Moving Ministries Online
This is a post I wrote sometime in 2009, I'm moving my old posts to my new blog and trying to slowly give them new life. This post may not be 100% updated but most of the content should still be relevant.
Are you new online? Here are a few tips I put together for a potential client and larger ministry.
Perhaps you can use this information to get your own projects started.
Tools for your project & Strategy tips:
Facebook – Make sure you use a business page. There are 4 types of accounts you can setup but make sure you choose the right one. A group will make it hard for anyone to join who has too many groups, business pages you can never cap out on. A profile is technically against Facebook rules and if you are caught with a business account as a personal profile they block your address. A community page is more like a wiki page and has less management tools and can’t be customized the way a business page can. See Facebook.com/AgencyCouture for an example of custom tabs. In the end the tabs could be customized with FBML (a type of code) to add your events, store, membership sign up and automate pulling in your blog. Use the side bar under the photo to enter contact information, other social networks and your site and a little tagline about the ministry. This NEEDS to be updates a min. of once a week and no more then 3 times a day. Too much you annoy people and too little they forget about you.
Twitter – Choose wisely on your name, this can be changed but you want to make sure people remember it. Be sure to fill out the information in the profile completely, this will help you be found. Add your site address to it and on your background (image) add any other relevant information on contacting you or other social networks. You can automate pulling in you blog here, find other ministries, and connect with patrons. This is a great relationship tool, but beware of using it too much like a broadcast channel. People resent being talked “at” on Twitter rather then being talked with. Use tools like Tweet deck to find other users and manage lists and chatting.
YouTube – technically YouTube boasts being the second largest search engine around, knowing that anyone would be a fool to be online and not utilize this as a free channel for connecting with people. Again, fill out your profile completely, and make sure you have a nice photo for the profile. You only get to choose your username once so choose wisely. Use a background to tell more of your story, but also make sure it matches your site and other social networks. This is a big part of branding. When you upload your videos, time of day is important. Think: will more people be online at 2 am or 10am? You’ll get a hang of when people watch your videos the most by watching analytics, in YouTube analytics are called insights. If you use a tool like TubeMogul you can get even more analytics and auto-upload your video to multiple sites saving you energy and time. Descriptions and titles are as important as anything in this process. Be sure to use keywords that describe your videos and descriptions that have keywords, links to your other social profiles, and links to your website. If one video is a follow up to another, make it a video reply. At the end of every video ask people to subscribe, it helps to remind them that they have not yet. At the beginning and end mention your site and use YouTube tools to add a link on your video to the site. Ask viewers to like your video, the more comments and likes the more popular your video is, the better it ranks on YouTube. You can use the embed tools to add your video to your site.
Feedburner – is another great FREE tool that will allow you to auto send posts to followers via email, track readers, and promote the site. Mail chimp is another great newsletter tool, very affordable. Many people love constant contact but it costs 5 times as much.
If you don’t have it already added, use google analytics on your site.
Make sure all the pages of your site have a common template with a global navigation – meaning it looks the same on every page. This is important so you don’t confuse new comers and make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
Submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster tools - Add the sitemap as an auto xml to your site, you’ll need WordPress to do this. Build your site on WordPress. This should only take 8-10 hours to transfer the current template into WordPress. It will also make setting up new pages and a blog a hundred times easier. Make membership sign up part of your blog. You can bill people but you should also give them an option to pay online via Google Checkout and Paypal so you get money instantly. WordPress will also make it easy for multiple writers to contribute to your site and you can restrict access to certain parts of the site, like pages or publishing protocols.
You can also let people subscribe to your Google events via your site (add your events to their Google account).