Ministry Monday: Church Resources for Blog Success
Websites are often the face of churches and organizations in today’s technological world. Many times, a website serves as a visitor’s first exposure to a group’s culture and offers a variety of important resources. A good blog can often be an important part of maintaining a functional website. Research indicates that 77% of internet users read blogs. Non-profit and church blogs are a means to distribute helpful resources, offer additional materials to your audience, raise visibility, increase reach, and raise SEO ranking for your website (which ties in with raising visibility). If the website generates high enough traffic, it could eventually offer additional revenue in ads. So, below are three helpful tips for getting started with a website and blog. The focus is using WordPress as a platform.
Church Resources for Blog Success: 3 Important Tips
- Choose Your Platform – WordPress is often a top recommended platform for organizations and businesses. WordPress offers robust but fairly user friendly options to customize and integrate important tools. There is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The biggest difference is that WordPress.com includes hosting for free and a simpler website as opposed to WordPress.org which is self-hosted (meaning you pay for hosting through a service like BlueHost or GoDaddy) but offers more robust solutions. So, if you’re looking for a totally free simple solution and have a basic website need, of the WordPress options, WordPress.com is the way to go. WordPress.org is a great low cost option if you’re looking for a cheap more robust website solution.
- Install the Basic Vital Plugins for Blog Success – For WordPress (WordPress.org), install your plugins. Some great plugins include Akismet (for spam protection), Boxilla (for a bottom of the site pop up slider), HelloBar for WordPress (top of website email capture bar), JetPack or NextScripts (for auto posting to social media plus some other tools), MailChimp for WordPress to connect MailChimp to your website, TinyMCE Advanced (for a better selection of tools in your post editor), UpDraftPlus for backing up your website, and very importantly YoastSEO for maximizing SEO (which is how you build up website traffic).
- Make it Easy for People to Follow and Subscribe – MailChimp is great for increasing email subscribers (it is free up to around 3,000 subscribers). Make sure on your blog you have newsletter sign-up options obvious and prominent (HelloBar plugin is a great one on WordPress, it drops down at the top of your website). A slider pop up at the bottom is good and one on the right sidebar of your blog. And make sure you have a “Subscribe by RSS” button option. If you’re going to take the time to produce blog content, it makes sense to capture emails for your interested readers. You’ll be so glad you did down the line. With MailChimp, you can research how to set up your RSS feed as an automated email so you channel your blog out to your email subscribers and they will know when you have new posts. Only include excerpts in the emails because you want them to click and finish reading on your website so you get traffic. Offering something for free to subscribers to encourage them to join your newsletter starts the relationship off on a good note and does increase sign-up rates.
If this has been a helpful start, keep an eye out for next week’s blog post which dives a little deeper into some more tips for WordPress.
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