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Site Tips - How to...
  • Managing the News Page
    The News Page is made up of 4 sections:

    1. Newsletter articles
    2. Announcements
    3. Calendar Events
    4. RSS External Content Feeds

    The News page is fairly complex and it is best not to edit the page if you do not have to. Instead, work with the page after you are logged in but have clicked the 'View Site' link rather than the 'Edit Page, link.

    The Newsletters are articles while the announcements are meant to be more like the church bulletin for non-date-specific announcements, like a new staff member or a birth. Add the Newsletter article by clicking on 'Add Newsletter' when you are logged into the site editor. When you are editing the Newsletter page remember to add a short description at the bottom of the page template. This becomes the newsletter teaser on the News Page.

    You should always add Announcements through the "add announcement" link on the News Page when you are in site edit mode. This will put the announcement short description and title on the News page and you can click through to the full announcement description. Do not add announcements on the Announcements Page - only add announcements by clicking the add announcement link on the News page.

    The News page holds your last 3-5 (depending on how you set it up)announcements but you can see all of the users can see all of the announcements on the Announcements page. To change which announcements appear on the News page go to the page list and reorder the announcements. The last announcement on the list (the last one you entered) is the first announcement to show on the News page. To delete an announcement go to the page list and find the announcement under the announcements list and click delete (it will not let you delete the last announcement - it needs a place holder).

    If you want to delete the announcement component on the News page just edit the page and delete the component and delete the title component as well. Then go to the page list and delete the announcements page. However, I suggest you keep it all, I think you will find it an easy way to keep everyone up to speed.

    You enter Events through the calendar. Remember to make sure your hit 'view site' to take you out of page edit mode when you add events to the calendar. You make events show up on the news page by checking the "visible" button. Do not make recurring events visible - it does not work well.

    To edit an existing calendar event you have to be in site edit mode so click the view site button. Then navigate to the calendar, find the event and click it, then click the 'edit this event' link on the event description page.

    You can add RSS feeds for external news. CLICK HERE to learn more about RSS Feeds.

    If you corrupt your News Page don't worry. Go to the Add Page interface and add another copy of the News page. All of the automatic content will be there. When you are satisfied with the page go to your page list, delete your old news page and then move your new News page to the correct menu location.

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  • Uploading a Single Picture or Image
    • You need a .JPG, .PNG or .GIF file format
    • All of the web pictures display at 72 dpi. If you upload a picture that is at say 150 dpi, it will be about twice as big on the website.
    • Once the picture is ready simply edit your site and add a component with an image, it can be a Text, Image or Link component.
    • Click the link that says "Click here to change this image"
    • Hit browse and find the image on your computer
    • Click "Open"
    • Click "Upload"
    • Pictures can be resized or cropped using the picture tools. These tools should be used for minor adjustments only.
    • Click "OK"

    Most picture editing software has a 'save for the web' option under 'file'. If you size you picture in the editing software and then save for the web you will have the best results. If you do not have picture editing software try Adobe Photoshop Express which is a free app for Windows 10. You can also try PIXLR editor which is online editing software available HERE.

    If need to resize multiple pictures at once you can use like FastStone Photo Resizer which can be downloaded HERE. This is especially useful when preparing Multiple images for the image gallery.

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  • Using the Media Library For Audio and/or Video

    ChurchSquare offers the Media Library to load, categorize, sort and play or podcast audio and video files. The Media Library uses a special media streaming server and operates a little differently than our other components. It also offers more storage space than the regular site space; for example the Interactive Plan has 48.5 GB of storage space for the Media Library, enough to hold up to 1900 hours of audio. We recommend using Google Chrome when working with the Media Library (best for editing the site overall).

    You can add a Media Library page from the add page function.

    • Edit the site
    • Click on the Add Page button at the top of the page you are editing
    • Select the Media Library page which is the last page under the Interactive Pages on the right
    • Add a page name and select the page location. You may want to put the page in the not in menu area or under construction until the page is built
    • Click create page and view page.

    Add Media Files
    You can upload MP3 files for audio or MP4 files for video. Files should be compressed for the web (please see the section on file compression). Files must be less than 200MB to upload. Multi-file upload allows you to upload up to 20 files at once.

    • Edit your media library component by clicking the edit button in the component header (next to the little movie director's clip board).
    • Click on Choose Files
    • Browse your hard drive to find the file or files you want to upload, highlight them and select open.

    Add Information About Your Files
    You can add information about your file that is used in the Podcast feed and for displaying on your site. You can also categorize files so users can select files that are in one particular category like a sermon series or speaker.

    To add information:

    • Edit the media component and go to the Media List tab
    • Click on the picture on the file bar in the media list - you should see a popup window called Media Properties
    • In the Title box type in the title
    • In the summary box you can add additional information such as the speaker
    • In the date you can leave the date as the file upload date or enter the date the audio was delivered, in the case of a sermon, the sermon date
    • You can also add Media categories and select categories for this file. Click add/edit and type in a new category in the add box and add it or check the categories you want then save the changes.
    • Apply changes to see your media library and save all changes.

    Display Settings
    The display settings can be changed to customize the look of your Media Library. You will want to set the Library up differently if you are using it just for Audio or just for Video or both.

    Edit your Media Library and click on the Display settings tab. The Media Player Size is used for video (that is the Player Layout is not set for audio only). The player sizes are:

    standard size: 480x360
    standard wide: 640x360
    Small: 250x150

    Video formats should be adjusted to these sizes (or aspect ratio) before upload.

    For Audio only choose the Audio player with media list below player for the Player Layout. For video you can choose to have the media list below or to the right.

    Use the default player style unless you have a contrast issue on your page. You may want to use the connected list if that is the case.

    For the Play List Style you will want to use the 'Text list / all information" if you are loading just audio files.

    Under options the Sort Default is typically used.

    If you are going to create a podcast check the show RSS/PODCAST feed icon.

    Make sure you Apply changes.

    Setting Up Your Podcast
    The file can also be used to create a Podcast that a user can subscribe to and automatically download sermons to their PC or other Podcast receiver. Edit the Media Library component and select the tab for setting up the Podcast.

    This information will be transmitted with each of the Podcast and describes the overall podcast. The title, summary and date pertaining to individual sermons are input on the Media list tab.

    User can subscribe to the Podcast by clicking the podcast symbol on the Media Library page and they can then subscribe from that page.

    IMPORTANT: File Compression AUDIO
    Good file compression is very important. Recommended software for file compression is Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio ($60 for this 'light' version at https://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/products/product.asp?pid=454 - you can probably get older version much more cheaply at Amazon) to rip it off the CD convert from the CD format to MP3 Files. Sound Forge can save to the MP3 format. For sermons save as FM Mono quality at 40KBPS and save Music at FM Stereo at 64 KBPS.

    IMPORTANT: File Compression VIDEO
    Your files need to be under 200 MB to upload to your site. You can use the free, open-source software, Handbrake to compress your software:

    https://handbrake.fr/
     
    I used the the very fast 720p 30.

    Make sure you select the option "Web Optimized" is checked. This will allow your file to start playing before it is totally downloaded - make sure your select that option.

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  • Other Ways to Upload Audio
    ChurchSquare offers many opportunities to upload audio files aside from the Media Library but we recommend using the Media Library for most applications. 

    Automatically Play When Page Opens
    Many visitors want to start sound files themselves but still some web sites open media files when the page opens. This can be useful if you have an announcement (maybe a welcome message or a special announcement) for the home page. Some webmasters like to add music to a page.

    To have the file play when the page is opened, add a "Audio File" component: >Add >Audio and Video Multimedia>Audio File. Upload the file by clicking the "Browse" link and locating the file on your computer and clicking "Open". Check the box for Auto Play. Click "OK". WMA files can only be uploaded in the Plug-in player. Other types can be loaded into the Flash player. You can also set the player to start manually rather than when the page opens. You might want to make the player visible and size it to 45 high to say 75 wide so users can stop the music.

    Play File When Clicked
    You can use the Audio file and just not click the autostart option; make sure to leave your player "visible". You might have to put a text component underneath to say what the file is. If you are doing a list of audio files, like a sermon series, just use regular links. To create links to audio files that play when the link is clicked on (such as selecting a sermon to listen to): >Add >Links >Document/File Link. Click the button for "File" then select and upload the file from your computer. After you add the other elements of the component (link name for example), click "OK". If you use the text editor version 2 (recommended) you can create a link within the text, just highlight the text and click the link icon (a globe with a chain link on it) and select document / file link as your link type and select or upload your file. The simple text link is good for creating a table of sermons with the date, title, presenter and play link. If you want people to be able to download the file add a message that tells them to right click and select save target as.

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  • Submitting your site to search engines.
    ChurchSquare includes site submission services with your site. Edit your site and click on the site Settings button at the top of a page. Then click on Search Engines. We explain the procedures for optimizing your site and submitting it to search engines. Here are some further suggestions.
    1. Carefully fill in your description and keywords on your settings page (edit the site and click the settings button). Make sure your description is 30 words or less and that it is a description, not a mission statement. You do not have to repeat the title (Church or Ministry name). If you are a local ministry include the city and state. Include important keywords in the description like "Christian church in northwest Houston, Texas." Put your most important keywords first in the keyword box.
    2. Search engines like Google claim they do not look at the meta-tags. That re-emphasizes the importance of putting key word content onto your site including keywords in the Page Title. It is our experience that using Google site map or analytics has very little effect on search engine listing.
    3. Make sure your site title is filled in and includes your city and state if you are a local ministry - click on title/footer link in the site settings.
    4. Follow all the directions in submitting the site to the search engines (from the Search Engine Submission button on the Admin page).
    5. Submit your site in Yahoo! It is free. The 'suggest a site' is at the bottom of most pages.
    6. Submit your site to the Open Directory Project. Go to www.DMOZ.com and click on the suggest URL. It is free as well. The appears to be less ability to respond to requests but try submitting your request anyway.
    7. If you have a marketing budget you can try pay-per-click (ppc) Internet marketing. If someone searches for your category - you can pay to have your URL as a sponsored link. The first tier PPC engines are www.Overture.com and Adwords.Google.com - they are also the most expensive. Start small and evaluate whether the budget is well spent.
    8. Make sure you are listed on local directories, the Chamber of Commerce site as well as denominational sites. You again might consider part of your marketing budget to pay up to say $100/year for listing on some of the local directories. Your marketing statistics (under site traffic from the ADMIN page) should show if you are getting referrals from these sites.
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  • Editing the site
    • The first step is to login by going to your site login page and enter your domain (use "churchsquare.com" if you have not added your domain yet), site name and password.
    • That brings you to the ADMIN page - click edit site
    • You can now click on add page or page list. Add page allows you to add a blank or a pre-formatted page to the site just click on the page, add the page name and the place you want it to appear in the menu and click add page.
    • At the page list you can click on properties for the page and rename or move it. To change the order of the pages click the reorder pages button. You can also click on the edit link to edit that page.
    • Once you are editing a page you will see sections, by clicking the add button in the section header you can add content components (text, images, links, etc.) under the section. You can add many components under each section. For existing components you can click on the edit link and change or add to the content of the component.

    For more information on editing, login to your site, click edit site and click on the help tab and then on the tutorial links. There are many animated movies to help you learn how to use the editing tools and a downloadable manual.

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  • Setting up the Member Directory
    The Member Directory is a very flexible but as such somewhat complex system. We highly recommend that you download and print the member directory - CLICK HERE to get to the Member Directory page and click on the icon for the guide.  back to top


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