Archive for Church Website Design – Page 2

Free Church Stock Photos

3 Candles - Free Church Stock Photos

Get Free Church Stock Photos like this one from creationswap.com

Free church stock photos are really helpful when setting up or maintaining your churches website. Stock pictures are generic images that you can use to enhance your website. They are really great for making blog posts or sermons (which can be the same thing) more interesting to read. There is lots of evidence that by including pictures in your website, not only will people stay on the site longer, they will actually read more. It makes sense too, pictures can break up large blocks of text and make pages look more interesting.

Light from Heaven - Free Church Stock Photos - via 123rf.com

Get Free Church Stock Photos like this one from 123rf.com

If you or a friend are good, and like to take interesting pictures, that can be a great way to enhance your church website. For the rest of us, thank goodness there are stock photo sites. There are lots of sites to pick from. Some charge a fee like iStockPhoto and Sutterstock . These tend to have lots of great pictures, are easy to search, and they are pretty reasonably priced.

There are also free stock picture sites. Some are better than others, and they usually take a bit more time to find a picture that might work for your situation, but they are free. Here are some sites I use for free church stock photos:
http://www.creationswap.com/ – A nice collection of church related material. They have both free pictures and some for sale for reasonable prices. You can search or browse by category as you feel called.
http://www.123rf.com – A reasonable amount of free content as well as paid contend. The free stuff seems to be mainly smaller images, they’re nice though. They also let you browse or search, although you there aren’t really categories for the free images, you’re best to just get in the free image category and search for your desired image. You do need to sign up for a free account to access the images.
http://www.sxc.hu/ – A free site that lets you search or browse. It was recently bought by Getty Images who own iStockPhoto and you’ll find lots of advertising for that site. They also include images from iStockPhoto in the search which can be a little confusing. There are lots there to choose from though.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page – This is a good source for more generic images. It’s not where I got first, but it’s usually worth a check.
With all these sites for stock church photos it’s important to remember to attribute your pictures. Make sure you read the terms of use from each site before using the pictures.
What are your favourite websites for free church stock pictures?

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Why have a church website?

Why have a church website - by Church and Technology.caIt’s easy to get a church website up and running. You can either pay someone to set one up for you, or do it yourself for free or using a paid service. While none of this is very difficult, there are a few things you want to think through before you get started. (If your church already has a website, it’s still worth going through this exercise to make sure your church website is accomplishing its goals.)

The first thing to do is answer the question “why does our church want a website?” Do you want a church website just so people can find the basic information about your church when they search for it online? Do you want to highlight some of your church programs and post weekly announcements? Thinking about podcasting your sermons or starting an online discussion group? All this and more is possible but it’s very helpful to figure out what you’re hoping to accomplish before you start. So, why does your church want to set up a website?

Next you need to think through why people will come to your church website. Never mind what you want them to do, or what your website might be able to do, what can you be surethat people will be coming to your church website for? There are three things you can count on that people will come to your site for and they are: the time of your church service(s), your location and how to get there, and contact information like phone numbers and email addresses. Make sure these are easy to find.  I recommend putting your worship time(s) prominently on the homepage to ensure people don’t have to search to find out what time to join you.

There may also be other reasons people will come to your church website as well. If you run a food bank, people will want to know the hours. If you have a well known study series or youth group, you should put up the times for that also. Determine together with others at the church, and some who aren’t part of the church for a different perspective, why people will be coming to the church website. Wanting to provide people with this information is a great reason to have a church website.

Now, if you’ve come to the conclusion that you want to create a church website, you have decided what you want to do with your church website, and what you need to do with it (what people will be coming for). Next you need to determine what you can do with your website. This is not about what is possible, as I mentioned already, anything is possible. This is about your current personal and volunteer resources. Be realistic here. Far too often organizations decide to try and do more then is reasonable or are overly optimistic. I suggest starting by doing half of what you think you can and will do. It’s quite easy to add more elements to a site later, or increase the amount of time you put into it. If you’ve over estimated though it can be difficult to find the time to remove the elements you don’t have time to keep up with. It’s obviously hard enough to do the updates. You want to set your goals high to give you something to strive for, but you need to be reasonable with them as well so you don’t set yourself and your volunteers up for failure as well as create a site that looks like it’s poorly maintained.

There’s plenty more you can think about, but these are important things worth going over. The “why does our church want a website?” question is really important to answer both before you get started with a website, and along the journey of maintaining one.
Are there other questions that should be asked before setting up a church website? What are some of the reasons you’ve come up with to have a church website?

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