change the way you think about your website. When your perspective changes, your actions will follow. Relevancy begins with your mindset; your perspective.


Successful Church Websites begin with Ownership

At one point in your life I’m sure you’ve heard some variation of this concept; own the moment. As an agency that exists to empower our clients, we want to tell you this. Your ministries should own the website. 

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When we say you should own your website, there are a few key ideas that we are hinting towards. These concepts are important in many facets of life, but also in the context of your ministry’s online communications success.

 


Responsibility: When it comes to a successful website, there needs to be an emphasis of responsibility on the website succeeding. Whether it is one individual or a team of 50, there needs to be someone responsible for the website.  Ownership begins when with identifying responsibility.  

Significance: Another way that a Ministry’s website can succeed is when those who take ownership see the significance of an effective website. When your team values the significance of a well designed, maintained and executed website, your online presence will drastically improve. Responsibility isn't enough, there needs to also be an understanding of the value; the significance. 

Focus on what you Have/Choose the Correct Tool: Now, these ideals may seem a bit contradicting, and in some ways they are. However, they are important to analyze together. When you focus on what you have, you will realize what you need. When you realize what you need, it’s important to choose the correct tool. In essence, both of these concepts focus on the idea of evaluation. In order to find success with your website, you must take ownership and evaluate accordingly. It’s a process; do your due diligence.

Set an example: The final piece of taking ownership of your website is setting an example. In each of the previous concepts, it’s important to note that somebody must set the tone; they must lead. A successful website begins with taking ownership. You must be the example; you must take ownership. Remember, even if you are not the decision maker, you have a voice. If you understand the responsibility, significance and evaluations that are necessary, you can help your Ministries succeed online.

Death by a Thousand Web Banners

As churches and ministries adapt to the trends and innovations of the design industry, there is still one major problem, the Internet is experiencing Death by a Thousand Web Banners. Now, the web banners are not the only issue here, this current trend and potentially devastating concept is mostly caused from lack of brand guidelines, qualified designers, and individuals not paying simple attention to detail. However, with education and a little perspective, we can develop the understanding necessary to protect the Internet, our designs, and the mission/vision of the ministries we’re supporting.

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Amidst an inspired generation of hipsters, creatives, and yes, geeks, the originality, imagination, and innovation of the – seemingly archaic termed – World Wide Web has all but taken a break throughout the past decade. With endless amounts of agencies, freelancers, and do it yourself opportunities, digital design is steamrolling its way through multiple fields, in multiple ways, and on multiple platforms. Whether you are a designer, creative director, head pastor, or volunteer in charge of graphic design, you’ve likely experienced much of this innovation, and – most likely – some web banner design error as well.

Increases in possibility and opportunity have also given way to the probability and likelihood of increased design error. In an ever-advancing digital society, our own innovations and ideas can – sometimes – hinder our endeavors. These errors or hindrances occur for many different reasons; most of which can be credited to us the creators and maintainers. Although it may be difficult to admit that we are the problem, this is a concept that we must identify, accept, and challenge.


Examples of deadly web banners

 

The Color Blinder: Banners that are colorblind fall into two categories:

1) The colors do not match the schematic theme of the incorporated website.

2) The banner was created in CMWK when it should have been created in RGB (CMWK is for print; RGB is for digital).

Fixing a Color Blinder is simple, choose colors to incorporate within the banner that are relevant to your brand and websites representation and approach; and make sure they are formatted in RGB.

 

 Pixely Problems: We’ve all seen an image that is just – simply – hard to see; it’s too pixely. When it comes to creating web banners we must be careful to use images that apply the correct pixel coordination to the size of the image.

A good rule of thumb is that Print images should be at 300 DPI (dots per inch) and Digital images should be at 72 DPI. It is important that you adjust your designs accordingly. 

Grandpa Glasses: If your banner is not legible, readable, or understandable, your audience will – most definitely – be confused; asking what is it? What’s it about? What’s the purpose?

Make sure that your web banner is created with a relevancy and readability. If your audience does not understand its concept, content, or focus, it’s – simply – worthless.

 

The Blushing Brand: Your banner may be a beautiful creation and representation of an event, series, or whatever, but if it’s not consistent with your brands image and guidelines, it will lose its effectiveness.

Make sure that your banner is not blushing too much and taking away or deviating from the original guidelines of your brand.

 

For Matt: Is your web banner “formatted” and optimized for the web? Without the proper formatting, you may as well be placing the banner in the trash instead of on the web.

Some things to consider include color, size, location, focus, etc…

 

WHY is more important than WHAT

As a business we are continuously balancing our corporate and spiritual perspectives. With more and more of our culture pursuing worldly tokens, we often remind ourselves that why we do what we do is truly our signature.

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Relevancy is Key: We believe it’s no longer okay to treat your website like a transactional product; it must become a part of your ministries daily, monthly and annually. As we enter this new age of relevancy, it’s important to understand that your website is alive, dynamic and in need of continuous care.

Websites are Tools: Your website is simply a tool, a vessel for communications possibilities; it’s not the end all be all. It’s important to realize that any tool is only as good as it’s craftsman. We want to help you think through not only what tool (website) you choose to build, but also how you will use it.

Everything starts with a Strategy: We believe that strategy is the foundation to succeeding in Ministry communications. A strategy consisting of prayer, relevant goals and complete team commitment will provide the groundwork needed to accomplish your communications objectives.

“We believe that Christ is King, relevancy is key, websites are tools and that a solid strategy is the foundation of communications success.”

As an agency we have realized that our beliefs are the foundation of what we do; they are our why. As we continue along this journey, may we always remember that why we do what we do is more important than simply what we do. Our signature is not the websites we build, it’s the ministries we have the opportunity to help build. It’s more than a product; it’s a belief, a passion and our mission!