Website Tips for Smaller Congregations, Part 1

This post and the next seven at CyberKen will cover website tips for congregations who lack the funds required to retain the services of a professional webmaster.  By in large these are smaller congregations.  The tips in these posts are clearly intended for faith communities, but small not-for-profits may find the advice useful for their purposes as well.

This post, Part 1, covers personnel issues related to establishing and maintaining an effective Web presence.  The remaining seven posts will cover the following topics:

Part 2:  The Importance of  a Speedy  Broadband Connection

Part 3:  Deciding What Your Congregation Wants to Do on the Web

Part 4:  Sketching the Structure for Your Congregation’s Website

Part 5:  Selecting Suitable Editing Tools for Your Congregation’s Website

Part 6:  Using Pictures, Videos, and Sound Files to Get Your Congregation’s Message Across

Part 7:  The Importance of Writing Well for the Web

Part 8:  Promoting Your Congregation’s Website

After the final post I will make available a downloadable .pdf file containing a condensed version of just the text of all eight posts (without hyperlinks).

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Part 1:  Personnel Issues Related to Establishing an Effective Web Presence for Your Congregation

 

3630587687_bb5051b8d3_o The chief challenges to acquiring and maintaining an effective Web presence for your congregation have to do with people, not technology.  Your most difficult tasks will be convincing your congregation that Web ministry is important, and then, selecting and training people to lead your congregation’s telecommunication efforts.  Here are some tips for the personnel aspects of the endeavor:

Elect or appoint a telecom team and inaugurate their work with a  brief ceremony recognizing the importance of their leadership to your congregation’s internet outreach.

A team of at least three persons is recommended, because the long-term maintenance of a website can be tedious, and teamwork will lighten the load and also provide backup in case of the illness or temporary absence of team members.

Cross-train the members of the team. Each member should be able to perform the duties of the others so that he/she can fill in temporarily if needed.

Trust your Telecom team to post timely material for the site without getting permission from higher up. The team members should fully understand and endorse the mission of your congregation, and possess the good judgment to discern what kinds of information will promote or hinder that mission.

Encourage the Telecom team members to keep learning about Web resources, so that they can take advantage of new and better tools. Much can be learned on the Web for free, so a continuing education budget is not absolutely necessary. However, your congregation will want Telecom team members who are willing to spend time learning new skills. Don’t overburden them with other congregational duties. Give them the liberty and prayerful support they need to maintain a high skill level.

Celebrate and give thanks for the Telecom team’s accomplishments. Inevitably the team will have to solve problems when things don’t go just right . They will likely have to respond to complaints. This is part of their job. But make sure that the feedback from your congregation occurs not just in those instances when problems arise. Celebrate successes!

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Thanks to Flickr member Aymane Remmal for this post’s graphic .

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