9 Tips for Good (Online) Communication

1. Lower the drawbridge. Whether via your Web site, blog, MySpace or Facebook page, your presence online is a drawbridge to bring people into your "world." Your online presence is not your world; it's the bridge between the person and your world.

2. Offer a call to action. What do you want people to do as a result of interacting with your online presence. Do you want them to come to an event? Request more info? Tell a friend? Pray? If you don't know what you want people doing, how will you ever know how to get them to do it?

3. RSS is your friend. The more you can deliver your information via RSS (Really Simple Syndication), the more helpful you become in getting people the information they want when they want it. From event announcements to volunteer assignments, if you haven't met already, RSS is just waiting to be your friend.

4. Think in links. The more links you have on your site, the more people tend to hang around. Perhaps it's the inner explorer in all of us, but when there is more to click, there is more reason to stick.

5. Follow the two-second rule. Don't assume people are going to stick around long when they come to you online. We make judgments in a snap. And we'll move on if you don't engage us, interest us or inform us. If we stay for more than two seconds on your site, well done.

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6. Printed content does not equal Web content. Just because you have something in print doesn't mean you have to have it online. And if you do have to have it online, don't just copy and paste the text from your printed piece to your online piece. The audience is different, the context is different and the format is different.

7. Blog for you, not them. No one cares more about what you think than you do. Now that you know that, the only reason you should be blogging is because you just have to get your thoughts out of your head and into some sort of online journal format. Ironically, the more you blog from your head and heart, the more people will actually start tuning in because they see how important this stuff is to you.

8. Don't reinvent the wheel. There are hundreds of thousands of prewritten Web code, shortcuts and plug-ins that can help you. That's not a license to get lazy and be a copycat, but there's also no reason to reinvent the wheel just because you hired a Web designer who helped start pets.com before the dot-bomb days. If we're really all about loving people and seeing them get closer to Jesus, there are more important things to spend time doing than designing the Holy Grail of Web sites.

9. Share. Don't be selfish and think that you're God's online gift to humanity. If what you have is so great, others could probably benefit from it too. So share.


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