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Top Notch tips from Vancouver

One of the greatest elements of ministry with the National Church is the opportunity to meet with people in serving in different contexts, to share ideas, and to foster relationships that inform our shared ministry. Recently, I met with Randy Murray, the Diocese of New Westminster’s Communications Officer. Randy is involved with media relations, public relations counsel, audio visual and print resources, computer communications including the diocesan website, and editing the monthly diocesan newspaper, TOPIC.

As we talked about ministry from music to Facebook, Randy pulled up a document that he provides to New Westminster parishes as they compose or revise their websites. Below, you’ll find Randy Murray’s “top notch tips.” Do you find them helpful? Let us know!

 

• Homepage – Photo of the community in or outside the building looking happy and natural
or a defining, iconic image uniquely connected to the parish or organization.

• Don’t use stock photos of models looking prayerful.

• On the Homepage: Navigation buttons to other pages, list service times, direct link to
location and an obvious acknowledgment of your Compassionate Service ministries, i.e.
Community Meal Served on Thursdays in the Parish Hall at 11:45am.

• Anticipate what your visitor will want to know. Do you have parking? Tell them
where.

• Try to hit a balance of 2 or 3 font sizes. Headings, sub-headings, captions and body
copy.

• 10 or 12 point for body copy.

• Select easy to read versatile fonts like Tahoma or Arial.

• Maximum line length 65 to 70 characters.

• Use a sub-heading every 5 to 7 lines to break up body copy.

• Ensure that each page is interesting and has graphics and photos that relate to its
central theme.

• In the current world, each page is a landing page from another location. So make sure
the church address or location link are on every page. And ideally the phone number
too.

• Avoid churchy/pious language if you can, and if you can’t, please supply some easily
accessed definitions.

• Post your Festival Service listings as early and accurately as possible: Advent,
Christmas, Lent.

• After the Festival is over take them down. Does your house still have its Christmas
decorations up? Does your website?

• Video: to post or not to post? Good stills with a music track are better unless you
have a very skilled filmmaker in your community. Even if the film is good, make it short
(30 seconds) and make sure that it has graphics and titles to clarify the message and put
it up on youtube or vimeo with a link.

• Photos should be bright and full of people. Too many parishes in the D of NW advertise
their buildings and usually the photos are of empty buildings.

• Seekers in this day and age love what they perceive to be authenticity in their worship
experience: organ music, choral music, chanting and wardrobe.

• Avoid staged stuff with children. Too cute.

• Use positive, upbeat photos of the clergy, parish leaders and staff.

• Link to user groups i.e. pre-schools, music schools, other faith communities that use the
building etc., the diocese, the national church, the Anglican Communion.

• Incumbent should have a column or a link to a blogspot. Confer with friends and
parishioners about a catchy title. Clever names are good but get feedback i.e. “Revved
Up!” Good or not-so-good?

• Include a news feature about the community and make it welcoming and current.

• Parishioner profile page for those who wish to be listed.

• A straight-forward brief message about Christian Stewardship focusing on the fact that
members of faith communities give. THAT’S JUST WHAT WE DO HERE…Our God is a
generous God and we are generous in return. And… easy instructions about how to give.

• Create a facebook page, blogsite and twitter account and link to it on the website.

About Jesse Dymond

I'm a priest from the Diocese of Huron, serving as Online Community Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada. I have a lifelong interest in computer technology, and continue to pursue interdisciplinary studies in science and theology. I love composing and performing music, cooking, photography, sailing, and riding vintage motorcycles.
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