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The E-zekiel Technology Blog

E-zekiel Technology Blog

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E-zekiel Technology Blog

Daylight Savings Time Starts this Weekend

Friday, March 12, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
At 2 a.m. on March 14, most of the United States moves one hour ahead and switches to Daylight Savings Time (exceptions are Hawaii and most of Arizona). Daylight Savings Time will continue until the clocks “fall back” the second weekend in November.

For years, home safety experts have recommended the two time changes as good reminders to replace smoke alarm batteries. More recently, media reports have noted the risks associated with that loss of one hour’s sleep. For example, traffic accidents are said to spike on the Monday following the time change. And a Swedish study even said that the incidence of heart attacks can increase in the first three workdays after the switch. So, enjoy the added daylight, but be careful out there!
 

How To Communicate Effectively

Friday, March 05, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
One of the challenges churches and organizations face is how to communicate with members, leadership, staff, committees, prospects and others in a way that gives attention to the most important messages, producing the greatest results. E-zekiel addresses that concern.

If your website plan includes the Group and Communications Managers, you can easily manage the delivery of messages to multiple and varied audiences. In other words, rather than inundating every group with every available piece of information, the communication process is greatly improved by targeting specific messages to specific audiences.

Here's the basics of how it works. In the Group Manager, you create multiple groups (Staff, Youth, Women's Ministry, Finance Committee, etc.) and assign individuals to the groups. You then use the Communications Manager to send target email messages to the particular groups.

It's safe to say that the majority of people with email addresses routinely receive unwanted or unrelated email. By categorizing your members and visitors into groups based on their interests, you increase the chances that your message will be received, read, and acted upon. And you increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your email communication.

Extra Tip! If you are sending communications to groups larger than 250, use an email marketing application such as Constant Contact instead. These applications provide reporting functionality that can help you determine your success in communicating with the group.
 

Alternative Text for Images

Friday, February 26, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
Have you considered adding alternative text to your images? It’s a good idea if you want to improve accessibility for those with visual and cognitive abilities.  It’s also used by browsers that don’t display images or for user settings that don’t display images. And it gives descriptive text that can be used to improve search engine rankings.

To insert alternative text into your E-zekiel website, click on the image properties icon. Once you have chosen your image, provide descriptive text of the image in the alternative text box. Click OK. Alternative text along with your image will be inserted into your page.
 

Learn More about Your Site's Visitors

Friday, February 19, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
Google Analytics is a free Web analytics tool that you can use to track your site’s usage patterns. By using the E-zekiel Statistics Manager and Google Analytics together, you can discover lots of things about your site’s visitors, including which pages are the most popular, which days and times are most active, and how current activity compares to previous weeks or months.

Google Analytics even lets you to know how many visitors are visiting your site “on the go” by tracking mobile Web sites, mobile apps and Web-enabled mobile devices. Additionally, the custom reports feature takes you beyond standard reports – giving you access in one place to the data that is most relevant from multiple areas. There’s also an automatic alerts feature that can tell you of a significant change in activity, such as a spike in visits following a mass email campaign.
 

A Page's Purpose

Friday, February 05, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
The purpose of a Web page is to provide useful content. That may seem too basic for comment, yet the reason it's a good reminder is that a lot of page designs get caught up in the style and look - and overlook the purpose. Understanding what the page is intended to achieve should be addressed before how it is to be presented.  What's here for visitors to see - something interesting, helpful, inspirational, informative?  What does the page offer and how is it worth a visitor's time? Decide on these issues before moving on to page design.
 

Password Protection Begins with the Password

Friday, January 22, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
The New York Times recently reported on password habits for this digital age, suggesting that many folks are leaving an obvious trail into their various password-protected accounts. The most popular passwords during the 1990s were "12345", "abc123" and "password."  But even with increased awareness of hacking, identity theft and other cyber-crime issues, a recent survey of a broad set of users showed that their most common password is now "123456," just one digit longer and hardly safer.
 
The reason people choose such easy-to-guess passwords, experts say, could be because they are simply overwhelmed by the number of numbers and codes they need to remember. Given that reality, the experts suggest that you choose at least two different passwords – one for your social networking and media sites, and another for the more serious security sites, such as your bank and email account.
 

Ways You Can Use the HelpRoot Volunteer Manager

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
As with many types of technological tools, the HelpRoot Volunteer manager can be used extensively to fill volunteer positions in every area of your church or ministry – or you can begin with specific projects and grow your use over time.
 
One church, quite logically, used the Volunteer manager to seek technical worship volunteers, including Web site administrator, sound engineer and technical ministries director. Another used the volunteer manager to fill their ministry teams – from the nursery to the music ministry, from church history to hospitality, and from congregational care to missions and outreach. And yet another took the same tools intended to bring in volunteers to create a job network for those members suffering job losses in a down economy.
 

Volunteer Projects vs. Volunteer Opportunities

Friday, January 15, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
When you open your Volunteer manager to add a volunteer opportunity, you’ll see you’ve got a choice between two groups – Volunteer Projects and Volunteer Opportunities. You’ll ultimately being creating “opportunities” for all the jobs you’d like to assign; the “projects” section is simply a managerial tool that you can use when you create a set of opportunities that are tied together.
 
For example, let’s say you are seeking workers for various ages in your preschool department. Perhaps your project title would be Preschool Teachers. You complete the fields in Contact, Location, Distribution, Requirements and Search, then scroll to the page bottom, where you’ll see a section to add Volunteer Opportunities to go with this project. The specific opportunities could be Bed Babies Teacher, Toddlers Teacher, Twos Teacher, Threes Teacher, Fours Teacher and Kindergarten Teacher. Thus, you’d create six opportunities to go with this project.
 
One benefit of creating a project for related opportunities is so that you won’t have to re-enter the contact and location information. Also, as in the case of many other types of projects, should there be a change in a date, location or time, you can update the project information, and choose for the changes to cascade into all the related opportunities.
 

MLK Day of Service

Monday, January 11, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
On January 18, in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, communities across the country will host projects and events celebrating a King Day of Service. To plan a King Day project in your community, visit www.mlkday.gov for tips to get started, to help organize and to build partnerships. You’ll also find project examples and marketing tools to help promote your project.
 

Completing the Tabs for Your Volunteer Opportunities

Friday, January 08, 2010 View Comments Comments (0)
To add Volunteer Opportunities (or Projects) with the HelpRoot Volunteer manager, you’ll click the “plus” sign and then be taken to the editor, where you will begin by completing the fields under four tabs – Contact, Location, Distribution, Requirements and Search. 
 
Contact is where you will add the name, email and telephone number (if desired) that the potential volunteer will use to contact the person responsible for the opportunity. Location is, naturally, the location of the opportunity. This is important to help someone know if volunteering is even possible, particularly if  the opportunity is being published globally on HelpRoot.com and not just a church site.  Speaking of which… the Distribution tab is where you’ll decide whether to publish the opportunity on the public HelpRoot.com site or just keep it to your own site. You can also set dates for when you’ll accept applications for the opportunity, as well as the date and time for the work to be accomplished.
 
“Requirements” is where you can note any particular prerequisites to serve in the volunteer position. This could be helpful in, say, medical missions seeking trained medical personnel. But it’s also the place to note any financial responsibilities that would come with the opportunity. Finally, the “Search” tab is where you will add the key words and summary description that people will use when searching for opportunities on your site or within www.HelpRoot.com.