A collection of links, tips and advice for churches, parishes and benefices looking to create or improve their website.
A Church Near You (ACNY)
Every Church of England church in the country can be found on www.achurchnearyou.com
ACNY is run by the national Church of England Digital Communications Team. For help with your church pages on it please visit their Help Centre which has a wealth of helpful information including:
- Guidance on registering for an account and requesting to edit churches, and the approval process for lay leaders, administrators, and clergy, and for churches in vacancy, and updating editor profiles.
- Guidance on how to update church and clergy contact information, services and events, tabs and pages, and photos and logos
- Planned downtime, updates, and changes, know issues and bugs, things they’re currently working on, and how to send your feature and tag requests.
ChurchEdit is perfect for churches of all sizes looking to start their own website as it requires no technical knowledge. There’s no software to install and their service offers free technical support by telephone.
Visit their website at www.churchedit.co.uk
“ChurchDesk is simple, all-in-one Church Management Software that supports your work and helps you build stronger relationships. By providing the most intuitive and user-friendly platform for churches, we enable any person in the church to benefit from the opportunities technology presents.”
Visit their website at www.churchdesk.com
Tips and advice
Ensure your church website is compliant with safeguarding policy
The Church of England’s Parish Safeguarding Handbook which all parishes and clergy are required to comply with, states that parishes must “ensure that safeguarding arrangements are clearly visible on the front page of the parish website”.
A link entitled “Safeguarding” in the header or footer of your site, or indeed solely on the homepage of your site, is sufficient.
We advise parishes to include the following information on the page it links to:
- Link to the Diocesan Safeguarding web pages at www.dioceseofnorwich.org/about/safeguarding – this page has the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor’s contact details and details of how anyone can report a concern.
- Give clear information about who to contact in the benefice (your Named Persons) if anyone has safeguarding concerns, and include their contact details.
If you do not have a parish website but use A Church Near You, the Parish Safeguarding Handbook states “in this situation the parish may want to offer some information on the A Church Near You website.” We recommend therefore that you apply the information outlined above on your A Church Near You site. For help with ACNY, visit their help centre.
Claim your church listing on Google
When someone searches for your church on Google, a box appears in the right hand corner which gives contact details, location information and more about your church. These information boxes are called ‘Google cards’ – and we would encourage all churches to claim their card so it can be used effectively and accurately to promote your church.
You’ll need to create a Google My Business listing (or get access to one, if it already exists). Watch this video for help with how to do this. If you have any questions please email the national Church of England Digital Communications Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
360° virtual tours inside your church
The first step into a church building for many is the hardest. Perhaps the last time they went to church was for a school service or a family member’s funeral? Maybe they have walked or driven past many hundreds of times but always wondered what the church is actually like inside?
It’s now commonplace for people to look at maps on their smart phone or iPad (other generic devices are available!) and at a click find the location of their nearest takeaway, petrol station or church. But it is becoming increasingly popular to click on that place and take a look inside. Not only can you see static photos of the place you choose, but you can now take virtual tours inside. You can feel immersed in the photo and move around the building.
Google tours are just that: panoramic photos of your building but stitched together so the user can look left, right, up, down and 360° around. The user can also move within the building, ‘walking’ up the aisle to the nave or zooming in towards parts of the building they wish to see in more detail.
How do you go about getting a Google tour inside your church?
Google train and licence ‘Trusted Business View Photographers’ across the country who are authorised and experts in creating virtual tours using their technology.
In Norfolk, Paul Brittain is one of those experts and has a real passion and enthusiasm for our historic churches. While day-to-day he creates the virtual tours for businesses, shops, hotels and restaurants, at the weekends he visits churches and to date he has completed about 60 in north Norfolk.
If you are interested in inviting Paul to come to your church then you can contact him directly on 01263 634010 or via www.prevolution.co.uk