Categories
Website Ideas

Youth Ministry Ideas: How To Create A Magnetic Youth Ministry Website (Link Roundup)

These days, using the web to organize and share your youth ministry ideas and content with teens (and their parents) is a no-brainer. After all, results from a survey conducted by Pew Research indicate that, as of September 2012, 95% of all U.S. teens ages 12-17 are now online.

Further, a 2018 Pew Research survey finds that 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are, in turn, fueling more-persistent online activities. Forty-five percent (45%) of teens say they are online on a near-constant basis.

That’s why it makes sense that youth pastors looking for ways to connect with teens (and their parents) would do well to use the Internet to foster communication and build community.

One way to accomplish that is by building a youth ministry website or adding an unique Web page to your church website.

I looked at a lot of youth ministry pages as part of my research for this article. Most of the church websites I reviewed have included a page that generally describes their youth ministry. Page content was often limited to a mission statement, summary description, and meeting times.

Fact is, these pages are more “push.” Their purpose is to provide (or push) information out about the church’s youth ministry. This isn’t the kind of Web page I’m talking about creating here.

Youth Ministry Ideas: Create A Web Page With “Pull”

The kind of Web page or website I’m referring to should be an efficient, user-friendly option for assembling and sharing your incredible youth ministry ideas and content.

It should be an engaging, interactive, informative hub for teens and parents alike. And, it should “pull” people in by being an exciting, active, virtual tour and experience—a taste—of the life of your youth ministry.

Now, that might sound like a tall order. On the contrary. Achieving it can be easier than you think.

To help get you started, here is a roundup of articles focused on the “why and what” of youth ministry websites.

These should help you think through whether or not creating a website to assemble and share your youth ministry ideas is right for your church.

You’ll also learn why using Facebook alone is a bad option. And, finally, you’ll discover ideas for creating content your site visitors are hungry for.

Why build a Youth Ministry Website? What goes in it?

Should you, shouldn’t you, and what about Facebook?

Four Reasons Why Your Youth Ministry Doesn’t Need a Youth Website
by Frank Gill at YouthMin.org

Four Reasons You Should Have a Youth Ministry Website
by Frank Gill at YouthMin.org

Why Facebook Should Not Be Your Youth Ministry Website
by Jeremy Smith at Churchmag

4 Unique Ways of Using Facebook in Youth Ministry
by Jeremy Smith at Churchmag

Youth Ministry content ideas for your website

Six Sizzling Ideas for Your Website
by Steve Miller at Legacy Youth Ministry Resources

Everything Your Youth Ministry Website Needs
by Jeremy Smith at YouthMin.org

Developing a Youth Group Website
Josh McDowell’s Youth Ministry Handbook: Making the Connection (Chapter 24)

Now, it’s your turn

Is your church using a website with “pull” to assemble and share your youth ministry ideas and content with the world?

Inspire the rest of us! Share a link to it in the Comments below. When you do, enjoy a little SEO link juice on me!

Image Credit: NDO_4532 | Flickr cc

 

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2018 @ 7:51 pm

Categories
Website Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the long weekend with your family & friends!

Categories
Website Ideas

25 Places to Find Photos Online

First, you need to find a great image. This starts by identifying what message you want to convey. An image the matches in tones, and the colors of your website.

A few places to find images:

Kave Wall is a graphic design firm that also has a stock photo library. Many of the images appear to be free for the small sizes, but they also offer a full resolution catalog of 1,700-plus photos for $199.

Nations Illustrated This site features travel photographs, which are often popular and beautiful.  The downside is the site doesn’t make it clear where the images come from; however, the user agreement states that you may use the images for personal, non-commercial purposes.

Historical Stock Photos has a great collection of historical photos.

Veer is a free and paid photo site.  Each week they handpick images to put in their free gallery.

Public-Domain-Photos offers 5,000 free photos and 8,000 free clip art items. All photos on this website are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial.

Image After offers a simple search tool with drop-down choices. You can also search by term and as soon as you click the image you like, it brings up options to download.

Design Packs is aimed at Web designers and offers free stock photo sets, already zipped up, ready for download.

Free Foto offers a huge library of images. They offer free online use, with higher quality images available for a fee.

Photo Rack offers a large catalog of free images. Their terms of use are simple: “All photos at PhotoRack are Free to use for personal and commercial projects. No limitations. No backlink required to use them; however, we really appreciate it if you post about us in your blog.”  The service is organized in a forum structure and photos are then subcategorized within each section.  They mention a search box in their help file, but I could not find it, so you have to scroll through.

Deposit Photos is a fee-based service, but I mention them here because their 7-day free trial allows you to download five images per day for seven days. You have to enter a credit card, but their agreement on this page states that you can cancel at any time.

Free Pixels offers a smaller collection than some of the other providers here; however, they have millions of views in each category. This implies that they have a lot of quality images and people are spreading the word. I found a number of eye-catching images worth downloading.  “Every Freepixels image or digital creation used must retain the domain name: freepixels.com when used on the Internet, in a Web page, in printed publications, or in any product, advertising, or packaging.”  They seem reasonable and will allow you to remove the watermark on the image if you provide credit near the image itself. Read the terms.

Photo Rogue is incredibly unique. I would categorize them as a photo request site.  You can submit a specific photo you’re looking for and a volunteer photographer will go out and try to create it for you. While they don’t have many requests in the service yet, this site could take off and provide an interesting model for both buyers and sellers of photography.

Free Range Stock is another of my favorites in the free stock world.   It is a photographic community supported by ad revenue – photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions. Images on the site are either shot by Freerange Stock, drawn from Freerange archives, or contributed by a talented community of photographers.

Geek Philosopher offers a free stock photo page and they request a detailed backlink for use of their free images.

Cepolina is a travel and nature focused site, but has over 16,000 images and also organizes by color for those who want to find a photo to match their website. I found some very good food images here, too. You can download by size, up to 1,600 x 1,200 pixels.

Abstract Influence is a photography community and reportedly allows members to download free photos, but I couldn’t find evidence of that without joining.  You can see and peruse different photo libraries and categories without joining, so if you’re looking for an original photo this might be a good place to search. (No guarantee that it is free, however.)

Stock.XCHNG is now owned by Getty Images, but as far as I could tell it was still a free photo site.  SXC has a long history, a great community, and tons of images on their unique site. How big is big? A huge gallery containing over 350,000 quality stock photos by more than 30,000 photographers.

Every Stock Photo is a search engine for free photos. The photos come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo’s license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and you need to become a member to download photos.

Imagebase by David Niblack appears to be a labor of love.  David Niblack makes his images available for public use. The images are free and very few conditions are placed on them — read it here. There are not thousands of images here, but there are some good ones in the people, objects, city and nature categories.

Morguefile provides free images for personal and commercial work. Their tagline says it all: “Public Image Archive for Creatives by Creatives.”  They also offer a way for you to add your own photos to morgueFile so that you can give back to the creative community.

Open Photo. This site has a range of photo categories with plenty of images in each one.  Once you click on the photo you like, you can see the details about copyright, creative commons, and other rights and expectations (such as a link back) in a simple box to the right.

Stock Vault is a pretty slick site.  When you pick a photo, it brings up the image and details about the photographer. Next to the image is a button that says, “Support this User,” and when you scroll over it, it says, “Buy Him a Coffee.” In the upper left portion, it simply says download and you can get the image immediately.

Unprofound is a photo site sorted by color. You pick one of six colors or white and peruse a range of photos. You can use a basic search engine on the site, but they advise you keep to simple terms.  This is not a huge collection of photos (it is run by one person), but it offers truly free photos. “This collection of photos is for anyone to use in just about any way they’d like” is what the FAQ states.

Toasto is a simple free photo site by one photographer.  You can browse photos by categories such as nature, technology, computing, food, and even by concept and idea. Photos are available on a creative commons license as long your use is non-commercial and attributed to the site.

Photoree is a photo search engine that searches creative commons licensed photos. In a simple dropdown menu, you can pick the license that is right for you.  This image came from a simple search on “mobile device” and “creative commons, commercial use OK.”

Free Photos Bank is a solid site with lots of images, particularly for business users. They have ads, too, so don’t get distracted. They have a quick navigation button at the top right which can drop you into the section you want.

Fotolia is paid site, but has free images you can download. You have to register to complete a download, however.

Free Digital Photos. Images are free provided you publish a credit to the person who created the image. Instructions for publishing credits can be found to the right of every image – click the “Acknowledgement required” link. If you would rather not publish a credit you must purchase a licence, starting at just $5 per image.

PublicDomainPictures.net is a repository for free public domain photos. You can upload your own pictures and share your work with others.  They do make statements that model and property releases are not standard, so be careful how you use these photos.  However, they are all free for use.

iStockphoto is one of my regular stops when I’m looking for an image.  They were one of the first to offer user-generated, royalty-free stock photos, including video, illustrations, vector images, and audio. They also offer flash-based images as well.  You can buy a regular subscription plan or pay-as-you-go.  There is a free photo of the week, too.

Categories
Website Ideas

Creative Tech Bundle

Last week I was notified from our advertising network, Beacon Ads, that Church Website Ideas was featured in an advertising bundle focusing on the creative & technology niche. I enjoy working with the Beacon Ad Network and I know you will too! This is a great opportunity for those of you who are looking to market your product or service over 13 different christian tech websites!

If you’re interested check out the bundle here.

Categories
Website Ideas

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Church Website Ideas! I am praying that today people will come to your church and experience the joy of the God who defeated death. He has risen!

Categories
Website Ideas

The Standard Theme Switch

I have made a few changes to Church Website Ideas today. First is the new design, which really was pushed by our move to the Standard Theme, from Thesis. Why the switch? After watching load times for our previous design, I was not happy with the site performance. This was not really the fault of Thesis theme. It had to do more with my coding and hosting situation. So now, the blog is running on a much faster server, with a more optimized theme, so this should help with the load times people were experiencing.

Also, I moved the comment system over to Disqus, which will allow you to login via Facebook, Twitter, OpenID, or you can setup your own login. This move should help me manage the spam, and also help me keep better tabs on my responses.

So, as I work on increasing post frequency, you will keep noticing small changes to the site. I hope you enjoy it!

Categories
Website Ideas

Church Website Ideas on Facebook

Well, this has been a slow week for posts, but I have one piece of news that I want to share with you. We are now on Facebook! You will notice the Facebook widget at the bottom of the sidebar. We need to get over 25 likes before we get a nice URL for our page. Until then, you can find our page at the super lame URL: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Church-Website-Ideas/155466287829234.

We are also adding a like button to the post pages, so if you find a post you like, click the button, share the love.

Categories
Website Ideas

Where does inspiration come from?

I heard an interesting sermon last Sunday at my church about inspiration. It made me think, where do we reach for inspiration. The christian answer is that my inspiration comes from God, from the creator of the universe. While this is true, he gives inspiration, but where do you look for that inspiration. I honestly have never been struggling for a design idea or concept and reached to my bible.

http://dribbble.com
http://www.smashingmagazine.com
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com

Homepage

Categories
Website Ideas

My deal for your church website

I have been extremely busy the last few months. I am a full time flash designer and developer, I run a freelance business, and I have started a design studio. I am also a Jesus lover and a husband. My wife and I are also moving to Mexico in January to work with some missionaries down there for about 7 months. So this presents me with a new change, I have to leave my day job. I love my work, I love what I do, but I love Jesus even more, so we are going to listen to him. Since I am leaving my job, this has provided me more opportunity to freelance, which is what I really love to do. Now I find myself facing much more free time than before, large projects are winding down and I have taken on smaller projects. Now it’s my turn to help out churches again. My mission has always been to kill bad church websites, so let’s do something about it!

What does all this have to do with a deal? Well my friends, I am offering my design services for your church website for only $500. Yep. $500 gets you a custom designed website, from me and my team at Bearded Design, and built on WordPress.

Interested? Want to sign up? You can go here to a special page I setup at Bearded Design for this offer.

Oh and if you want to see my work, jesseorndorff.com. Also, if you’re a designer and want to get in on this deal, by offering your services to churches, shoot me an email. I’ll post your product & offer, let’s do this together.

Categories
Website Ideas

10 Reasons Not to Upset Your Church Website Designer

We have all been there, upset, angry, and really, downright pissed off. It happens for all sorts of reasons, missed deadlines, unreasonable requests, endless after hours phone calls, pointless meetings, lack of caffeine and about 10,000 more reasons. Here are 10 reasons you should try not to upset your web designer or the person in charge of your church website. (These are for fun, not like any of us would really do these. Right?)

Categories
Website Ideas

Favorites of the Week – May 28th

I spend hours everyday finding great resources, images, galleries, and code to share. Each week I want to share with you some of my favorite resources I have found in hopes that it would bless your ministry and help your church online.

Categories
Website Ideas

What is Church Website Ideas?

I wanted to take time this week to organize my thoughts about what the overall vision is for Church Website Ideas. To be honest, I did not intend for this to become something that would be popular. I have viewed this project as a way for me to express how I feel about church websites and provide some tools to help everyone out. So what is this site all about?