Not long ago, leaders of parishes, dioceses, religious communities, schools and other organizations were pleased and proud to announce that their community or institution had a website. It was a major achievement. If they had a good website, it was because they (or someone else) put a lot of hard work into it. But today, a website is not enough to be truly present to our current members, visitors and potential new members—we need what I call a “constellation” of websites, services and social media to be accessible and engaging on a daily basis. And that means more work for greater impact. It takes planning and participation by staff and members alike.
Here is a graphic of the constellation that we created as we planned to redesign the website and expand web presence for my religious community (Sisters of Notre Dame, Chardon, Ohio).
We do not have all of these elements in place now, but we envision adding them (or something similar) over time. We are developing our new website with the understanding that it will be the hub of our web presence. We are working to put a few of the elements in place ahead of the launch of the new website.
Last month we launched our community SND Chardon Facebook page and Twitter account. Three sisters administer the Facebook page and for now we are posting from Facebook to Twitter automatically. In time we will do more with Twitter. We also have YouTube and LinkedIn accounts—placeholder accounts for now.
Last week we launched one of four “blogs” to be written by sisters. The first one is called Prayer Poems and features Lectionary-based poetry for Sundays and feastdays. We have three more blogs in planning and design that will cover justice, spirituality, topics of faith.
We have not done anything with Flickr yet—we are hoping to use it to post and share photos taken by our sister photographers. And it will be a year or two before we launch an electronic newsletter, but it is part of our long term planning.
Not shown in the graphic, but to be kept in mind: all print publications need to encourage readers to visit the website and follow the organization on social media.
The point of all this is to demonstrate the importance of having a vision of overall web presence when launching a new website and to build the surrounding pieces as time and resources permit. We do not need to do everything at once, but we do need to have a plan from the beginning.
What is in the constellation surrounding your website? What else would you like to add?