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Ten Quick Things To Improve A Church Website (via Communicate Jesus)

Communicate Jesus features ten website hacks.
One of them is maximising responsiveness on mobile devices.
I think websites need to have mobile, tablet and handheld devices in view as the primary methods by which their content will be accessed.

Review mobile responsiveness
As more and more people access websites from their phones and tablets, the need for a great mobile experience continues to increase. So how does your church website appear when it’s opened on a mobile phone? Or an iPad?

Read the whole post here.


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More Effective Church Website Features For Newcomers

Sooner or later someone’s going to realise that I still haven’t put a picture or bio of myself and my colleague on the ‘staff’ page of mgpc’s website.
Following on from this earlier post, here are more suggestions for the inevitable redesign.
Welcoming Guests with Effective Church Website Practices from Launch Clarity.
I like the suggestions here about worship imagery, high quality photos taken during services to give people a better idea of what to expect and wear; and also some sort of personal welcome on the site.


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Twenty Ways Your Church Website Can Serve Unchurched People (via Communicating Jesus)

A helpful post from Communicate Jesus.
Plenty of ideas (and examples) about refinements and changes for a church website to help visitors understand what we’re about and what we do. There’s a few things I really need to attend to on the website.
20 Ways Your Church Website Can Serve Unchurched People at Communicating Jesus.


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Church Website Essentials

I try to keep the mgpc website fresh by visiting other websites and stealing borrowing and tweaking features I like.
Over time websites have become more streamlined and now assume that people know how to use them.
Trevin Wax and Mikey Lynch offer some observations:
Wax provides five ‘essentials’ for church websites. (and I know our ‘Staff’ page is empty.)

1. A clear, easy to find “Statement of Beliefs”
In our pluralistic society, people will be accessing your church’s site from every imaginable background. Whether they are well versed in doctrine or confused beyond description, they should know what your church believes. It might be best to have a simplified statement of faith (for unbelievers) as well as a link to a more robust statement of faith (for long-time Christians). You want to communicate what you believe in such a way that the gospel is clear and not obscured.

2. Basic boring information

  • Contact: Make it easy for people to know how to contact you. I suggest having the church’s address, phone number, and generic e-mail in the footer of every page. That way it’s easy for visitors to figure out quickly how to get in touch with someone.
  • Schedule: Let people know when and where you meet. Give them an entry point. I wouldn’t put every single church activity, program, or event on there. It’s best to keep it simple. (Just make sure you keep the schedule up-to-date.)
  • Directions: Use Google to make it easy for someone to figure out where you are located. Most people won’t recognize where in the world your street address is until they copy/paste it into a maps feature online. Why not do this for them anyway?

3. Staff and leadership page
Before people get interested in the specifics of the programs offered by your church, they will be interested to see who is leading. I’ve seen some churches that list all their staff on one page, with their titles and an e-mail address to contact. A long list of names is not the best way to introduce people to your leadership, especially in a Facebook society where we are used to information and pictures. Instead, provide a picture of the staff member, a brief bio, and his or her role at the church. This will go a long way in helping people get a feel for your church.

4. Podcasts and/or sermon videos
Anyone seriously considering your church will be helped in the decision-making process by providing opportunities to hear the weekly teaching. Because of the sometimes extensive differences in church teaching styles and content presentation, it is helpful to make these available online to anyone researching your church. A number of churches use a video welcome from the pastor. That’s okay, but a simple welcome will not reveal as much as full-length sermons.

5. Social media buttons
A website is only part of communicating your church’s presence to your online community. With nearly a billion people worldwide on Facebook and 250M on Twitter, these tools ought not be overlooked. Decide how you will make announcements, share devotionals and Scripture verses, and then use them wisely.
If your pastors like to blog, link to their blogs from their individual staff pages. This is true even for—maybe especially for—children and student pastors. Many parents want to “get a feel” for the leaders to whom they will entrust their children. The more they know about a leader, the more confident they may be about that ministry.

Lynch tells us to ditch our Contact Form pages. I am strongly considering this.

If the only way I can contact you on your church website is a web
contact form, I won’t contact you.

  • I worry that I will spend time typing out the message and then I will get an error message and it won’t send.
  • I worry that no one regularly checks and replies to these messages.
  • I hate having to fill out all your fields.
  • I worry that the person who does check and reply to these messages won’t really help me and will not forward my message on to the relevant person.
  • I worry about getting auto-subscribed to the church’s newsletter.
  • I rarely get given the opportunity to send a copy of this message to my email account – so I have no record of the message being sent.

Just don’t do it. Give me a phone number. And give me an email
address. Your web contact form sux.


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Redesigned Presbyterian Church of South Australia Website

A redesigned website has been published for the Presbyterian Church of South Australia.
In the absence of anyone else, I take care of this.
wysiwyg web builder is a useful tool, and basically I emulate design and features that I like as I browse around.
The old design was dated and dark, so this time around a more open and brighter design features.
Given our size and structure it is more of a static reference site which simplifies matters.
Browse around it and tell me if there are any bugs.
And yeah, I want to add some images of people to the mosaic image of buildings on the front page.


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The Sola Panel Is On The Move

Though it has been fairly inactive of late, The Sola Panel has been a worthwhile site to read as a window into the range of thought which is Sydney evangelicalism (Matthias Media style).
Tony Payne has posted about a change to the Sola Panel that will take effect from Thursday, 1st September.

On that day, the new online home of The Briefing will go live. The Briefing is published by Matthias Media, the hosters and sponsors of the Sola Panel, and we are praying that the new Briefing site will turn out to be a really significant hub for Reformed-evangelical thought and discussion. We thought that the logical thing to do was to take the Sola Panel blog across to that new site. So as of next Thursday, we’ll be closing down ‘solapanel.org’ and redirecting all traffic to matthiasmedia.com/briefing.
We’re also going to change the format of the Sola Panel slightly. As of next Thursday, there will be six regular panellists: four from Aus (me, Sandy Grant, Lionel Windsor and Jean Williams), one from the US (Marty Sweeney), and one from the UK (Richard Perkins). We’ll each have our own ‘page’ or blog, on which we’ll pop things up at a pretty regular clip. We’ll interact with each other’s posts and with reader’s comments as we do now.
Other current Sola Panellists (like Mark Baddeley, Scott Newling, Gordon Cheng, Peter Bolt, etc.) will continue to contribute in the main Briefing content panel, as they are able.
So to our many readers, this is not the end, but a re-location! We still love the five ‘solas’ of the Reformation, and we still want to promote a Bible-driven passion for theology, holiness and gospel ministry. Please come and visit us at our new home: matthiasmedia.com/briefing.

All the best to Matthias Media on their relaunch of The Briefing and The Sola Panel.


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Redesigned Mount Gambier Presbyterian Website

Friends, Mount Gambierites and Presbyterians lend me your browsers.
I gave the Mount Gambier Presbyterian Church website a facelift, wanting something simple (natch), open and clean, timeless, uncluttered and user-friendly.
If you want to direct your browsers over there and tell me what you think I’d appreciate it.
There’s nothing too startling to see, I’ve brought content over from the old site, updated some horrendously out of date information, designed an easier site to maintain, and set up at least one new page, along with an icon link to our Facebook page.
The front page will probably get a few better photos sooner rather than later, and I’ll sort out a copyright message that keeps turning up in the wrong places and why the font size on the copyright message and top line don’t seem to adjust to different screen resolutions.
Oh well.