Web and Internet Resources for Churches, Nonprofits, etc.
- Seven Easy Ways to Update Your Website
- Blogs (which can be used as simple websites)
- General Internet Resources
- Accessibility and Usability
- Website Statistics
- Publishing resources, creating PDF documents, remote storage, large file transfer
- Image Editing Software
- E-Newsletter Resources
- ListServ Resources, Discussion Groups, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups
- On-Line Events Calendars
- On-Line Credit Card Payments, Donations
- Anti-Virus Software
- Internet Safety
updated December, 2012
Below are ways of editing traditional websites. An alternative to traditional websites are blogs.
<1> Using Adobe's "Contribute" software:
A number of churches and non-profit organizations, including the Interfaith Resource Center, use Adobe "Contribute" software to maintain their websites. This $199 software package allows volunteers and staff to update their websites. Some of the people currently using this software are:
- Sister B.J., Anamchara Fellowship and this website
- Dale Gregore and the Rev. Al Holland, Ascension Episcopal Church, Claymont, DE
- Paula Hartzell, Interfaith Resource Center (this website)
- Melissa Jackewicz, All Saints Episcopal Church, Rehoboth, DE
- Jill Jensen, Grace Episcopal Church, Wilmington, DE
- Pat Lewis, St. Albans Episcopal Church, Wilmington, DE
- Chris Min, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Bridgeville, DE
<2> Using Coffee Cup Software's HTML Editor
<3> Using browser-based updating
Get your webmaster to connect your website to one of these Web-based editing tools. Then you can edit your website from any computer once you have the username and password. (Prices as of 5/21/2010.)
- www.simplewebsiteediting.com/ $169 one time payment for each website with multiple users. Good video tutorials, but far from intuitive. OK for anyone who will update their website several times a week. Otherwise, the odd ways this works get forgotten.
- easywebcontent.com/ $10 per month per user
<4> Using browser-based updating on sites built by the Digital Faith Community:
Websites created by the Digital Faith Community (DFC) are currently being used by Trinity Episcopal Parish, Wilmington, and St. Peter's, Lewes. DFC creates websites that can be updated from any computer without any special software; all you need is an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.
<5> Firefox FTP Add-On
With the Firefox FTP Add-On, you can use the Firefox browser to download your website's HTML code, edit it, and upload it back to the server. This means editing code, but that's easier than you might think, especially if you are only editing text. Recommended by the Rev. Doug Gerts at First and Central Presbyterian in Wilminton, DE.
<6> Get a professional Web developer to build a website using Joomla, Drupal, Typo3, or other Content Management System.
Websites built with these content mangement systems need a professional to build them but, once built, are relatively easy to modify using a Web browser.
(St. Thomas's, Newark, and Immanuel Highlands, Wilmington use Joomla.)
(The Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania uses Typo3.)
<7> Create your website using a blog.
Blogs can be updated easily by anyone with the password. See immediately below.
- What is a Blog? Click here for text and a video.
Used by Teri Valente starting in May, 2010, to create a simple website for the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware's Youth Ministry.
- Blogs by Episcopalians in Delaware
- Four ways to improve your social media efforts.
- http://www.teledavis.com/ -- Be Web wise to free and cheap digital solutions. The Rev. Tom Davis lists links to software for websites, photographs, telephone, video, RSS feeds, wikis, and calendars.
- http://blog.teledavis.com/ -- Articles and instructional videos from the Rev. Tom Davis about easy-to-use and inexpensive resources and techniques to help you become Web savvy.
- Book Review: Web-Empower Your Church (unleashing the power of Internet ministry) reviewed by Tom Davis.
- http://www.w2mw.org/ -- Priorities for website design. Websites should be easily maintained, have minimal Web rot, on-line event calendars, clear navigation, high search-engine rankings, etc.
- http://www.fromchurch.com - Christian website tips, looking to use websites as an evangelistic tool to reach out into the wide world rather than as an information resource only for members.
- http://www.techsoup.org/ -- an Internet resource for nonprofits
- http://www.elexio.com/ -- Click and build church websites
- http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ -- Hartford Institute's guidelines for website design
- http://www.argylestudio.com/PMUG/home.html -- Princeton University Users Group - old but relevant
- http://www.webreference.com -- Web design tutorials - a mixed bag
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Websites can be accessible to those with vision and hand problems. Computers can be more easily used, and used without mice or keyboards.
- http://www.dati.org -- Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative offers advice, training, and help to those who need additional technology to access their computers and the Internet.
- http://www.useit.com/ -- Jakob Nielsen champions ease of use and navigation
- http://www.usability.gov/ -- US Dept. of Health's guidelines to making websites usable
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The company that hosts your website may offer statistics about your website. Statistics usually include how many visits are made to each page of your website, but may include much, much more information. This is extremely valuable data and should be examined twice a year or so, more often if you are wondering about the effectiveness of your website and are doing things to attact attention.
- Interpreting Website Statistics
- Website Performance Monitoring
- Web Analytics
- Don't Believe Your Web Stats
If your hosting company does not offer statistics, or they are anemic, you can add your own statistics package.
Desktop Publishing: Many churches compose their monthly newsletters using a word processor such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. True page-makeup software does a better job: Quark XPress and Adobe InDesign are industry standards but a low-cost alternative is Serif Page Plus (PC-only), which also has PDF-editing capabilities.
PDF Document Conversion. Most software, even recent versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher (see instructions below), allow you to save documents in PDF format (Adobe Reader format), which is the most universally accessible document format. People using Microsoft products on a PC might try the free PDF printer plugin from BullZip.com to create PDF documents. There are also websites that will convert your document to PDF format for free, after you upload it. Here are three:
Create PDF Documents from Microsoft Software
- Open the Microsoft publication that you want to convert to a PDF. Make sure that you have saved a version of the file.
- Click on "File" on the top menu bar and select "Print."
- Choose "Adobe PDF" from the Printer Name drop-down menu in the Print box. Click "OK."
- Choose where you want to save the PDF file in the Save PDF File As box. Create a name for the file and click "Save." The file will automatically convert to PDF and open up in Adobe Reader. The PDF version of the file cannot be altered.
Large File Transfer
Remote Storage of Electronic Files
Sharing Data with Many Devices
Many Web-based companies offer free and fee-based data storage. This is an easy way to share large files, files that may be too big for email.
IMAGE EDITING SOFTWARE
Adjust photos and graphics. Google offers a free, easy-to-use image editor called Picasa. Also free is GimpShop. Also free is Photoshop Express, an on-line Web tool. The expensive industry standard is Adobe Photoshop software, but it comes in a less-costly version called Photoshop Elements.
Upload your list of e-mail addresses, upload your HTML newsletter or create it on-line, then send it. Each newsletter is e-mailed separately to everyone on your list. [8/22/208]
- www.MailChimp.com -- a commerical service, free for small numbers
- www.ConstantContact.com - a commercial service
- www.GraphicMail.com -- a commerical service
- www.MyMailout.com/email/ -- a commercial service
- www.MyEmma.com -- a commercial service
- www.ShelbyInc.com/ -- this clumsy but reliable church database software has mass e-mail ability. Your organization's software may have this ability as well.
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Survey Monkey on-line surveys are easy to use. While many on-line tools are confusing, the folks at Survey Monkey do a lot to make things clear. This is a commercial service. [8/22/2008]
- Using Listservs -- a resource on this website.
- http://listserv.access.gpo.gov/ -- Introduction to listservs by U.S. Government Printing Office
- http://www.gracemadison.org/ -- Grace Church in Madison uses a listserv - see bottom of their Home page
- http://groups.yahoo.com/ -- Yahoo!'s free listserv
- http://groups.google.com/ -- Google's free listserv
- How members use Google Groups -- instructions for the Brandywine Photo Collective's group
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Once set up, these on-line calendars are easily updated by anyone with the username and password. No special software is needed. A great way to keep your church members informed and visitors as well. Some offer a way to send e-mails to invite people to events as well as a map function.
- Google Calendars are free and have many of the features of the product below as well as integration with Gmail and synchronization with some other calendars.
- Lo Calendars are free as well. Christ Church Dover uses one.
- http://www.mychurchevents.com -- $59.99 a year. Several Delaware churches using this calendar are:
- http://www.ChurchArtOnline.com offers churches the above calendar plus its library of graphics.
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To set up your website to allow secure credit card transactions and donations, you must contract with a company that provides these services. All charge a per-transaction fee and some also charge setup and monthly fees. To see how they work, go to the websites that use these services and make a small donation!
- PayPal Used by Cathedral Church of Saint John, Delaware Valley Chorale, and Arden Swim Club.
- 82North (in Wilmington, Delaware) Used by Cathedral Choir School of Delaware.
- Vanco Services Used by Episcopal Diocese of Delaware.
These software downloads protect your PC against viruses and other malicious pieces of software often embedded in email.
- Herb Quick, webmaster for St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Seaford, says: “I had to reformat my C drive in 2007 due to a virus. I've since been running AVG anti-virus software, Spybot Search & Destroy privacy software, and CCleaner system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. All are freeware and updated frequently. CCleaner gets rid of the temp files and registry files that pile up after a day of graphics and internet. I have not had any significant issues since I began using them.” [8/22/2008]
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1. Never reply to an email asking for personal information or trust a link given in an email.
For example, suppose you are a Wilmington Trust customer and received the following email, asking you to re-activate your account.
Subject: unlock your account
From: Wilmington Trust <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2008 15:16:05 +0200
Your Online Banking Profile Has Been Blocked
For your security, your online banking profile has been locked due to profile inactivity of your phone and unregistered account owner email. Kindly activate your account with your email and receive your bank e-statement:
© 2008 Wilmington Trust Corporation.
If you get an email like this, trash it. If in doubt, use your telephone to call a phone number you trust. (That is, don't call the phone number given in the email; it may be spurious as well.)
The above is an actual email sent out by the thousands on May 12, 2008. Note that everything here looks good. The return address is to Wilmington Trust's website. But the link is not. The link would take you to a website asking for your personal banking information, a website run by thieves. Pray for them but don't let them prey on you.
Note, too, that if you opened this email while your computer was connected to the Internet, your computer automatically alerted the sender that you are someone who opens the messages they send. That means you can expect more of the same, perhaps better disguised.
2. Don't open email from unknown sources, especially if they have attachments.
If you open an email from a stranger, especially if it has an attachment, chances are good that, simply by opening the email, you have automatically sent a message to the stranger, who may be a spammer. Opening the email tells the spammer that you look at their emails. They think, “Oh, happy day, I'll send this unsuspecting person more email.”