The Greatest, or Perhaps the Worst, President’s Day Bulletin Announcement Ever

Back when I was running my church’s website, we ran this bulletin announcement every President’s Day Weekend weekend. And now it’s yours to use this year.

PARDON US…
On Presidents’ Day Weekend, the Web Team asks you to Grant us the favor of a Polk around the parish web site, [URL]. We decided to Fillmore space by Lincoln to other great web sites. Be on the cutting- and Coolidge of technology, which we Taylor each week to meet your needs. Don’t beat around the Bush, but a-Ford yourself of this opportunity today. We’re not making this up, dude — it’s Truman!

president's day bulletin announcement
For professional use only. Handle with care.
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What Do Facebook Page Admins Want? Here’s What I Told Facebook

Facebook sent me a Facebook Page Admin survey that included an open-ended comment section at the end. What would be on your list of requests as a Facebook administrator for a church page? Off the top of my head, here’s how I replied.

  • Better incorporation of my organization’s existing Google Analytics account
  • Choice of URL shorteners and tracking
  • Option to schedule future posts within the main Facebook interface
  • More options for applying formatting to text in a wall post
  • A preview screen that shows how many lines will appear before it’s cut off by “more…” once a wall post is published.
  • Allow Youtube videos to be embedded without being surrounded by scroll bars (yes, Facebook, I know you’re encouraging us to upload our church videos directly to Facebook video, but c’mon. YouTube remains the industry standard for video embedding, for now at least, and should be accommodated.)
  • When a post includes multiple links make it easier to pick which one shows up in the blurb rather than defaulting to the first one.
  • When an event is posted to the wall, provide the option to include the existing photo of the event and more details. The previous version allowed this. The current one-line description on the wall doesn’t make it clear which link is for the event and does not help with engagement at all.

Along the way, I noticed along the way that Facebook uses Intellisurvey for soliciting feedback.

Those are some Facebook Page improvements I’d like to see administrators have. Did you receive a survey? What are you clamoring for from Facebook?

New Year Checklist for a Good Looking Church Website

8 Quick Fixes to Start Your Year Right

You know the gyms are going to be crowded at this time of year, but what kind of shape is your church website? Follow this quick-fix checklist to make sure your parish looks its best before you head out into 2012.

  1. Do you still have Christmas graphics up after the Epiphany? Now’s the time to take them down before you end up looking like that neighbor who leaves Christmas lights up all year.
  2. Has anyone asked any of your Frequently Asked Questions in the past year? Are the answers still accurate? You might want to check the freshness of your “About Us” page, too. (Here are some good About-Us examples from the business world.)
  3.  Is your domain name expiring this year? Renew it before you risk losing your entire site.
  4.  Did you add any new social media accounts in the past year? Make sure all of them are listed on your site and in your marketing materials. Reorder the list if you are more active on some than others. And confirm that you are using consistent imagery and descriptions across all of these networks.
  5. Got the wrong copyright year at the bottom of your website? That’s oh so 2011. Here’s how to fix that problem so your site automatically updates each year. If your site runs on PHP, use this line of code (without the spaces):
    &Copy; Copyright < ? php echo date ( ' Y ' ) ; ? > Your
    Business Name or Site

    This will give you:
    © Copyright 2012 Acme, Inc.

    this year and next year the 2012 will automatically switch to 2013.

    If you don’t have PHP, you’ll need to resort to JavaScript.

    Copyright &Copy; <script type="text/java script">
     document.write(new Date().getFullYear());
     </script> Your Business Name or Site Name

    And remember, you can copyright your content but copyright law doesn’t protect domain names.

  6. Do your “contact us” forms still work? Fill them out, submit and then check that the confirmation message remains relevant and that the message reaches the proper inbox. And if these submissions go to someone other than you, it’s a good opportunity to see how fast your parish staff or designated volunteer replies.
  7. Repeat step 6 with your online donations forms. (Actually, that’s a good one to check before the end of the year. Sorry about that!)
  8.  Did any of your parish policies change, such as how you register as a parishioner or timelines for wedding and baptism preparations? Update your site and remind your staff accordingly.

Those are some key items to get you started on reviewing your parish website. So, what are you doing for your church to look good in the new year?

(Note: I wrote a small business-focused version of this article for NFIB that appeared as New Year Checklist for a Good Looking Small Business)

Examples of Copyright Dates on Church Websites

Example of StCharlesChurch.org with the wrong year on home page
Wrong year on StCharlesChurch.org
StJohnsTipton.com doesn't use a year in its copyright notice.
StJohnsTipton.com avoids the issue by not putting a year in its copyright notice.
Mary.org's great site needs to fix that 2007 copyright date.
Mary.org's great site needs to fix that 2007 copyright date.
SMIP.org shows 2011 in January 2012
SMIP.org shows 2011 in January 2012
CrossintheWoods.com shows the previous year's date.
CrossintheWoods.com shows the previous year's date.

Talk Like a Pirate Day 2011 for Christians

By Sune Rievers on Flickr
By Sune Rievers on Flickr

It’s September 19 so it must be, what, Monday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time (or Twitter version)? It’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Celebrate with this buried treasure from ChurchMojo.com we arrrrgh diggin’ up for this here special occasion.

My mateys in crime also delivered:

Jonathan Sullivan shared this gem on Google+ if you want to go pirate and Episcopalian (cursed PDF alas)

Ironic Catholic struck gold again with F’thr Pete the Pirate Receives His First Parish Assignment.

Even More #CatholicRulesForTwitter

Catholic Rules for TwitterForgive me, Father, for I have sinned – I missed the #CatholicRulesForTwitter meme that broke out on Twitter during April Fool’s Day. (Pulling off my competing stunt doesn’t excuse my absence.) Had I fulfilled my obligation that day, here’s what I would have tweeted.

More #CatholicRulesForTwitter

  1. Lent begins on Hashtag Wednesday.
  2. Maximum tweet length is 125 – leave room for #theholyspirit.
  3. #FF actually stands for Fish-Fridays.
  4. When quoting Scripture, be vague and don’t provide a link to the exact verse (the exception, of course, is @todaysreadings).
  5. Yellow–or more precisely, gold–makes the best Twitter background. #CatholicGild.
  6. Late for Mass? Only check into Foursquare if you do so before the Gospel.
  7. If you give up Twitter for Lent, you can still tweet on Sundays.
  8. Learn from the example of Jonah and the FailWhale
  9. Using fake words that start with tw- is as grating as using catechesis instead of education
  10. Tweeting during the homily is okay if you make it look like you’re reading the bulletin

Whew, I feel much better now that I’ve got that off my chest. Here are my favorite Twitter rules for Catholics that have already been handed down::

http://twitter.com/CatholicDan/status/54015990333325312

The #CatholicRulesForTwitter meme is another great example of how the faithful can have some fun on April Fool’s Day. I just wish 1) I thought of it, and 2) jumped on it earlier. So what’s your favorite rule?

Opening Day: Top 10 Ways Going to Mass Imitates Baseball

Baseball begins this year in the middle of Lent, giving us two opportunities for a fresh start. In that spirit, let’s take another look at 10 ways going to Mass imitates baseball.

10. Sometimes you stand and sing, other times you sit.
See the rest of the list…

(If you enjoy the intersection of faith and sports, check out my March Madness brackets for church-goers.)

How to Disconnect a Contact on LinkedIn

This exchange on Twitter showed that it’s difficult to find how to unfriend or remove a connection from LinkedIn — but I’ll show you how below. You just need to know where to look.

The tricky part is that you can’t remove the LinkedIn contact from the profile page. Instead:

    1. Click “Contacts” from the main LinkedIn menu bar.
    2. Click “Remove Connections” from the upper right corner.
    3. Select the name(s) you wish to remove.
    4. Click the “Remove Connections” button.

Larger view on Flickr of Delete a contact from LinkedIn
Larger view on Flickr of completing the process of deleting a LinkedIn connection

Now why would you want to delete a LinkedIn contact? Unless the person is abusive or spamming the heck out of you, I’d err on keeping the connection even if you’ve had a falling out. Why burn the bridge? But, now you know how to do so if you ever need to — or if your pastor asks how to drop a parishioner from his LinkedIn address book.