Over the weekend I wrote a string of endorsements for state house, state senate and Congressional primary races for Caffeinated Thoughts. Part of the process of doing that was checking out candidates’ websites. I was (and am)
amazed horrified at how many campaigns don’t even have a website. There are a lot of organizations and churches that are guilty of this as well. There is absolutely no reasonable excuse for this.
That is what we call Web 1.0. It is the first basic step to having an online presence. They are easy to put and and relatively cheap if you or a friend who knows what they are doing put it up. With the advent of platforms like WordPress and Joomla it is even easier because there is hardly any code involved and both of those platforms offer themes that have a website feel rather than a blog feel.
Also another key step when putting up a website, and again it amazes me (not horrified this time) at how many websites are static rather than dynamic. This is why I like building websites using a blogging platform like WordPress. It makes it easier to update your website, easier to have multiple people providing updates, and it lets your visitors who subscribe (via RSS or email) know changes have been made. Also web search engines are notified of changes as well… ergo more traffic. When you keep your website updated with new content it gives people a reason to come back. I changed Serve Our Youth Network’s website from static to dynamic and we easily saw our average monthly traffic triple.
How often to update? If you can do daily great… political campaigns that are not adding video, press releases, links to positive articles about their campaign, issue papers, etc. are missing out. Churches can record their pastor’s sermons and do at minimum a weekly podcast. I know of several churches where their pastor writes a daily devotional. With Serve Our Youth Network we’d share stories about the kids we serve, updates about events, and positive stories about mentoring. It didn’t happen on a daily basis, but our site was update far more often than what happened before.
Then we have Web 2.0 – social media. Campaigns, organizations and churches should at the very least have a Facebook page and Twitter account. If you have the ability to make videos then you should have a YouTube Channel. The great thing about these is they’re free. They also help drive traffic to your website. They are also interactive and allow you to be interactive with constituents, clients and/or members.
The third thing is Web 3.0 – the mobile web. More and more people use mobile devices to access the internet. If your website is not mobile friendly then you’re missing the boat. If you use WordPress there are plenty of themes and/or plugins that help with this.. It should be able to serve your website faster in a one column format that makes it easier to read your website on a mobile device.
So as you can see campaigns, organizations and churches without websites are not only are you behind the eight ball, but not you are not even at square one.
If you need help setting this up let me know, I’d be happy to help.