BIG DAY – Get Your Info Online. Some Tips About What We Put On Our Event Website (And How To Set One Up)

WHY We Have a Website

You do not HAVE to have a website for your event, but it IS a nice feature. Here are a few reasons why we chose to create a website for our Preaching Rally:

It’s not much work. Really, it’s not a whole lot of work to set up. It takes a lot less effort than one might think. You can quickly build it yourself (below, I show you how to do it in about 20 minutes), or you can hire out the work. There are paid and free options for website hosting, but to get the most control, I would recommend that you create a new website from scratch. Visit for more details.

It’s open to everyone. A website is available to everyone who has internet access. With mobile users, your mobile site will be pulled up by anyone with a smartphone. Although you might think Facebook is ubiquitous by now, you eliminate a surprising amount of people when you ignore a website and go Facebook-only (namely, me. I’m the last American who does not have a Facebook account. And maybe my grandma. But she’s in her 80’s. And she’s Canadian.)

It can be updated immediately. I recommend sending printed mailings–postcards, letters, posters–but the bane of printed material is typos. Last Christmas, our church sent out a 5,000-person mailing with the wrong date on our event. Ouch! At least with a website, all you have to do is fix the typo and click, “Update.” It happens immediately, and it is free.

It is a catch-all. Our website is our go-to place for ALL our Preaching Rally information (it is supposed to be that way, anyway). If someone wants to know the date and time, point them to the website. How about downloading the poster graphic so a youth pastor can print his own and promote it within his youth group? Check the website. Pictures from last year to know what to wear? “Pictures” page on the website. Registration, sermons, next year’s info… it all goes on the website, so almost any question can be answered without calling our church office.

It is the “Front Door” (or at least the “Side Door”) to your event. Mailings might be the front door, but most young youth pastors will pull up the website on their phone or look it up at their computer (hence, the “side door” analogy). I get an immediate impression of what an event will be like when I 1) get their mailing and then 2) pull up their website. If you want to convince people that you will have good content at your event, then be sure to emphasize that content with a good website.


WHAT We Put On Our Website

Since our website is our catch-all, we add everything we can to it. Our goal is to direct people to the website for answers to ALL their general questions. Here is what we add:

Event Details. At the footer of every page we include the most basic details: date, time, location, and cost.  

Registration Form. We like to plan ahead and gather the church information, so we ask each church to pre-register on our website. When they arrive at our Preaching Rally, they only have to pay and walk in.

Theme Graphics. I post PDFs to our theme graphics on our website, so that everything that the churches receive in the mail, they can print themselves. This includes posters, announcement sheets, postcards, and more. If they want the source files (for Adobe Photoshop, Indesign, etc.), they can contact us by email.

Preacher Bio. Many people have never heard of the preachers we choose, so they like to read up on the preacher’s information online.

Description. At the bottom of every page is a brief description of what the Preaching Rally is. This gives the visitor a glimpse of what to expect.

Contact. A contact form at the bottom of every page allows the guest to email us with any questions, and the contact page includes other information like email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses and more.

Sermons. Rather than provide CD copies to people who want to hear the recorded sermons, we load the sermons on the website. With one click, the visitor can hear the sermon for free.

Pictures. We take hundreds of professional photos every year, and share them all free via our website. We host them on our church’s account and embed a slideshow into our website.

Next Year’s Information. Since only the date changes each year, we promote next year’s information on the website (date, time, costs, location, etc.)

Past Preaching Rallies. Since the website is built on a blog platform, all the past information is archived in date order, categorized by year. Visitors can find all past preachers, pictures, graphics, etc. under the “Past Preaching Rallies” tab.

Videos. At times, we will show a funny video, a themed clip, or a slideshow in the services. In case people missed it, they can watch it on our website.

HOW To Set Up a Website

I put together a simple website tutorial page at On that page, you will find four steps to building a website, and video walk-throughs of how to do each step.

Once I created the website, I worked with a young man in our church who was willing to oversee the updates each year. For several years, I would email him when a minor change needed to happen, and he would do it.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about websites:

Is it hard to update? No. It is as simple as creating a page and clicking “Publish”

Do I have to know any coding? No. Since WordPress is a blog platform, anyone can use it right after it is set up. The text editing tools are similar to Microsoft Word.

Do I need a separate “mobile” site? No. Just choose a theme that is “responsive” and it will adapt to whatever screen size it is shown on. (And yes, as of this writing, I’m a hypocrite. I’m not practicing what I preach with

Can I load sermons on the website? Yes. I use the simplest form of sermons by adding the MP3 link directly to the post. A couple sermon browser plugins exist, and a few WordPress themes have sermon browsers built in directly (search for “church” WordPress themes on the major theme sites).

Can I load pictures on the website? Yes, but I do not always recommend it. You can load small slideshows, but if you are dealing with hundreds of pictures, use a dedicated photo site like (see ours here, for example).

What’s a “Widget?” In WordPress, a widget is a little block of info that you can add in key areas of your site, depending on what your theme allows. Most widgets are found in footers and sidebars, and include simple information like pages on your website, contact forms, search bars, static text, etc.

What’s a “Page” or “Post?” A page is created to stay in place. It includes static information and will not be rearranged in date order. A post is created regularly, and the newest post will always go toward the top of the list of posts. Most pages include Home, About, Contact, etc. Most posts have longer, catchier titles and are usually refreshed on a blog page on your website.  

What’s a “Plugin?” Plugins fill needs on your website. WordPress does not build everything you need into your site, so third-party sources put their plugins up for public use (free and paid options). For example, sermon browsers, audio players, photo slideshows, spam protection, backup options, and thousands more are available.

How do I update my menu? It depends on your theme. Some themes have you create your “Page Order” in the page options, and it ranks your pages in sequential order. I use increments of 10, so later I can slip another page in between, if needed. Most themes use the menu structure from Appearance>Menus, which is a simple drag/drop interface. Add the pages you need, rearrange them up/down for order, and drag them left/right for drop-down sub-pages.

How do I stop spam? I have no clue. Ask a pro. There’s a plugin for that.

Should I update when they alert me? Yes. Always.

What is SEO? Unless you want to be a top-tier blogger, I would not recommend spending all your time learning about Search Engine Optimization. Instead, focus on creating quality, regular, clear content if you want good rankings in Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

How do we do online giving? Use a dedicated company for online giving. Don’t even mess with Paypal donation forms.