The launch in mid-October of Vital Practices has yielded plenty of usable ideas. Case in point: a brief consideration of how parish web sites can welcome visitors on Christmas Eve with greater hospitality and more usable information.
… Review your web page, voice mail, banners and signage through the eyes of someone visiting your parish for the first time.
… Take a page from NPR’s digital media developers and go to a coffee shop, laptop in tow, and buy coffee for a stranger who is willing to poke around your website. Does their impression of your parish match up to your own sense of what the parish is?
… Select your parish’s top stories from the past year and feature these on the homepage. These provide wonderful insight for potential visitors into the nature and values of the community they will be visiting on Christmas.
… List your Christmas service times and include photos from last year’s service. If you don’t have any, make sure to ask someone to photograph this year’s event and save these photos for next year’s outreach.
… Include the service times for the major feast days that take place from Christmas through Epiphany. These are great opportunities for folks to return.
… Commit to a longer term review of your parish’s hospitality, perhaps by following some of Kathy Copas’ insights in this article.