Category Archives: church social media

Best WordPress Plug-ins for Church Websites

WordPress Plug-ins for Church Websites

Hopefully these WordPress plug-ins will come in handy on your next install of WordPress whether that be on your church, ministry, or non-profit wordpress site.  All serve a very specific function which helps with WordPress blog efficiency or online communication.  Feel free to add your favorite wordpress plug in in the comments with your positive experience with the plug-in:

1) Search Box
2) Popularity Contest (Top Posts)
3) Recent Posts
4) Top Commenters Plug-in
5) Comment Organization Plug-ins (Intense Debate)
6) Author Text Box
7) Google Calendar
8] Related Posts Plug-ins
9) Social Links Plug-in (or a custom)
10) Security Related Plug-ins
11) Greetbox Plug-in
12) WP Backup
13) Twitter Plug-in (optional)
14) Google Analytics
15) Subscribe-Remind Plug-in
16) Facebook or Google Friend Connect Plug-in
17) Askimet for WordPress (Spam Blocking)
18) Share This type plug-in
19) Flickr or Automated Photo Slider (Dynamic Content or Next Gen Gallery)
20) Contact form 7 plug-in
21) Google Site Map Generator
22) Landing sites plug in (note: this is realistically redundant with Greetbox above)
23) Search meter (“If you have a Search box on your blog, Search Meter automatically records what people are searching for — and whether they are finding what they are looking for”–To see what visitors are searching for)
24) SEO All-in-one plug in
25) Wp Page-Navi (“Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress site”–optional)
26) WP Forum (optional–“Simple discussion forum plugin for WordPress”)
26) Bible Verse for WordPress
27) Geopress (Google map plug-in)
28) SEO ROI or SEO Smartlinks
29) Global Translator (“Global Translator automatically translates your blog in the following 48 different languages”)
30) E-mail Subscription (although your email marketing firm may have a specific plug in or code for email subscription)

It would be interesting to see a review of both Event Manager, GD Press tools, and HP Hash Cash (block spam bots), all of which are reasonably popular WordPress plug-ins.

You’ll also want to add a linkbait (lots of blogs are using a page turn Plug-in in the upper right hand corner) and an RSS subscription box (although you probably want to change that to E-mail based subscription). Also its smart to add “recommended links” either to the sidebar or as a post page. Finally, after 6 or so months of blogging….you have the option of asking your audience….and A/B testing for which plug-ins work best. However, the above plug-ins have a proven record of helping enable effective websites on the WordPress blogging platform. Finally, you may also want to browse popular WordPress plug-ins here. In addion, you may want to check out the work of top wordpress developers like Alex KingWhat WordPress plug-ins would you recommend for a church website?

Best Content Management Systems for Your Church or Nonprofit

Best Content Management Systems (CMS) Tools for Your Website

All three of the following are open source content management systems that are perfect for churches and nonprofits. The main appeal of open source CMS is low overhead and the flexibility of the open source community. For instance, open source is the reason why Firefox has a competitive advantage over other browsers like Explorer:

WordPress
Drupal
Joomla

I personally think wordpress is the best content management system because it provides so many features and so much flexibility out of the box. Also, the community for WordPress is pretty tight which means you get lots of cool plug-ins, theme development, and support. Certainly you can pick Drupal, but its a beast to learn compared to WordPress. WordPress makes content management both productive and (relatively) easy which are the main features look for in a content management system. This is especially true if you are not a code junkie and dont want to be dependent on others to make changes in your website. Check out this report, if you would like a comparison between WordPress, Drupal, and other available CMS platforms for the nonprofit space.

Managing Church Donations and Non profit Fundraising
If you as a church or nonprofit have a need to add more ecommerce type tools to your website for contributions or fundraising, you can always add a Google checkout, Paypal payment, or similar widget to your platform. I wouldn’t restrict myself to content management systems which had the e-commerce plug-in built in.

Given that the plug-in tools are often free or very close–the need for an all-in-one CMS solution which waters down each of the components is not a forced choice due to 3rd party add ons and widgets. The only comparison I would make is the relative budgetary issues over the course of 3 to 5 years if your fundraising platform requires a percentage of your donations along with an expected calculation of your online donations.

Ultimately, for most small business needs, you will likely find that wordpress can serve your needs and then some.

50 Content Management Systems at Open Jason
10 Free Powerful Content Management Systems at Woork

What do you think is the best cms tool for churches and nonprofit organizations to use? What are the best third party tools for fundraising and donations?

Ministry Marketing and Communications Best Practices

Missional Marketing and Church Growth Strategy

Are you a church or minister in need of church marketing strategies and ideas? Or perhaps you run a ministry and need to market and brand your service in your local community. Whatever your mission, these two presentations on church strategy should be helpful:

Ministry Advertising Fundamentals Presentation

Ministry Marketing Fundamentals Presentation

What do you think are ministry marketing best practices?

Your Christian Internet Marketing Agency

Looking for Christian Internet Marketing Agencies?

Excellent. Welcome. You’ve come to the right place.

Throughout my life and the Creative Fusion Media, I’ve tried to work with and provide internet and marketing consulting for quality Christian organizations, Christian ministries, and Christian businesses.

Working with Christian people and organizations gives me the opportunity to work set down with an organization and provide an assessment of the overall online marketing, communications, SEO, and public relations.

What exactly does that involve? How can you help my Christian business with marketing? Well its really pretty simple:

• Strategic market assessment
• Communications consulting
• Comprehensive social media and marketing training
• Online business strategy
• Search engine marketing and optimization
• Online PR
• Internet marketing execution

We can help you connect with your community leveraging social marketing and online public relations strategies.

Creative Fusion Media. A professional and friendly Christian marketing agency. How can we help you with your marketing needs? Please contact us at (615) 594 – 2095 for your free, no obligation twenty minute consultation.

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22

Christian Social Media and Social Networking

Christian and Church Related Social Networking Communities : Your Definitive Guide to Church Social Media

Why social networking?Christians along with the unchurched are going online in mass and slowly abandoning mass media. Social networking, blogs, and interactive social media are creating a revolution in how people interact and connect online. Its also fundamentally transforming Christian and church marketing practices, but these changes typically are slow with some maven churches on the leading edge of social media marketing.

Why should your church or christian organization be involved with social media? Its about sharing your story online. Its about connecting to the people in your organization. Its about being found in Google. And its about being missional.

God Tube-Christian version of YouTube

My Church-Christian version of MySpace

Shout Life-Another Christian version of MySpace.

Christian Leaders on Twitter-Just a Facebook group for Christian leaders. There are several other groups for Christian leaders. Check out this free Facebook for Pastors e-book

Belief Net Community-in addition to a blog community, Belief Net which is owned by Ruport Murdoch a per his acquisition about a year ago.

Ning-Ning allows you to create your own social network in 60 seconds. There are several Christian communities on Ning

God Blogs-Christian-esque social news community (I believe this community no longer exists)

Linked In and Christian Social Networking
Christian Professionals
Business as Mission Network
Christian Ministry and Church Leadership
CBMW

Other Non-Christian Relateded Social Networking Communities to Check Out:
Shelfari and Good Reads are book social networks for books. I would probably just pick one.

Flickr-a photo sharing site. A great way to share your story, especially if you or someone in your family or your church enjoys taking pictures. Also, if you have artistic or visual content that isn’t video, but instread two-dimensional flickr is a fantastic option for putting that content online and giving it a home.

Yelp is social networking for restaurants and local business reviews.

Facebook-this is the mack daddy of social networks. Churches like Lifechurch have applications here to drive online engagement and community. Leveraging groups in facebook is a great way to connect with fellow church goers for activities.

Twitter-people tend to like twitter. Lots of church leaders and Christian authors are on here. A great place to connect with those folks and others.

Vimeo-Great place in addition You Tube and God Tube to post videos.

Viddler-Another fantastic video sharing community.

UStream is a great way to live stream church services, church events, or classes. There are several other players in this space that are worth looking at.

WordPress is a great blogging platform and arguably the best blogging platform.

Second Life I don’t recommend Second Life (SL) for everybody, but a very small number of churches (around 100 or so according to recent article by Christianity Today) are creating online communities on the social network Second Life.

Upcoming is social networking for events. Although in the short term, Facebook events is probably the best place to coordinate this rather than Upcoming, because not a lot of people are on upcoming except in major cities like Washington DC, San Fransisco, and New York.

More Christian and Religious Social Media Marketing Resources

For more about church social media and social networking check out our other posts or Aaron Marshall church social media. You can see his video on Vimeo called Social Media 101, which he delivered at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Christianity on Alltop-aggregation of some of the best blogs on Christianity and Christian related subjects

Religion on Alltop-aggregation of some fo the top blogs in the area of religion

Have any Christian social networking suggestions or tips? Do you have any questions about religious social media for me or others? Where do you digital missions and e-ministry moving towards?

Principles for Hiring Extraordinary Church Website Designers

I noticed that Lifechurch.TV has a gorgeous blog for their church internet campus. It uses the Thesis Theme from WordPress. What a great job from the web designers at Lifechurch.

Here is a great list of the Top Web Designs for Churches from the kind folks at Vandelay Design:

Extraordinary church web design principle number one: easy to navigate (ask the designer what they can tell you about usability and what usability elements they are adding to the site)
Extraordinary church web design principle number two: great and relevant content. content on the web tends to be shorter and in shorter paragraphs. the copy should tell your story and hopefully a little of your member’s story
Extraordinary church web design principle number three: easy to use forms
Extraordinary church web design principle number four: CSS (if you don’t know what CSS, please make sure your designer does)
Extraordinary church web design principle number five: general avoidance of the use of Flash. Flash is usually a usability faux pa.
Extraordinary church web design principle number six: Add social elements to your website, including a WordPress blog
Extraordinary church web design principle number seven: I may be partial, but search engine optimization or some other strategic form of internet marketing

Creative Fusion Media is a Christian Social Media Marketing Agency.

I’ve been thinking about user created content a little bit in the church website context. What kind of disclaimers should accompany church websites or more specifically church websites and ministry blogs? What points for hiring website designers would you add to the list?

Best of Church Social Media and Ministry 2.0 Resources

Church and Christian Organization Using New Media to Spread the Gospel:

Are you a youth pastor who’s looking to get into blogging or perhaps Facebook? Or maybe you’re a worship leader who wants to connect with Christians online? Or perhaps your heart is a-twitter about the wonderful and fun world of blogging? There are a cornucopia of opportunities provided by Ministry 2.0 that are inexpensive and only require some dedication, a passion to spread your message, and a small learning curve to get up to speed on the culture and technology of new media.

When you think about church social media, the work of creatives like David Russell, Mark Batterson, and the crew at National Community Church in DC do is pretty important. 54% of the folks that visit NCC do so first based on seeing their website (cite) Although, the church social media movement doesn’t stop there, increasingly ministries like the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville are going big with social media too.

Using Interactive New Media for Your Church Website:

Aaron has a fantastic post about Church Social Media here, which explains the use of RSS and blogging in very easy to understand terms.

If you are interested in Facebook, Facebook for Pastors will be a great read to help you use Facebook for your church.

I would check out YouVersion from the folks at Lifechurch.TV. It allows users to create notes and share them in an online version of the Bible. Its a way to create dialoug about interpretation, theology, and meaning. (Giving away church resources is cool. Kudos to innovators like Craig + Bobby, although I think they technically borrowed this idea from Granger and re-mixed it a bit)

You may want better internal productivity or communication, in which case the free tools from Granger Community Church @ Wired Churches or Lifechurch may be helpful. Alternatively the open source church resources from Phoreo look quite handy.

You can also use Sermon Cloud to distribute and find sermons. Sermon cloud uses tagging, which is a big part of the way web designers are using to organize the web these days. Sermon cloud is a fantastic sermon aggregator, which is similar to the social news sharing site Digg.

Here is one of the best summaries of the church social media space I’ve seen with 8 fantastic tips on leveraging web 2.0 for Christian organizations (see also Blood Water Mission, Compassion International, and Bread for the World). His tip about using video is particularly spot on.

Other sites in the Church 2.0 space includeBlogs 4 God which is a social voting site similar to Digg (although I don’t know if it provides any Google link juice).

Another great aggregator is the church and the best religion, faith, and theology blogs at Alltop. (although to be honest, its sad that there isn’t a breakout category for Christian blogs and pastor blogs, as EACH of these represents such a HUGE part of the blogosphere)

I would check out Flower Dust, Raggamuffin Soul, and Without Wax.TV. I’d also see what Brad Ruggles is up to, because he seems to know what’s up in terms of connecting. (and his t-shirt designs are pretty sweet too) You might check out an example of a sermon video on Vimeo at Chad Lewis’s blog.

Have a cool service project or other fun event at your church is going to do. Vimeo and similar video platforms are design savvy and a great way to spread your multimedia message.

My friend Jared has a great introduction to social media whitepaper and resource guide. Finally, Social media rockstar Chris Brogan who is always sharing a plethora of tips, has a great Church Pastor Workflow.

Finally, here is a great post of new media and web 2.0 tools for Christian organizations. This is a great resource list for nonprofit social media and blogging too.

Social Media Marketing and Your Church Organization:

Have a great church 2.0 application, tips, or resources? Have a cool example, case study, or perhaps a cool church themed video?