Whenever I hear someone introduced as a web or social media expert, I immediately get skeptical. How much experience does it take to become an expert? And realistically, how could someone become an expert at such a new and ever-changing medium?
About sixteen years ago I was working my ﬁrst job at a web marketing company. We designed websites and helped companies get their sites listed on the major search engines. I got really good at my job. But when I look back on what I used to do at that job, I realize how much things have changed.
Flash was a budding technology that everyone was excited about. Now people are moving away from the technology because of mobile devices and Apple products that don’t play nicely.
Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer were the two big browsers battling it out. Now Netscape doesn’t even exist.
Yahoo! was the big search engine everyone wanted to be listed on. And close seconds were Excite, AltaVista, and Lycos. And what we did to get websites listed on those search engines… Google will blacklist you for that nowadays.
You see, it’s nearly impossible to be an expert on the Internet. Things change so
So while it’s impossible to be the guru everyone wants to be, it is possible to keep on the cutting edge of the medium. You might not know everything. But if you can stay ahead of the trends and even make your own, you can lead the ﬁeld. I’m proud to say many churches aren’t just keeping up with the web ﬁeld; they’re leading the way.
Unfortunately, I see many churches copying those ﬁeld leaders. There are a few churches everyone seems to be copying. When one of those churches releases a new web design, wait a couple months and you’ll see dozens of clones across the Internet.
But the cutting edge churches everyone mimics didn’t get to where they were by copying. They got there by trying new things and seeing what was right for their church.
That’s why this e-book isn’t necessarily about best practices. We won’t be dissecting popular church websites to see what you can cut-and-paste for your own website. Instead, we’ll look at principles and concepts. These things don’t depend on technology. They rely on human nature, and they work because they reach people.
If you’re honest in your analysis of your church and how to apply these principles, I truly believe you can come up with something innovative for your website. You can even set the bar for what future churches will do on their websites.
So put on your thinking cap. Prepare to rethink the way you’re approaching your church website. You might ﬁnd out you’ve been approaching it completely wrong.