A Year in Review: 2015

woman in grassy field looking through binoculars

It is the second week of July and time to remember another year of weekly blogging. I produced articles for four years and am still excited about what each one brings to you. The better news is that I still have plenty of energy and ideas. Please take some time to read my reflections and lessons learned.

Yet first I want to thank you, my readers. I see my statistics every day, and it humbles me to no end to think people are reading what I wrote. I don’t consider myself especially talented or smart. God afforded me experience in an area, and I am simply giving back what I learned. This often included mistakes, which were the best teachers. Speaking of mistakes, this first topic is about one I made in December. I stopped producing the podcast.

Podcasting Is Still Difficult

I apologize for my hitting “pause” on producing podcast episodes. I took a break around the Christmas holiday and never re-started. This was in part to the amount of time it took to produce each episode. I was far too rigid with editing mistakes. While I was initially proud of how it sounded, I realized it was not authentic. It was not my normal conversational voice. So in a short time I am re-launching the podcast. I will have a better microphone, and am moving from a script to an outline. This will hopefully give the podcast better audio quality, and a more conversational tone.

Community Is Still King

As I have mentioned several times, I do not work for a church. I am a little out of touch with the audience I am trying to connect to. The one thing that has remedied that problem is the weekly Church Social Media (#ChSocM) Twitter chat. As fate would have it, my blog and that chat share a birthday, as they also turned 4 this week. Every week I am amazed by this community’s ideas, enthusiasm, and unity. I encourage you to join this conversation, or another like it. You will discover that you are not alone. You will also find that someone has the same problems you have. Even better, someone may have already solved it!

Let Data Guide You

No, this is not to say you should not pray or allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. But your various analytics packages can give you a lot of insight. You need to measure and analyze your statistics for who is clicking on what. This includes your websites, social media, and email campaigns. You can use the Google Analytics Custom URL Builder Tool to help track clicks not housed on your website. Consider both the content and context when explaining why something solicited extra traffic. I examined traffic on my site to determine what the most popular search words and pages are for my site. This inspired me to write new and follow-up articles to those topics. A similar action for you would be to post similar content to social media. Or this may mean to produce more, or better content for your website.

Action Item

First, I am excited with the decision to foray back into podcasting. It’s a great medium and I hope the new format requires less overhead to produce. Plus I think the less edited dialog will sound more natural. Please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. Second, get involved with the church communications community. Follow the hashtags for church social media (#ChSocM) and church communications (#ChurchComm). As you feel more comfortable, join the conversation. The last suggestion is to follow the numbers. When visitors vote with their clicks, listen to them. It may be the content or the context. So consider what you wrote as well as when you posted it. This is especially true for social media.

Finally, thank you all again for the support and encouragement. Every day you all come to explore the many articles I published here. I pray that I write content that meets your needs and opens you to new ideas for your church.

Photo courtesy of Leszek Nowak

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.