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Too good to be true? Hardly. Here’s how. WordPress is what this blog is written on and it’s free. Go Daddy (if you can get past their awful ad campain) registers domain names for $10 a year (and that includes “domain forwarding with masking…I’ll explain later).  So, start to finish, here’s the steps to get your ministry or organizational or personal website up and looking crazy awesome in 5 easy steps.

5 Steps to A Great Website for 10 Bucks:

1) First, you need a domain name (i.e. http://www.yourchurchsite.com) and you get it through Go Daddy for $10.
2) You go to WordPress.com and sign up for a free blog. Try to give it a similar name as your .com domain.
3) Here comes the fun part. While on WordPress, navigate to your “dashboard”, the “behind the scenes” section, and under the “appearance” menu (left column) click on “themes” and pick out a theme for your site.  Then, make some “pages” with various content, leave a few posts, and play around with “widgets”.  The more you play around with this interface, the more familiar you’ll become with it and the more you’ll discover just how simple having a website really is.
4) Once you’ve designed your site, put in your content, and are happy with it…it’s time to show it off. Go back to Go Daddy.com and on the their upper menu click the tab “log in” and…well…log in.  In the center of the window you’ll see your new domain name.  Click on it and it launches “dashboard” (wow, the same name as wordpress…it’s a conspiracy of simplicity). Click on “forwarding” and input your WordPress site address (i.e. yourchurch.wordpress.com) and click “advanced options”. Choose “forward with masking” and enter the info that you want people to see when they navigate to your site. Click “ok” and you’re done.
5) You’ve done all the hard work…now tell people about it. Anyone can now type in your domain http://www.yourchurch.com and it will “forward” them straight to your wordpress site! Enjoy. You just got an awesome site with YOUR NAME for $10 a year!

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Article Summary:

1) Google Apps = Word, Excel, & More
2) Education Edition free for non-profits

Ok, so we all know Google will someday rule the world and might even be the anti-christ…someday…but not today. Today it provides incredible resources for the local church through Google apps.

First, for those who don’t know about google apps education edition, it’s a set of online programs that include:
1) Google Mail – Ad Free, & Calendar
2) Google Docs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, & Drawing (for flowcharts, etc.)
3) Google Forms, Site (free website)

What are all these Apps good for?
The main benefit is that all your documents are online and accessible anywhere!
The secondary benefit is that you can collaborate on the same document, at the same time, while chatting or talking to each other via google video or audio chat!

Here’s how we use some of the apps:
1) All Prayer requests are put in an Excel document that all staff members and prayer team members can navigate to. When they receive an update, THEY can update the document so it always stays current.
2) All my sermons are organized in a folder and accessible at any time from any location.
3) Google Site allows us to have an inner office intranet where all important logos, letterhead, etc. are kept and easily downloaded.
4) Google Forms allow us to embed registration forms on our website. The data from those forms can easily or even automatically be put into a Google Excel document for interpretation of data.
5) All our Email is AT OUR DOMAIN (i.e. jon@esfoursquare.com, not @gmail.com) plus if you own mulitple domains (we own esfoursquare.com, .net, .org, esuturn.com) people can email you at any of your domains and it goes to the same account (jon@esfoursquare.com, jon@esfoursquare.net, jon@esfoursquare.org)

Best of all…It’s free!

Information on “how to” get the FREE Education Edition (same as Premium which costs $50 per user, per year)
Information on Google Apps

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www.dropbox.com
Get drop box. That’s all I need to say. Forget a network server, this is the easiest way to share files…period. You install a little app (both mac & pc) and it looks like just another folder on your computer. But, anything you drag into it, automatically is synced to every other computer you choose. Imagine the possibilities. You have all your logos, letterhead, and important docs shared and updated all the time. You have a safe and secure online backup of all your important documents (free) that you can access from anywhere. You have a folder with all your previous sermons and PowerPoint files so when you’re asked to speak last minute…you’re prepared.

*One way I use it. Every week, during our LIVE broadcast, we have a copy of the sermon notes in a pdf file that can be downloaded by anyone watching (so they can follow along). Rather than updating the website every week with a new file, I just “drop” the latest pdf file into my dropbox folder, on my computer and give it the same name (sermon-notes.pdf) and dropbox automatically puts the new file on the server and my web link never has to change. Brilliant! (not me, dropbox).

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