On Wednesday, October 26, Pilot New Media sponsored a Fall Media Forum for parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston on the topic of “Creating Excellent Parish Websites”. More than 60 parish leaders were present and more watched through online video streaming.
All of our resources from the Forum, including a recording of the livestream (and soon, a professionally edited, high-def version) are available on a new section of our website at www.pilotnewmedia.com/parishwebsites.
- Scot Landry, Secretary for Catholic Media of the Archdiocese of Boston, who introduced the topic and discussed how we did a survey of our 291 parishes, 248 of whom had websites as of April 2011. We graded each website in three broad categories on 68 different attributes to come up with an assessment of every parish. Attendees received their assessment and we are mailing them out to the rest of the parishes. Scot also discussed how we want to assist parishes going forward by providing consultation service and partnering with a capable preferred partner.
- Domenico Bettinelli, Creative Director for Pilot New Media, presented best practices on parish domain names (i.e. website addresses), parish email, and parish websites, based on the research of Charles Zech of the Villanova Center for the Study of Church Management and his own decade-plus of experience in the field. In addition to sharing what content parish websites should offer (and what users of those websites are looking for), Bettinelli advised participants that design and appearance matter and then showed how to choose an effective and intuitive website address and how to create internal processes in the parish to ensure that a well-designed website also stays up to date.
- Terry Poplava, Eileen Herrington, and Aaron Winn of Our Sunday Visitor. Aaron demonstrated the Radius Web Tools product which he co-developed and showed how easy it is to set up and maintain a website with it through your web browser. Eileen showed examples of what other parishes already doing with Radius Web Tools. And Terry discussed the various packages and options for buying the service. It’s basic cost $500 set up and $50 per month, but if you’re already an Our Sunday Visitor offertory solutions customer, there are price breaks and if you’re not, bundle pricing.
Overall it was a very successful gathering and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback as well as requests for further events. We’ll probably be offering another forum in mid-January on the topic of Social Media for parishes and cover the basics. If you’d like to be notified of future events, please sign up for our email list. Don’t worry, we won’t be spamming you, just sending you occasional notices related to our forums.