A Website is the Hub of Web Presence

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on November 28, 2011

in Sisters of Notre Dame, social media, Uncategorized, website

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?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan F. Sullivan November 28, 2011 at 7:19 am

Great post, Sr. Susan. I like to tell people that they don’t get any bonus points for having a web site these days — it’s expected.

Personally I would envision your graphic more as a web than a wheel, since there is a lot of opportunity for using one social media presence to drive another (e.g. feeding your blog into your Facebook page), but your point is well taken.

Thanks for being so open about how your community is moving ahead with social media!

Sr.Marilyn Marie November 28, 2011 at 7:49 am

This is very helpful, Susan, as we look at our communications planning in our province. We can learn so much from one another.

Terrie Baldwin November 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm

This article was excellent in describing how many pieces on the internet can provide connectivity for an organization and how important planning is in working each piece together to create a total presence.

Lisa Hendey November 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Love this post — our parish site still has a way to go to be fully present in all of these places. For now, we have a solid Facebook presence, but not much outside of the main website in these other places. Thanks for helping me to establish some solid goals!

Fr. Robert Dueweke, OSA November 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I find the graphic of web presence very helpful. Can you recommend any web sites that might serve as models?

Marc Cardaronella November 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Thanks for showing us your web strategy.

I agree with Jonathan that it’s much like a web, everything interacting and moving into other aspects. But you’re right on the money that the website is the hub. It has to be the main place of interaction and all the other satellite social presences should flow back into your website. That’s because it is the real estate you “own.”

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND November 29, 2011 at 8:16 am

Dear Fr. Dueweke,

A few parishes that have a “web presence” are: Christ the King in Toledo http://www.cktoledo.org/; the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in DC, http://www.blessedsacramentdc.org/; and St. Mary’s in Colts Neck, NJ, http://www.stmarycoltsneck.com/. Is that what you are looking for?

I wrote an article on Engaging Websites last year. You may wish to refer to it at: http://www.catholicwebsolutions.com/2010/09/27/a-mission-based-web-presence-needs-to-be-engaging/.


Sr. Susan Wolf, SND November 29, 2011 at 8:17 am

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I agree with Jonathan and Marc a web type graphic would be better than the wheel. I will work on that. Thanks for the insight.

Kirste Moline November 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

We have a website, a YouTube portal, a Facebook presence and a huge repository of pictures on Flickr. We just launched an online faith portal at http://www.abecket.org/faithportal.htm where we record and post speakers and homilies. We also record our homilies and post them at http://www.abecket.org/podcast.htm. We are looking forward to delivering Faith Formation content online. In fact, right now we have a beta test group doing a bible study online via Facebook.

These are exciting times for online development in the church. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possibilities. St. Isidore, pray for us.

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