No, this is not the name of some lame youth ministry (though I’ve actually seen that used one place … not very successfully). It is my admonishiment to you to “break a vase” … “drop a dime” … “INVEST SOME TALENTS” on your web presence.
I know, I know, you don’t have much of a budget, but there is a big difference between being cheap and being thrifty. Some of you have suffered the false economy of the former … or as the addage goes … have reaped the bitter fruit of being “penny-wise and pound foolish“.
But what good is it to do everything I say here to your HTML, your CSS, your CGI. What good is it to craft a page and/or site that looks great if it’s hidden under a jar ? If you want to attract new visitors, not only does your content have to have somewhat of a professional look’n'feel, but so does your domain name. No lie, I have actually driven by some churches and seen them post on their marquee outside “we’re on the web at http://members.aol.c0m/~nonsuch1234/church/index.htm“.
Well you may be on the web, but either I’ve ignored your sign, or I’m in a ditch because it took more than 2 seconds to read … and even then, I couldn’t remember it. And how many of you pastors are tired of getting spammed to your personal e-mail account because some ner-do-well spambot’d your church page?
When I’m looking for a church, I want a place that isn’t so cheap my little girl will get hurt in the nursery, and my wife won’t get her dress snagged and torn on shoddy construction. And I want a place that can respond quickly to queries made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I’m setting up a church website, I want a place that will allow me to install useful scripts, such as content manglement systems, guest books, bloggers and other stuff that makes my work managing the site easier. I like to be able to provide listervs and e-mail aliasing. Things that the internet operations no only look good, but provide a huge range of services to both potential and existing members.
And believe it or not, none of this has cost alot of money … in fact, if your savvy, you can get it done for less than $100 per year … for example (in alphabetical order):
- AletiaHosting starting at $95 per Year
- CyberPixels starting at $65.95 per Year
- Dixie Internet Systems starting at $19.95 per Year
- DomiNet starting at per $35 Year
- Netacore $5 monthly totalling to $60 per Year
Look at the plans carefully, some of them give you a free domain name, some offer it to you for much less than the $35 at VeriSign/Network Solutions. And if that doen’st cut it for you, you can try register services such as GoDaddy.com, which will sell you one for $8.95 per year.
Now of course, you do get what you pay for. So if you have a large site, with large needs, lots of volume which requires 24×7 uptime and telephone support. Don’t use these providers. My experience with some of them is that they are responsive, but outtages do occur. Then again, if your church’s needs are that large, you should have the budget to hire a better hosting service.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6