Legacy Church in Tucson is starting services on December 6th. It’s the first time I have been involved in a church plant, but it is exciting. Since my area of expertise is the web stuff, I am building the web site for the church and will also be posting the sermons online and producing the videos announcements, etc. The site is still a work in progress as I write this, but you can take an early sneak peak at www.thelegacychurchonline.com.
If you are looking for a group of people who love Jesus and each other and who are committed to planting more churches, then we hope to see you the morning of December 6th at the corner of Sabino Canyon and Tanque Verde. The church is so new, I’m not even sure what time yet! Send me a note via the “Contact Us” tab and I will make sure you know when I do.
Remember the slogan of the Yellow Pages? “Let Your Fingers do the Walking.” While the Yellow Pages still have a place on counter tops and on the bottom shelf under the coffee table, more and more people are letting their mouse do the clicking.
Think of your web address as your “property” online. What you build on it becomes your store front. Many small businesses and churches have web sites that they have designed themselves, or by someone who knows a little bit about web design has developed it for them for free. For some businesses and churches this works just fine. For many others they are hoping to do better but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend.
One reason why a good church site is important is that when people move to a new place the first place many start church shopping is online. If they find a nice looking site that is easy to navigate and has a lot to say about the church, it’s already a good first impression. If not, they may never come through the front doors.
Same with a business. It’s very important to have a site that looks good and is functional. Otherwise potential clients will surf, and then drive, to the competition.
In addition to having a professional site that looks good with easy to find information, a web site can also include a blog. A Blog Site! This is particularly important for a church. A pastor can write about; what God is showing Him, church news, how excited he is that 6 people got baptized last Sunday, etc. People can also comment on posts, and a conversation can take place right on the site. New visitors get a feeling for what’s on the Pastor’s heart. Current congregates feel more plugged in to the church.
For a small business, the blog can be a place to offer helpful hints on how to use a product, or ask for comments.
It’s also part of using the new media to market online. There is a big rush to combine Twitter, Facebook and Blogs to build an audience.
Ultimately, it’s all about building relationships. If you have a web site that has compelling content and a way for visitors to participate, then it will help build relationships. Through those relationships a church can speak (and demonstrate) God’s Love. A business can cultivate relationships and increase sales.
Moving is tough. You leave your friends behind, you have to carry and unpack all those boxes, and then it’s time to get plugged in to a new church. In this age of new media, most often the first place someone will look when trying to find a new church is online. It’s often been said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Your web site is making that first impression right now.
Dan Levin with ChurchSolutions.com writes:
It’s essential that your site offers at least some of the following features: a blog, social media links, surveys, forms, events and e-mail marketing. Together, these components help you not only reach clients but also involve them in your business’s future. Customers — if given the opportunity — will gladly contribute to your development and ultimate success. That’s why we’ve found having a Web site that we can control so vital to our business success.
Levin goes on to describe three common options that churches should consider when taking control of their site:
• Option 1: Develop an in-house Web design and programming department. Keep in mind that quality designers and programmers are very expensive to retain, and for a really strong Web presence, you’ll need a designer, a PHP and MYSQL programmer, and a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. This is the most difficult and expensive option, and it’s probably best left to large organizations.
• Option 2: Outsource your Web design and programming to an external firm. A good one will cost quite a bit of money up-front, and all future modifications will be tied to its team. You can also have the firm create the site in a program such as Dreamweaver. Then you can purchase the program’s sister software; in the case of Dreamweaver, that would be “Contribute,” which costs roughly $150 and is designed to allow you to make minor updates and exercise some control over the site’s operation yourself. However, the learning curve is steep, and you will need to learn at least basic Web coding in HTML and FTP. This option is less expensive than the first, but it still involves significant ongoing costs in terms of programmer time and expertise.
• Option 3: Use a content-management solution. Such vendors charge a much lower initial design fee and provide the site’s basic “skin,” or the overall look and feel. From there, you take complete control of your site through a user-friendly content-management system and control panel. This option allows you to begin with a very inexpensive version and add as you grow, implementing modules along the way such as e-commerce, billing, employee intranet, podcasts, forums, photo albums, proposals and an array of other features. For many organizations, the low cost and high flexibility of this option makes it the most attractive.
AgapeMedia.net specializes in Option 3. If you are looking for a good looking site that you can manage yourself that won’t cost thousands of dollars then contact us and we can get you up and running in no time.
Soon you’ll be making a good first impression that will lead to a lasting impression. That can lead to people being saved and encouraged in Christ! and that is what it’s all about!