For many organizations, maintaining a website is hard work. It takes a conscious effort to be a disciplined webmaster when you are thinking in the back of your mind, "is anyone really reading this?" Meanwhile, those looking for the services your organization offers are desperately searching the web trying to find you. When they do, they WILL read what you've written, listen to what you've broadcasted, and browse through the photos you've published.
Sadly, most website visitors find little to hold on to. All too often, websites remain outdated and empty, even with simple management tools like our CMS. Your website visitors come and go without ever understanding that they encountered something truly great simply because the story was never finished and the picture was left incomplete.
So, what can you do today to grow your website and develop consistency in its maintenance? Here are three steps you can take right now to dramatically improve your website efforts.
Step #1: Make Your Website Important
When people within your organization tell you that they have not visited your church, ministry, or business website in a long time, it's a consequence of not making your website more critical to your daily operations. Find ways to use your website as a reference for everything from event details to organizational progress. Publish pages on your website for members, staff, and leaders. Instead of sending huge attachments by e-mail, store the files on your website and encourage people to go there to download them. Publish your weekly sermon notes, press releases, and company announcements. There are many ways to make your website more critical, which will integrate the maintenance of it more tightly into your operations.
Step #2: Make Your Homepage a Magazine Cover
Instead of creating a welcome message on your homepage that stays there for a year without changing, see your homepage as your opportunity to publish the latest, greatest, and newest information about your ministry or business. Every month is an opportunity to say or push something new. Plan out what areas of the page can be updated on a regular basis, and use those areas to publish teasers to other pages. Even if nothing else changes on your website, your homepage can serve as a place to direct your regular visitors to information they may have skipped.
Step #3: Establish a Publishing Schedule
The best tip we can give is to put everything on a schedule. How often should the calendar be updated? Should Monday be the day to publish the sermon notes from Sunday? Should you send out an e-mail newsletter every month or every two weeks? If so, when should the article for the e-mail newsletter be written and edited by? Putting every piece of the website on its own timeline will help to keep you moving. Once you have a schedule, integrate it into your operational schedule and execute on it. If your website visitors see consistency, they will begin visiting the website with the same consistency.
Calendar & Event Registration Upgrade Tuesday, January 18
This year, we've introduced a number of upgrades to our system. Many of those upgrades have introduced new tools that have made life easier for our clients, like the Media Manager and Billboard Manager. On Tuesday, January 18, we will be releasing a performance upgrade for our online calendar and event registration system. But, unlike the recent ones, this upgrade will only make the current system faster and more reliable. There will not be any visible difference and no additions to your website or control panel...yet.
This is the first in a series of upgrades we will be doing in preparation for the next round of new applications that we know you will be thrilled with. If you experience any problems with your calendar or event registration system, please let us know immediately so that we can address any issues resulting from the upgrade. Although we thoroughly test our upgrades before releasing them, we understand that every combination of clicks cannot be predicted.
Special Services - Special Prices!
With the launch of our applications, there are also a number of great services you can now take advantage of.
Self-Serve Flash Billboards
You can now order and manage Flash Billboards through our new Billboard Manager for just $49. This option is great if you are willing to install your own Flash Billboard using the instructions provided in the support center. We still have the $149 full-service available for those who would just rather have us do the work.
Podcasting and Archived Media
Publishing your podcasts and archived media is easier and more flexible than ever with the new Media Manager. If you are not yet broadcasting audio or video from your website, we highly recommend adding the Media Server package to your account. Starting at $10 per month, the Media Server packages allow you to store and serve audio and video content to your website visitors. You can also optionally add our Inspyre Media Player for an additional $5 per month!
As always, if you have any questions about our products and services, call our resident Website Coach, Stacey at (813) 549-0444, or message her through the Messaging System under CMS Sales.