Music & Video Resources – August 23

Check out the worship music resources and worship video resources section of the site – we’ve just updated each section to include some great song and video suggestions for this coming Sunday…

Additionally, our searchable song index is a great way to find music for your contemporary worship service – you can search by artist, song or theme. Check it out!

Building a Church PA System: Powered PA Speakers

Choosing the right equipment for your church PA system can be a daunting task. Each room, band, and worship setting places different demands on the gear, and most congregations find themselves in search of a PA system that can be used in a variety of ways.

Since the typical church PA will be used to amplify spoken word, singing, instruments, recorded music, and just about everything else you can imagine, using versatile speakers is a must in the worship environment.

Along these same lines, many congregations need speakers that can be easily set up, packed up, and can handle the rigors of being transported from Point A to Point B. This is especially true for congregations in a mobile situation, where the church might use a school, movie theater, or other venue for their weekly services.

If you’re looking for some versatile sounding speakers that are built with durability in mind, using powered PA speakers might be the way to go. Most are built in sturdy enclosures, and are usable as either stage monitors or front of house speakers. As an additional benefit, powered PA speakers have the power amplifiers built-in the to speaker cabinet, meaning you’ll have less equipment to haul around each week, and less cabling to worry about when setting up and tearing down the PA.

Stop by the Guide to Worship site for more information of some specific powered PA speakers for your congregation. And, as always, feel free to email us with any specific questions you might have…we’re here to help!

Music and Videos for Contemporary Worship (August 16)

We’re focusing on Proverbs 9:1-6 this week, specifically on the idea of abundance amidst scarcity. As such, we’ve outlined some great contemporary worship song ideas and worship video suggestions on the Guide to Worship website.

Check out the free MP3 and video previews on the site!

Glory Revealed II Album Review

Well, consider us pleasantly surprised…Glory Revealed II is chock-full of songs that just might work splendidly for your contemporary worship ensemble.

While I’m a sucker for bluegrass, the album does feature strong harmonies and interesting instrumentation throughout. A true breath of fresh air, I hope you enjoy the album as much as we did!

Check out the full review of Glory Revealed II.

Top Church Website Mistakes

Looking to avoid some common web design pitfalls when building your church website? Outlined below are some common mistakes churches make when building a website. If you’re interested in reading further and need some great church website design resources, please check out our article on church website design.

1. Critical Information is Hard to Find

It sounds hard to believe, but there are numerous church websites that fail to give visitors the basic information needed to get them to a worship service. Vital information for your home page includes:

  • Who You Are (denomination)
  • Where You Are (map, address, & directions are helpful)
  • When You Worship (service times, formats)
  • How You Can Be Contacted (phone #’s, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc…)
  • What’s Happening (youth programming, small groups, etc…)

Make sure the vital information for your congregation is highly visible to visitors…most of them won’t click more than a page or two to find it otherwise!

2. The Website is Hard to Navigate

As a general rule of thumb, a user should be able to get from one page on your website to any other page on the site within 2-3 clicks of the mouse. Make sure that the navigation menu on your church website is easy to use, and that the overall design is simple enough that users know where they are, where they can go, and how they can go “home” if needed.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to reserve the use of colored text for links only. This is a great way to make sure a visitor knows what is a link, and what isn’t.

3. Misspelled Words & Poor Grammar

While this one might seem like a given, make sure you run a simple spellcheck on your website before adding new content. In addition, have a fresh set of eyes read your pages before you post them. Enough said.

3. Too Much Flash (not enough function)

While increasingly popular, websites that rely heavily on Flash are notorious for bogging down the browsers of users. In addition, Flash isn’t easily recognized by popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo, meaning that a simple internet search for your church might be unsuccessful (boo, Flash).

If you need to incorporate Flash into your website, use it sparingly, and make sure that the content is replicated elsewhere in order to ensure accessibility by the search engines and searchers alike.

4. The Search Engines are Your Friend

You could have the best-looking website around, but if no one can find it, what good is it doing your congregation? Some basics in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) include attaching ALT tags to images (allowing users with disabilities to fully access your page), and making sure that your link titles are descriptive (don’t use “click here” ).

In addition, making sure that you include a page description and keywords for each page on the website is a great way to ensure that users will be able to find your page in a Google or Yahoo search.

5. Poor Color Schemes

When designing your church website, you’ll want to make sure that the overall color scheme isn’t difficult to read, or hard on the eyes. Common mistakes include using a background color/font color combination that lack contrast (making the text difficult or impossible to read), or using a font style that is also difficult to read.

If you’re unfamiliar with how to pick out complimentary color schemes, Adobe Kuler is a great tool. Additionally, sticking with a standard font such as Verdana, Arial, Sans Serif, or Times New Roman is usually a great way to ensure the consistent display of all your text, regardless of the browser being used.

6. The Website is Outdated

There’s nothing worse (that might be a slight exaggeration) that visiting a site that is outdated. In the world of church websites, it’s critical that the “current events” listed on your site are actually current, and that the page is kept up-to-date with the latest happenings in the life of your congregation. In doing so, you’ll lend a lot of credibility to your site, and greatly increase the chance that visitors/congregants will view the site/visit your church on a regular basis.

7. Large Text Blocks

While having a lot of content on your church website is a great idea, making sure it’s laid out in an easy-to-read fashion is an even better idea. Writing for the web means that you’ll need to use shorter paragraphs, and include headers, bulleted lists, and other features in order to avoid “reader fatigue”. Web readers aren’t interested in reading a novel – they want the Cliff Notes version. As such, it’s usually a good idea to keep the content clear, concise, and easy to read.

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Update: Church Website Resources

Greetings Virtual World,

We’ve just posted some great resources that we hope will help in the creation of a website for your church. Included are some free resources, free web design software, and free images…

Check it out:

Worship Technology – Church Websites

And make sure you stop back tomorrow, when we’ll blog/rant/whine about the top mistakes many churches make with their websites…

Contemporary Worship for August 2nd, 2009

Greetings…

We’ve just posted a few resources that we hope you’ll find helpful in planning your next contemporary worship service. As such, feel free to check out our recommended list of praise and worship songs for Sunday, August 2.

Likewise, we’ve updated the worship video section of the website with some gems for this week’s readings. Check out the latest worship videos for your contemporary worship service, and let us know what you think!

Tomorrow we’ll be adding an article with some great tips and hints on designing a website for your church, praise band, or ministry. Make sure to stop by and check it out!

Looking for a new acoustic/electric guitar?

Check out the reviews of some great acoustic-electric guitars for use in your contemporary worship band. From fail-safe guitars for beginners, to some high-end beauties, we’ve examined some of the top acoustic-electric guitars on the market.

If you’re looking for a little more rock, make sure you read the reviews of the top electric guitars for use in your praise band!

Posted in: acoustic-electric guitars by guidetow No Comments

New Worship Videos and Songs for July 26

Just updated the 0l’ website with some great resources for the coming Sunday…

For some worship video suggestions (and free previews), check out the contemporary worship videos section. Additionally, we’ve outlined the top 10 worship songs for this Sunday (in our humble opinion).

In hopes of simplifying your song selection process, we’ve also included some previews of each song via Amazon, and included links so for downloading MP3′s and sheetmusic (via iTunes and Music Notes).

Worship Songs – Indexed!

Hey All,

We just posted a searchable worship song index, as part of the supplementary material to the upcoming book, A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship.

Check out the searchable worship song index on the site, it’s a great way to find a song based on a desired theme, or by song name/artist. In addition, we’ve provided some handy-dandy links that will allow you to download the song from iTunes, and/or purchase the sheet music from our friends at Music Notes.

While the book isn’t out yet, we figured that this was one resource that might prove valuable to your contemporary worship service planning…

Let us know what you think!