Commandment 9 – Thou shalt extend the reach of your website

Sitting in my office in North Carolina today, there are a couple of things that are being talked about with almost everyone that I have a conversation. Politics (the conventions are wrapping up — and the real election battle is starting), and hurricanes (the only thing they have is common is a lot of hot air). Neither of these are new to our area. Politics are always part of the talk in these parts, and hurricane season comes every year from June till November. That’s half the year! A full six months.

So why all the discussion about it right now? Well, I believe it’s for 3 reasons.

1) Rarely do Hurricanes come in three. We have an unexpected twist of three hurricanes (Hanna, Ike and Josephine) aimed at the eastern seaboard right now.  It’s crazy! Who knows (at this stage) what damage they’ll do.

2) Tropical Storm warnings are issued from Georgia to New Jersey. That’s almost 900 miles. Now that get’s attention! Even over the Politics.

3) The storms are picking up speed from the warm open waters in the Atlantic. They’re also developing a focused “eye” so they can make a large impact when they hit the coast.

So what does this have to do with your website? It’s simple. If you want to make an impact with your website, you need to extend your reach. And I think we can learn from Hurricanes how to do it.

1) Like the storms, the more you do in consecutive order, the greater the impact. It’s not just about your website. It’s about your Blog, your e-blasts via email, your newsletters, your webinars, your print materials (and anything else you can think of). It’s the CAMPAIGN that makes you look big and important. And the more you look consistent, the more effective the campaign.

2) Don’t just think locally. Think big! Dominate or die. Play well or go home. Remember that your audience is far reaching. Have a website that meets the national stage (as well as your local stage) — it’ll have a better impact and will be worthy of someone referring people to your website. Some church websites are so bad that your congregation wouldn’t tell someone in your own church about it.

3) This one is the best. Take the time you need (!) to prepare your website so that it looks good, has great content and has strengths. Sometimes it’s difficult to know how long that is; just remember “quality on everything” and then launch! And a Hurricane knows (can a storm “know” something?) that it can cause bigger impact when it has a small targeted area as it’s nucleus. The same is for your website. If you want to achieve the second point (expand your reach), you have to be targeted first. I know it sounds odd, but the more focused your website is, the great potential audience. It’s the rule of marketing. Know who you’re aiming for — and develop your own “eye” for what that audience likes, seeks and does. Become an expert for them.

I’ve often wondered why someone hasn’t tried to harness the power from a huricane — there’s always lots of wind, lightning and water — imagine what could be done! Now, imagine what potential you have in your website when you’ve extended it’s reach. It’s probably the only world-wide marketing you do. God will use it and do greater things than you can imagine!

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