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    Best Practices! - Entries from November 2009

    Home - Blog - Best Practices! - Entries from November 2009
    MonMondayNovNovember23rd2009 Better Web Writing, Part 1: Finding Your Voice

    Writing Compelling Content for Your Church Website.

    Visitors will come to your church website because of flashy imagery, but they'll keep coming back for fresh, well written content. Writing for the Web is different than writing for other mediums. Web visitors have shorter attention spans than any other medium, so it is important to know how to write to keep their attention as long as possible and keep them coming back for more.

    Over the next several blogs, we will give you tips for improving your Web writing. The first step to becoming a better Web writer is finding and developing your writing "voice." We've used the analogy in a previous blog entry that your church website is like a conversation. Your voice, like your speaking voice, is the tone projected by the words you use and how you use them.

    Here are three keys to developing your voice:


    Know your audience.


    Before you begin crafting the words directed toward your website users, it is important to understand their expectations and wants so you can meet them.

    Your ministry visitors want to feel in touch with your pastor and want to sense being cared for by staff members from the minute they walk in the door. They want to interact with you and not feel like a number sitting alone in a pew. You want them to feel at home, too, so when you greet these visitors to your ministry, you smile, welcome them, and give them your undivided attention. Your writing voice should do exactly the same thing.


    Be friendly.


    Your tone has the power to invite people in or turn people away. Use informal language. Say "we" and "you" instead of "our congregation" or "ministry leaders" to make yourself more relatable. Use your page as a handshake and your text as a "welcome."

    Example of friendly voice:

    If you are interested in becoming a member of Calvary Baptist, we invite you to attend Meet the Pastors.

    Meet the Pastors is a great first step towards becoming involved at Calvary. If you are investigating or have recently decided to make Calvary your church home, then we welcome you to join us at Meet the Pastors.

    Please register for Meet the Pastors today. We would love to see you there!


    Be firm and use active voice.


    Use active voice when writing news articles or blogs to energize the content and involve the reader. Use strong commands when writing ad content to promote action. Use the present tense and confident words to give your text authority.

    Example of firm, active voice using present tense:
    Join us at one of our two Sunday services. We meet at 9:30 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. each week. We invite you to engage in Christ-centered worship and an application-filled study of God’s Word with us.

    Visit our "What To Expect" page to find out more about our services and our beliefs. If you have a question or comment, fill out a Contact Us form.


    SOURCES FOR THIS BLOG/FURTHER READING ON WRITING FOR THE WEB


    The 10 Commandments of Internet Writing: Web Pro News

    SatSaturdayNovNovember21st2009 Harvest Bible Chapel - Kansas City
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Portfolio 0 comments Add comment
    The new Harvest church plant in Kansas City went the way of the plants in Austin, Durham, and Calgary and customized the Harvest skin to their ministry.

    Pastor Jeff Terrell chose a bright blue for his background and a Bible for his header and his blog is up and running.


    MonMondayNovNovember9th2009 Harvest Bible Chapel - Durham
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Portfolio 0 comments Add comment

    Like Harvest's church plant in Austin, Texas, the new Harvest plant in Durham, Canada chose to customize the skin Baron3 created for founding Harvest on their church website. Pastor Ian Hales picked an open Bible and the image of wheat for his header and a rich blue for his background color.

    Hales has embedded a Twitter feed on his site, links visitors to his Facebook page, and, using our Widget feature, has embedded his latest blog entries on to his homepage.



    MonMondayNovNovember9th2009 Improving Search Results, Chapter 3: Directories and Social Media
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    Make Your Ministry Website More Visible By Using Directories and Social Media Websites.

    Now that you have conquered Google by increasing your PageRank, and other search engines by adding Meta Tags, you can still improve your search engine results. By adding your site to directories and social sites, you can improve your church website’s credibility which will move your site up the chain of search results.

    Improving Search Ranking

    Directories

    Directories are man-made lists of websites. Each site that is added to a directory is evaluated and deemed one of high quality. So being added to one or more of these directories is seen by search engines as a thumbs up from peers, which influences the order in which they list sites in query results.

    Three directories you should add your site to:
    • DMOZ
    • Yahoo Directory
    • ZoomInfo
    DMOZ
    A volunteer-run directory hosted by Mozilla, only sites with quality content will get listed here. New sites are less likely, and since it is managed by volunteers, it can take time to get added. DMOZ is the largest human-edited directory of the Web, so if you aren't listed here, search engines will be given a reason not to list your site at the top of results. Add your site to DMOZ.

    Yahoo Directory

    Yahoo's Directory unfortunately is not free, it costs you $299 per year. But its size and name recognition might make it worth your while if you care deeply about improving your search results. Add your site to Yahoo Directory.

    ZoomInfo

    This directory and search engine is geared more toward businesses, but allows you to create an informative profile. You can add a searchable profile for your ministry and link to your website. ZoomInfo has profiles on more than 37 million people and 3.5 million companies, so it can be valuable to have on your site's "resume." Create a profile on ZoomInfo.

    Social Networking and Media Sites

    These sites can be used to drive more traffic to your website. More traffic means more respect from search engines and a better search ranking.

    Three social networking and media sites you should add your site (and its content) to:
    • Facebook
    • Del.icio.us
    • Digg
    Facebook
    We all know that Facebook is great for keeping in touch with old friends from the past, but it can also help you increase your Web traffic and boost your search engine results. You can create a free group and allow people to become a "fan" of your ministry. You can also link to your website and post news and event updates (which you can link to news and events on your site) to drive more visitors to your site. We thought that we should take our own advice and recently created a group. If you are an existing client or are thinking about becoming one, why not join the iMinistries Facebook Group?

    Del.icio.us
    If you create compelling content on your site, your users will share it with others on this web-based bookmarking site (learn more about Del.icio.us here). The best avenue for creating the kind of constantly changing content people share is in our blog feature. Here you can discuss your weekly sermons more in-depth, and allow your visitors to add comments. You can share your insights on relevant topics or events. If you haven't started a blog, visit this help file to find out how you can do so today.  

    Digg
    Digg is a site that allows you or your visitors to submit and rate articles. Each article can receive diggs, or votes, from Digg.com users. More diggs means articles move closer and closer to the Digg homepage or its topic homepages. If you or visitors to your site submit articles and they are compelling enough to become popular, this could mean increased traffic to your site--and we now know that high-traffic sites get listed higher on search results. To submit articles, you must first create a free account.

    Sources For This Blog and Further Reading on Directories and Social Media

    Man Still Better Than Machine for Some Things - HubSpot
    TueTuesdayNovNovember3rd2009 Harvest Bible Chapel - Austin
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Portfolio 0 comments Add comment
    While Harvest's church plant in Austin, Texas prepares for its launch in fall 2010, its website is already up and running.

    Customizing the skin iMinistries created for founding Harvest, Pastor Bryan Payne chose to display Austin's city skyline in his header and the local university's burnt orange for his website's background.

    Payne has found it easy to utilize our Content Management System and has already posted several videos and regularly adds new entries in his blog to keep future church updated.