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    Best Practices! - Entries from September 2010

    Home - Blog - Best Practices! - Entries from September 2010
    MonMondaySepSeptember27th2010 What's the Cost of a Free Church Website?

    Is the cost of using a Church CMS to run your church website more or less expensive than a free alternative?

    Have you, individually or as a part of a team, put together a website for yourself, club, church, or business? If so, you know that there are several pieces to the website puzzle. Below are a few things that you either have encountered or you will encounter when setting up a website.
    • Getting a domain(s)
    • Deciding which alternative(s) to use
    • Developing a relationship with all of the new vendors
    • Hosting
    • DNS
    • Learning how to use your website
    • Launching the website
    • Maintaining the website

    Ok, now let's talk about the easy things that are here.

    1. Get a domain
      Getting a domain is fairly painless. We typically recommend using http://domainsmadeeasy.com/.

    Hmmm...that's about it. Now let's talk about the "not so easy" things.

    1. If you aren't going with a Church website CMS like ours, then who? Some think of using Joomla, Wordpress, or some other open CMS.
    2. You are going to have to get server space so that people can view your website. Where are you going to host it? There are probably a few hundred hosts out there and their fees range from $5 - $15 per month. How reliable are they? Do they hold the same values that you hold? Did you know that our cheapest plan starts at just $39 and that includes all of these great features and includes hosting?
    3. Do you even know what DNS is? Here is what Wikipedia says about Domain Name System. You have to know how to edit your DNS settings so that people can find your website, send you e-mail as well as protect against spam!
    4. Do you have a plan on knowing how to use your new ministry tool? What about a plan for your staff? We provide you with a support website that has videos and written documentation as well as a way for you to submit your question(s) so that you can get it answered.

    We can admit that using something like Joomla is a nice alternative.

    Unless of course you don't have someone in your church body that:
    • Is tech savy.
    • You know isn't going to pick up and leave, either because of a job change or a disagreement with church leadership.
    • Is single and sits at home all hours of the day and night just waiting for your input on how you would like your website to look and work. Yeah..because that is realistic/sustainable/healthy. :-)

    We can also admit that WordPress is another nice alternative that can be of good use.

    However, what if you wanted to do more than just have a site that is a blog or maybe a few other pages about your ministry? What if you wanted to:
    Some of the things that we are mentioning here can be found and implemented with both of Joomla and WordPress...but that's just it...you have to find them and then you have to "bolt them onto" your website. With iMinistries, all of these things are all built in ready for you to activate and use.

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    MonMondaySepSeptember20th2010 19 Twitter Icons

    Since we have been talking about Twitter, we thought that this article from One Extra Pixel might be helpful. In it, they provide 55 Twitter Buttons & Icon Sets. We paired it down to a more manageable 19 sets.


    404creative
    404creative

    Graphic Leftovers Buttons
    Graphic Leftovers Buttons

    Graphic Leftovers Grunge Badge
    Graphic Leftovers Grunge Badge

    Janko At Warp Speed
    Jankoat Warp Speed

    Kurumizawa
    Kurumizawa

    Marchari
    Marchari

    Matthamm
    Matthamm

    Pasqualedsilva
    Pasqualedsilva

    Pixey
    Pixey

    Poeticpixel
    Poeticpixel

    Productive Dream Vector Twitter
    Productive Dream Vector Twitter

    Productive Dreams Twitter Bird
    Productive Dreams Twitter Bird

    Smashing Freebies
    Smashing Freebies

    Splashnology
    Splashnology

    Stock Graphic Designs
    Stock Graphic Designs

    Web Design
    Web Design

    weFunction
    weFunction

    weFunction 2
    weFunction

    Wurstgott
    Wurstgott

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    FriFridaySepSeptember17th2010 The Tower of Salvation
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Portfolio 0 comments Add comment

    Can your church website morph with a click of a button?

    I don't mean you have your existing church website one day, and then you build another one. I mean you keep your existing website, select a new design template and hit save. Everything that you have including your menu, news, events, blogs, etc. all get wrapped inside of that new skin!

    So many of our customers are beginning to really appreciate the value of being able to change their church websites look and feel by changing their skin.

    Before

    After

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    ThuThursdaySepSeptember16th2010 Harvest Bible Chapel - Turks & Caicos
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Portfolio 0 comments Add comment

    After several years of using a free skin, Harvest Turks & Caicos took the plunge to update their look and feel!

    Many have been faithfully serving the church in this beautiful setting for several years now. We are excited to debut their amazing oceanside landscape through their website.

    Like so many of our customers, the team at Harvest TCI really appreciate the tools that they have at their disposal to maintain their church website, but were ready for it to look a bit better. After seeing the photos they wanted featured in their rotating header, we quickly volunteered to make the trip down for a personal training session for all their staff.

    What do you think? Respond below.

    Before


    After


    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    WedWednesdaySepSeptember15th2010 Harvest Bible Chapel - Fresno
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Portfolio 0 comments Add comment
    If you are looking for a great Bible-believing church in the Fresno, California area, then your search is officially over. Formerly known as Sunriver Community Church, Senior Pastor Ben Dosti leads the charge for Harvest Bible Chapel Fresno.

    We are thankful for the additional ministry and partnership that Harvest Fresno provides, and we think their website turned out pretty well. We modified the Harvest Skin by adding a breathtaking scenic shot of the California mountains. What a great way to celebrate the majesty of our Creator God, and display the beauty of the region simultaneously!

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    MonMondaySepSeptember13th2010 Twitter and Your Ministry
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    In our last blog entry, we wrote the 5 Reasons Your Ministry Should Be on Twitter. If you've determined that you want to join the rapidly growing micro-blogging and social networking website, you'll want to develop a strategy, create your account, and embed your tweets on your ministry website.

    Develop Your Twitter Strategy

    Before you start posting tweets, you need to determine what you will post. Your ultimate goals for Twitter should be
    1. Embedding links to your website and getting people to click them
    2. Adding followers
    So you'll need to develop a strategy for accomplishing these goals. Here is what your weekly strategy might look like:
    • Monday: tweet a link to your latest sermon podcast
    • Wednesday: tweet a preview and link to your blog post or a Bible verse of the week
    • Thursday or Friday: retweet from your favorite pastor, thinker, or follower; tweet about an upcoming event or news item and link to your website
    • Saturday: tweet an invitation to join your Sunday services and provide your sermon series title
    You may not feel the need to tweet this often, but this gives you an idea of how a strategy built upon the days of the week can remove the "What to tweet" guessing game.

    Tips for tweeting:
    • Links, links, links: the most important part of any tweet is a link to other content--news, events, blogs, sermons, pictures--and the text of the tweet should "sell" this content
    • Retweeting is a great way for other Twitter users to notice you and possibly convert into followers. People love it when you repeat what they have to say. Having your posts retweeted by others means you've succeeded.
    • Word count: Each tweet is limited to 140 characters, so each word is important. Don't waste them.
    • URL Compression: URLs can be long and nasty. Use Tiny URL to compress them to only a few characters. Just paste in your long one, and it'll make it shorter.

    Create Your Twitter Account

    Creating your account on Twitter is as simple as coming up with a username (one that's easy to remember and makes sense for your ministry) and adding some followers.
    1. Go to Twitter.com and click on the Let me in button.
    2. Fill in your account information, including your username. Create.
    3. Click through the three steps to add people to follow.
    4. After your account is created, edit your picture and profile by clicking Profile on the home page.
    5. Add a thumbnail (your ministry logo), your location, bio, and your ministry website.
    6. Click Design and edit your background. You can even upload a custom background.
    Now you're ready to post your first tweet.

    Add Your Twitter Feed to Your iMinistries Website

    A good way to let your website visitors know they can follow you on Twitter is to embed your feed on your ministry website. This is also an effective way to build in advertisement for content on your website into your homepage. How to embed your feed as an ad on your website.

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    MORE RESOURCES FOR TWITTER

    Twitter 101 - Twitter.com
    Twitter for Ministry Strategy 101 - ChurchCrunch.com
    Twitter for Churches - ebook and blog
    The Reason Your Church Must NOT Twitter - ChurchCrunch.com
    Twitter for Ministry and Church – A Business Perspective - ChurchCrunch.com
    Why I Love Twitter - Tim O'Reilly