In my last post, I discussed how a ministry can use a simple blogging site, such as WordPress, to create a nice web presence for little cost and with little technical knowledge. From here, the ministry can then focus on adding content. Of course, being a blogging site, the first thing to be focused on would be adding blog posts. I can’t stress enough how important it is to develop a regular plan for posting to a blog. At a bare minimum, the blog posts should come at least once a week, with information about that upcoming week’s events and teaching. Each post can be categorized as well, meaning that readers can quickly click on a category such as “sermon notes” to get a listing of all the sermon notes posted to the blog.
Besides blog posts, the site should also include some static text, including information about the mission of the organization, the staff, contact info, hours/services, and directions. Depending upon the “theme” of the site chosen, links to these static pages will appear at the top or side of the main web page. Examples of this can be found on this blog, with links to static pages appearing at the top (example: My Research). With a tool such as WordPress, creating a blog post or static page is a click away – no technical knowledge needed. Again, the advantage here is that once posted, your blog entries are available via Google searches and RSS feeds.
Once the ministry has set up some initial information on the site (and created at least one “welcome” blog post), the inclusion of other types of content should be developed. After all, who would want to look at a web site that is just a bunch of writing? However, what you do NOT do at this point is try to use your blogging site to host this content. To share pictures, create an account at Flickr (free), load your pictures, and link it back to your blog site. To share videos, create an account at YouTube (free), and link it back to your blog site. To share maps, create them at Google maps (free) and link them from your blog site. Do you see a trend here? In the world of web 2.0, sharing content is the whole point. And the cost? Free + free + free = free.
To see this all for myself, I spent a couple hours updating this blog with pictures, videos, and a map. All of these now appear in my sidebar to the right. I will admit, I had to work a little to get them all to work properly, but my guess is that 90% of the students in my classes at Biola could do this if asked because it is becoming second nature to them. Organizations need to learn how to work with these web 2.0 tools and use them to their advantage. And if no one there understands it, hire a college student!
One last point to make on this: when we add our content to Flickr or YouTube or other similar web site so that we can show it on our own site, we are also making this content available to the world. Many, MANY, web users search through these sites to find things that interest them – if they happen upon the pictures or videos from your organization, so much the better. And isn’t that the point? Share your content with the world, don’t hide it away in your own ghetto.