Websites are still an essential part of your digital presence and part of your digital evangelism. While it's tempting for some to skip these - particularly after some bad experiences - and go straight to Facebook, there are opportunities to express the parish in different, creative ways that aren't as fleeting as posts.
The following recommendations are free or low-cost:
If you have a larger budget:
- The Communications office of The Episcopal Church has partnered with Monk Development to create customized, template-based websites. More info here.
- faithconnector has also been used and recommended by several of ECCT's parishes.
- Websolutions, in Meriden, offers custom-built websites that incorporates different modules
How to create a good website
Once you select your provider, you now have to create the site. The Rev. Adam Thomas (who creates websites using Wordpress, see his parish site here) and the Rev. Adam Yates, who also has a fine website, gave a presentation at Spring Training 2016 on "Beautifully Easy Church Websites." Check out their presentation.
2018: With the advent of a description of "What is a parish in this new missional age?" developed by bishops, canons, and lay and ordained members of the four ECCT leadership groups -- and others -- you can use that framework to help shape your content, as long as you can avoid the insider jargon! For example:
- A community of theological imagination: Make sure your website tells visitors how you talk about God, and God in your life, not only from the pulpit but in other ways
- Fed by Word and sacrament: Make sure your website lists your worship services and other sacraments, and opportunities to study the Bible
- Formed as disciples and apostles: Include information about how you help "form" people (of any age) spiritually, preparing them as followers of Jesus, and how (and where, perhaps) you help send them out into the world as apostles - followers of Jesus - participants in God's mission of restoration and reconciliation
- Connected to the wider Body of Christ - At a minimum you'll want to include links to the wider bodies of your Region, ECCT, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion. This can be through icons.