The Church Blog (Part 2)
What is a blog, anyway? The blog is a simply an interactive place on the internet to post a journal, articles, photos, video, or other items the author wants to share with his readers. The dictionary defines blog: “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer”. Blogs can be broken down into many different types or categories. They can be either personal or corporate. They can have a single author or a group of contributors. They can be categorized by media type on the blog, such as text, video, collections of links, any other media type, or a combination of any or all of these. Sometimes blogs are broken down by their genre. Some examples of this would be travel, food, book or movie reviews, religion, or music. In the case of a church, a blog would be a web site containing any of these elements that are relevant to the church.
Creating a blog does not have to be difficult or expensive. There are at least two ways to build a blog. One is to buy a web domain name through a registry and buy or rent the computer server space to host the website yourself. This can get expensive and is totally unnecessary, especially to get started. There are several web based blogging platforms available. Some offer services that you can pay for, but most platforms and their services are free. This even includes hosting the blog site on their server. A search engine search for “blog hosting” will provide a selection of blog hosting web sites. Some examples of these web based platforms are TypePad, WordPress, and Blogger. One of the largest and easiest to use, as well as free, blog hosting sites is WordPress. One benefit in using WordPress is the ability to build and use several individual pages one the single blog address. This ability gives the user much more flexibility in building the blog site to meet the communication needs of the church.
When using WordPress, or any of these platforms, the first thing to do is set up an account. This is really as simple as finding a unique web address for your blog and designating a password. If you were creating a blog on WordPress for First Baptist Church, you might choose the address: http://1stbaptist.wordpress.com. When you activate your account, there are several decisions to make. This is when you will set up your initial design elements. You can pick out a template. These are pre-designed layouts for your blog. You will also decide what other elements to include on your blog page. There is a place to put a title for your blog and to describe the blog, your church, or both. You will most likely want to put some basic information about the church. This might include location, service times, pastor, programs, and any other information you deem relevant.
Another important administrative decision to make is who will contribute to the blog. In a small church, it might simply be the pastor or his designee. In a larger church, you could have a team of bloggers, or even a blog for each staff member. The individual charged with maintaining the blog might assign certain days to certain ministry areas. The decision of who contributes content to the blog may be determined by the overall purpose of the blog.