Friday, November 12, 2010

Sermon Website: How To

I'd been asked by a colleague how to set up and run a sermon website blog, and had written up some helpful pointers. Here they are, with the links embedded as they might be useful for a wider audience.

Setting Up The Website

Recommended to use Blogger for a free blog, which is easy to set up and maintain. It can be set up with a Google email address. You will be asked to pick your web address - for example, www.[YOURCHURCH]

We use Fileden for free online storage, although there are probably other sites doing a similar sort of thing. A free account will give you 1GB of storage, which is probably about 100 sermons (depending on length!). Easy sign up (and ignore the ads as you sign in).

In Blogger, the standard way we publish is (using the ‘Edit HTML’ section rather than the ‘Compose’ system):

TITLE: “Sermon Audio: PASSAGE x:x-x”

BODY: ‘Sunday Xth X 2010
Preacher: X X


-In blogger, the main body as it appears can be saved automatically as above so that you just have to slot in the information each time rather than remembering the link html details! You can do this in ‘Settings > Formatting > Post Template’ - copy the above in, and it will automatically appear each time you begin a new post. The Capitalised information just needs to be altered (see below)

Getting The Audio

Getting the sermon from CD to mp3 is fairly straightforward. On the Mac, Garageband is the program to use; for Windows, Microsoft Movie Maker will produce .wma files, which can be easily converted to mp3 format using a free converter downloaded from the internet (Google wma to mp3); or the free program from Audacity with the mp3 converter LAME also available from their site

A couple of minutes will edit the audio track from the cd, removing the rest of the service and leaving the Bible reading and sermon, or sermon only. Export to mp3 format and save on your computer

Uploading the mp3

Upload the mp3 file from your computer to FileDen. When it has uploaded, go to the Files pages on FileDen; right click on the sermon you want and then click on ‘Properties’; click on ‘Linking Codes: URL’ and copy this.

In your blog composer, click on new blog post and paste the URL code for the sermon (from FileDen) where it says MP3_URL (leaving the quotation marks in the html code - without these, it won’t work!).

Format the TITLE and DATE and PREACHER sections.

In Blogger, it’s also possible to add tags (at the bottom of the composer), which will make your website easier to search - we normally use standard tags such as Bible, Exposition, Expository preaching, Preaching, Sermon, Sermon Audio, as well as the Bible book and the preacher’s name - that way if someone is looking for more sermons from John, they can easily get them all etc.

Monitoring the Website

As an additional extra, you may wish to check how many people are visiting the website - Blogger provide stats information; another one that we use is Statcounter. They provide a small section of html code which you copy and paste into the blog (they give instructions on it), and then they collate the visitor information reliably.

To see a sermon website which is currently working by using the above, check out St Elizabeth's Sermons.

I'm aware this guide might be stating the obvious for some computer folks, but if you're new to the game and wanting to begin, I hope it's helpful. Get in touch if you need some more help, or leave a link for your new site in the comments box below!

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