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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:05 pm 
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This is a similar request for input as another post here but I am having trouble getting our church members to register and use the site.  Right now, members can login to access content that is not available to guest visitors.  This content is things such as schedules, prayer requests, and a suggestion box.  I am looking for something that gives members a reason to come back frequently.  I don't want to limit all the dynamic content to just members to keep them logging in.  I guess what I am asking is for ideas that I could use to make the site more useful for members.  If anyone could give me ideas of what they have done or seen on other church websites, that would be great.  I am pretty new to all of this but am enjoying it thanks to Joomla!  Here is the link for the site www.phoenixcrc.org
Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:24 pm 
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As a website development advisor to faith groups in the UK I understand your dilemma. This is a challenge faced by us all and I'm not sure there is an easy answer. Each community I work with has adopted a different approach.

1. The website is the only source of activities and news. All printed journals, newsletters and magazines have been cancelled.

2. Regular photos and reports of events. Everyone likes to see their child, grandchild, themselves and they tell all their releatives to go and look as well.

3. Make the frontpage less static.

At the moment on your site it would be hard to tell which parts of the site has annything new. Put teasers on the front page that change regularly and people will see that there is something new to see. At the momemnt they wont. Your calendar only has religious events. Get each section of your church to make entries. Then you can have module like "next events" "latest news", "Latest photos" etc all on the front page to draw people in.

Also at the moment it is unclear to me if there is more information to be found if I log in or if the page is under construction eg the cadets page

Finaly you have to decide why you have certain areas of the site "members only". I'm usualy given privacy as the main reason for this but I personaly have my doubts.

At the end of the day your church site is your gateway to the community that you live in. You not only have to serve your members but also to attract new ones.

Put yourself in the shoes of a new family moving into the area and looking for a church. Is there enoguh information on the site to give them the correct impression of your church. Or is it all behind a closed door.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:36 pm 
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This exactly the advice I was looking for!  Thank you.  I am going spend some time digesting the advice and see what I can do.  I will probably have some more questions so I will post back with them.  Thanks again, God Bless!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:44 pm 
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I would be interest to hear the reaosn behind the "members only sections"

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:23 pm 
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The "members only content" is really more of  "people who attend or are affiliated with our church" content of which the amount is very small.  I separate this content mainly for what you mentioned, which is Privacy.  I have volunteer schedules that I don't want to advertise to everyone along with prayer requests that may be personal in nature.  In addition I have suggestion and prayer request forms that I don't want to be abused.  In the near future I will be implementing a forum and allowing only registered users which makes moderation less complicated.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it :D....well maybe.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:29 pm 
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That sounds legitmate to me. Some of the organisations I work with dont want some thigns made public for "privacy and security" reasons. And yet usualy the same information is available online elsewhere.

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Last edited by brian on Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:38 pm 
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I just read your posting, and our church is in the same boat.  We just released the new version of our website this past Sunday, and we are just starting to get the word out that our site has a new look.  Today, we did this by putting an announcement in a PowerPoint presentation that we run prior to services starting.

We also are similar in that we are asking members to register in order to access extra content.  For now, this is just church council contact information, but I am hoping in the future to add a threaded discussion board of some kind so that our members can use it as another tool for Bible studies, a place for our youth to "hang out", etc.

If you are interested, our site is: http://www.ascensionfdl.org/


Last edited by hoferchr on Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:08 pm 
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I've struggled with this issue for over 10 years with church web sites. 
One thing I've done is get somebody to put the weekly bulletin up and sound department to put up sermons and things the kids have done.  A simple little free online game or puzzle is helpful too.

I feel your frustration.  You put a lot of work, thought and time not to mention software expenses into projects like this.  And you deserve positive feedback and satisfaction that the people for whom you've been volunteering your time and skills actually use it.  I know.

And just keep reminding them in the weekly bulletin it is there and what they can find there.  Here's one I did for years but now only have to provide occasional consultation and templates for.:  fayetteadventist.org

Don't give up.  Sometimes it just takes some time and encouragement.  Maybe even spend a little time demonstrating with a projector to the audience how they can sign in and what they can find there.  Or set up a computer with internet access outside the Sanctuary with someone to get them signed up on the spot and demo it.

God bless!  :)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:03 pm 
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Thanks for the advice.  I have to keep remembering that I just started this site and I can't expect everyone to just use it like I would.  If I need information I go to the web first, I don't think the majority of our congregation is like this.  In addition people aren't used to adding their information to the site.  This whole project is volunteer based and people just aren't as excited about it as I am.

I like your idea of setting up a computer and helping people to log on and show them around the website!  I am going to try this.  My only concern is that I don't want people to think I am just showing off the website I built. 

I am also taking the advice of "brain" and changing the website to be more dynamic.  I am trying to get a volunteer that can be the creative content manager and handle the creative side to keep the site fresh.  I'm not the most creative so this will help me focus on the technical parts of the site.

Thank you all very much for the advice so far, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.  Keep it coming!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:49 pm 
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One of the faith groups I support have just taken the decision to cancel all their printed publications to force people online (as I said before). They acknowledge that their will be a few difficulties int he short run but they feel that in the long run this is the best approach. Time will tell how successful this approach is but the initial feedback has been encouraging.

What has been most suprising is the number of "elder" community members who have embraced this. Comments have included at last something for me to do on the computer etc. Now that a means for themto contribute stories etc has been added to the site they are making regular submssions.

We all have so much to learn from the "elders" in our communities and this has given them a voice.

We had expected this constituant group to be "against" the move to online communication but they are the ones who have embraced it the most.

I do like the idea of showing the site to people after services and will be adopting this myself. A good idea shared....

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:01 pm 
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brian wrote:
....

What has been most suprising is the number of "elder" community members who have embraced this. Comments have included at last something for me to do on the computer etc. Now that a means for themto contribute stories etc has been added to the site they are making regular submssions.

We all have so much to learn from the "elders" in our communities and this has given them a voice.

We had expected this constituant group to be "against" the move to online communication but they are the ones who have embraced it the most.


Surprise! eh?  Over the past 10 years I've noted the very same thing.  The elder members of the community are more internet savvy than the middle aged group.  Maybe they have more time to be online, have family and friends farther away they want to keep in touch with via the internet.  It is harder for them to get out and travel around and their families move away.  That's what they all tell me.  So those 50 and older - I mean in their 80's and 90's even - are on the internet daily.  It's a real way of life for them.  Some of the best inspirations and insight relative to internet ministry have come from retired pastors in their 80's!  (those are also the ones that tend to run a few miles every day!  LOL )  Want some real VISION?  Tap into that resource!

It's a trip!    :D

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:30 pm 
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As I stated before, we have made a policy on our church website that only members should register for a free username/password to access additional material.  I would like to add some additional wording to the page where people create their unique username/password, but I don't know where to do that.  Anyone have experience doing this?  We don't currently use Community Builder.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:13 pm 
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you could just write those instructions or invitation to register into a "new" module and position it beneath the login area. 

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:09 pm 
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Coffeymate wrote:
you could just write those instructions or invitation to register into a "new" module and position it beneath the login area. 

I decided to install Community Builder on our church site, and that fixed my issue. Thanks, Coffeymate.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:09 pm 
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hoferchr wrote:
Coffeymate wrote:
you could just write those instructions or invitation to register into a "new" module and position it beneath the login area. 

I decided to install Community Builder on our church site, and that fixed my issue. Thanks, Coffeymate.

I wondered at the time I wrote that if you had - probably should have gone back and edited it to just ask.  Good thinking.
Still it does help to have an outright little blurb on the frontpage somewhere at least urging the members to register and maybe
even say something about what is available to them if they do accomplish that task.  Good luck getting those registrations.  I know
it can be like pulling hen's teeth at times.  >grin<

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:58 pm 
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Quote:
I wondered at the time I wrote that if you had - probably should have gone back and edited it to just ask.  Good thinking.  Still it does help to have an outright little blurb on the frontpage somewhere at least urging the members to register and maybe even say something about what is available to them if they do accomplish that task.  Good luck getting those registrations.  I know it can be like pulling hen's teeth at times.  >grin<

Yup...I think Community Builder is working o.k. so far.  I just now have to figure out what the "Tab", "Field", and "List" Management options are within Community Builder and how to use them...but that is not something that needs to be discussed within this topic.  If anyone would like to help me with that, please PM me.

We've got about 25 to 30 registered members of our church so far, and 8 to 10 additional members that are also staff at our church...so, we are slowly getting the word out!  I also made a 1 min 20 second promotional video for our new Joomla-based site that will be shown during our church service next Sunday.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:34 pm 
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Good job!

Would love to see it if there's a place it can be viewed online.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:56 pm 
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Coffeymate wrote:
Good job!

Would love to see it if there's a place it can be viewed online.

I did post our church website in the Non-Profit Site Showcase section a while back.  (I just checked and it's still on there about 5 to 10 postings from the newest one.)  I do have a demo login set up, but it's not something that we've been broadcasting to the general public at this time.  So, when you get to the site, I'm not sure how much of the Community Builder app you'll actually get to see.  It's working pretty good so far!  I like it a lot!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:54 am 
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*UPDATE*
Well it has been a while since my last post on this thread but things are going better.  I have taken some advice from this thread and put it into action.  I now have 48 users signed up which is pretty good for the size of our church.  For the last 3 weekends I have had a computer out in the fellowship hall to sign people up and show them around the site.  This has worked out really well! I also have a slide in the intro slideshow that plays before church explaining the website.  I think I need to update this slide every week with what's new in order to keep it fresh.  I am still trying to get more dynamic content for the front page and the rest of the site.  This is proving to be a problem because if I want new content I have to create it!  I think I have been focusing to hard on promoting the site to the general congregation.  I am going to start promoting it more to the individual ministry leaders.  These are the people who can give me the content and with more content it seems it would be easier to get the general congregation excited.  We'll see!  I also have a forum for members but it doesn't get much use.  Does anyone have any ideas to get people posting on the forums? 
All in all the site is really working out good.  The focus right now is on members using the site but after getting past the current challenges I will be changing my focus to making the site more targeted towards the community surrounding the church.  I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I am going to do this.  I could use some advice in this area.  Great advice on this thread, keep it up!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:11 am 
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Thanks for the update!
Sounds like you are doing a good job at achieving that goal of getting involvement from the church members.
At least registration is something.
Now - there are individual blogging components - make them accessible to your membership and encourage them to blog how their prayers were answered or not this week, how their Christian walk with Christ went etc - a personal testimony sort of blog thing - see if that gets anywhere.
Another component would be one for recipes - give those registrants the ability to post recipes then once you've got a decent little collection going, promote it in your local newspaper
Get the pastor on board with writing his own blog - make this a special component separate from the rest so you can link directly to it - something from the Pastor's Pen or whatever.
howzat 4 ideas.  And put on that cheezy winsome smile  :D  getsem every time.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:41 pm 
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Well, tomorrow is the first day that we are going to try out the idea of having 2 PC stations set up for people to sign up on our website for a free username/password.  I created a short 1 minute 15 second promotional video clip that we are going to show during the announcements at the end of the service so that everyone gets a chance to see just some of the highlights.  We ran the video this past Thursday at our Thursday night service, and I think it went very well (although I did not get an idea of what people thought).


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 12:40 am 
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Are you going to have a newsletter, like Letterman or Acajoom? That would be a reason for people to register, if they understand that only those who register will get the newsletter. Community Builder has a very strong newsletter component, but Letterman and Acajoom seem easier to set up. I haven't really used Yanc.

You can post a new article, go to the newsletter component, put the newest article or articles in a newsletter, and send to all registered users. You can, of course, take people off that list if you wish.

You can also email people about cancellations that way.

Ed Detlie
http://www.joomlawyer.org

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