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Jan
08

20 Free Web Tools and How Churches Can Use Them

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I love free stuff. I guess that’s why I eat too much at buffets. With the proliferation of “Web 2.0″ companies offering everything — kitchen sink too — churches can benefit from the Internet rush of free bait. So I thought I’d give a list of some services to take advantage of (like those buffets you can fill up your plate).
Here are some free web 2.0 tools that churches can use …

1. YouTube upload your videos and embed them in your site. Let YouTube take care of the bandwidth and use their easy “embed” feature to plug into your site. (Owned by Google.)
2. Flickr host all your photos online and use their free widgets to display them on your site. See example.
3. FeedBlitz for your free email newsletter resource. Set up a blog and integrate FeedBlitz email newsletter with it. See example.
4. FeedBurner for the easiest way I know to do a podcast. See my Sermon Podcasting Made Easy tutorial and the Digital Sermon Recording Kit.
5. SermonCloud for more free sermon audio hosting and podcasting resource.

6. Gimpfree wannabe Adobe Photoshop (image editing).

7. Nvu free WSYWIG HTML editor.

8. WordPress the best free blog software around (in my totally biased opinion).

9. Icebrrgfree online web forms. Register for a free account called Dinghy. The free account will do almost everything — surveys, online registrations — that almost every church would need to do.

10. Playtagger play MP3 audio right on your site. See example.

11. stock.xchng free photos and images for your worship backgrounds and materials.

12. ChipIn collect donations for your mission trips or service projects.

13. LetterPop free newsletter creation tool.

14. CafePress & LuLu although it’s not technically free, you can produce CDs, books, magazines, without any upfront cost. See my Great Guest Giveaways series here.

15. Rockin Cool Website Design — free website templates. (This is my site.)
Straight from Google ….

16. Gmail I love Google’s free email service. It has incredible SPAM filtering and integration with Calendars, Docs & Spreadsheets and more. (Basically, you could get rid of Outlook!) See their Google Apps service to use your own domain name.
17. Blogger Host your blog for free … and use their custom domain service to invest in your own domain name for less than $10 a year.

18. Alerts Keep track of who’s talking about you online.

19. Maps Get a custom map to your church.

20. Analyticsfree website statistics program. Register for a free account, set up a website profile, and insert the code into your site. See my post on it.

Did I miss something? Add your own in the comments below! 

 
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Comments

  1. David says:

    Zooomr is also a photo-sharing site with better limits on free accounts (and no 200 photo limit).
    But more than that they offering free pro accounts for bloggers.

  2. Ron says:

    This is an awesome list, Cory. Thanks so much for sharing. I use some of these products…and the others I will look forward to exploring so that I can enhance my ministry.

    BTW, I’ve nominated ChurchCommunicationsPro.com for a “Bloggies Award”. I appreciate all that you offer here, and the spirit in which it’s offered. You rock!!

  3. Brittany says:

    Firstgiving.com is a website that helps people who fundraise for non-profit organizations set up free personal fundraising pages. It is easy to use and personalize. Users can see their progress and supporters can leave messages of encouragement directly on the page. As the money is raised, funds are sent automatically to the non-profit.

  4. Geoff Brown says:

    Frequently churches need e-mail communications for groups, such as the choir, the Vestry (in my church), the hospitality committee, the buildings and grounds committee, etc., etc.

    If each of these groups is reasonably static in membership, google groups and yahoogroups both offer very low maintenance, free ways to maintain e-mail contact. There are also features, such as posting frequently referred to documents on the e-mail group’s site with either google groups or yahoogroups, that are useful for frequently referred to checklists, policies, etc.

    They definitely beat trying to keep everyone current on rapidly changing e-mail addresses.

  5. Scott says:

    What is the best Calendar to embed in a church website? Currently use Google’s Calendar but would like to know your Opinion. Tracking of birthdays and anniversaries is needed in addition to service and meeting announcements. Would be nice if content is selectively downloadable to cell phones as text messaging (for birtdays) or timed reminders (meetings). Thanks in advance.

  6. Shawn Bailey says:

    http://www.mychurchevents.com is a great embeddable calendar website for churches. It’s not free, but reasonably priced. Use it online and then print it for the bulletin with a simple click.

Church Communication Pro is a blog and website dedicated to helping churches with church media, church marketing and church branding resources. We strive to keep pastors and their teams updated with the most effective methodologies and tools for church communication efforts.