Wednesday, January 27

Jacksonville Community Services Directory on Gloo

I was working on adding some functionality to a church website I built when I looked into the company that sent the code I was using. One of the options for church websites is to embed a community services map. I was going to embed an iframe of that map here, but it seems that it's more difficult than other iframes to generate. However, I'll provide a link so that you can check to see if your church or non-profit is listed with the directory

I am sure there are other websites out there that actually provide links to your organization, but if a lot of churches use this Gloo program, it's worth adding your listing, as well. I think it's supposed to function as a way for church members to find places to volunteer and maybe volunteer organizations to find churches that are engaged in the community, so it makes sense to claim your listing, since it seems to be free.

What's nice is the ability to search based on type of organization and then type of services offered. For example, you could search for "Church" and "Online Sermons" in order to get these results, albeit without links to the online sermons. It's very similar to a system I set up for my church about a decade ago for its 100 or so ministries so that people could search based on interest, except that was for a single church rather than a map of an entire country. And I had more categories, which would be nice on the map...it only includes very basic church services. Like my own creation, I assume this resource is underutilized. However, now your church or organization doesn't have the excuse that you didn't know it existed. 

Yes, you can pay $8,000 (PER YEAR!) for an online marketing firm to show you pretty presentations, create a ho-hum app, and sell you free online tools (Wordpress/Google Analytics/Email Newsletters) for a steep cost, or you can list your organization in ways like this, use Google and other free tools, and have a good freelance web designer make a website to which YOU add real content that brings in real traffic looking for a real church. 

This website has about 500 posts and averages 9,000 REAL reads a month, but it's all because of those 500 articles. I don't have an app, unless someone wants to add this site to their home screen (feel free). I don't email anyone. I don't market because I write. Some of my best articles don't even show up on Google anymore because they are no longer deemed relevant, while other articles get Top 10 rock star status. If your church offers addiction counseling, an article about your service might not get any hits because of all the other counseling services, but if you also write articles about how you deliver groceries to members and recycle batteries and make masks for frontline workers, one of those articles might inspire someone to watch a service or visit your church. And if you can link related articles to each other, that also helps. Even if it only inspires people to get involved at another church, your article got hits and results. Most people who find your church are not going to immediately download your app and sign up for newsletters. 

Based on church websites I've built, this website generates about 10 times the traffic of a typical church website that doesn't publish new content. Those churches would benefit from listing with Gloo, but they would benefit more from posting articles. They might be able to fake it a little with SEO and targeted marketing, but the long-term results may not be useful if there's never any new content. Apps don't create content. Neither do great keywords. If you want people to discover the community services at your church, write about them, even if it's a single article about care packs for immigrants from 2015. That said, I'm sure most churches will continue to send email blasts and run tired capital campaigns with no website evidence as to why someone would want to join or give. 


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Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
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Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

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