When building your church site make it attractive. I don’t mean that it needs lots of graphics or fancy design but instead it needs interesting material. Think about the type of thing your reader wants to read rather than what you want to write. I wrote on this subject in more detail in church on the web which covers how to find the right kind of material. I’m writing about it again today to give it more emphasis.
Content is king in the church site. Without great content people won’t visit. If the content is static, they’ll visit once. If it’s interesting and varied then they’ll keep coming back to get more of the same. In practise this means that you need a content strategy. Now that might sound fancy and beyond your grasp but it’s really just a simple bit of paper where you write down what you’re going to do.
The easy way to approach producing a strategy is to start with a blank bit of paper. Write at the top of it the name of one of your menu buttons, for example HOME. This sheet of paper is where you’ll work out the content strategy for the Home page. next down the side of the page write the next four months of the year; January, February, March, April (obviously change this depending on where you are in the year!).
If your want your can write the church site name along the top and add a logo but that won’t help much!
Now you have the beginnings of a plan. Draw a line across the page to create series of boxes for each of the months. You should now have a grid pattern. This is what will form your strategy.
For each month write in what you’re going to put on the site on the page for the given button. Perhaps it’s valentines night or Easter. Whatever you have planned write it in. Next write in how long the piece is going to be – generally aim for between 300 and 500 words. Finally write in who is going to write the piece.
You now have a strategy for completing that menu item. Simply repeat this for all of the menu items. I’m sure that some of them will be fairly static pages. If that’s the case just leave the months blank, however I would advise that even when you can’t foresee a change it’s worthwhile writing in a review date just to ensure that the material is up to date.
If you want to you can also split the month into weeks or days depending on the frequency of update. It’s pretty obvious what needs to be done once you start.
Once you’ve completed you strategy you need to work out who is responsible for making it happen. That person should then monthly or weekly review progress against the plan and change things around as needed. If you follow this you’ll have no problem producing and keeping a website up to date and interesting for your visitors.
To help you out with the planning process I’ve put together a simple church site planning form. Nothing fancy but it should suffice when you’re building your menu driven strategy.
(click on the link above, PDF opens in a new window)