Christian Leadership to Change the World
Five Online Tools for Extending Your Leadership Influence
CBN.com As a leader, it’s important to manage your reputation and influence on the web. Your followers and potential supporters will search for you on Google and expect to find something within the first three or four search results. Your legitimacy may depend on what they find.
One of the best ways to ensure they find what you want them to is through the creation of a personal website. Fortunately, thanks to the ever-expanding world of new technology and free online services, several resources already exist that allow you to build a website without actually knowing anything about computer programming or coding.
Here are five online tools that will allow you to get started quickly on the construction and promotion of your website without any formal training.
Wordpress is free blogging software. And while that may not sound too professional, you’d be surprised to find out how many large businesses use Wordpress, such as CNN, Time and the NFL. If you’re just starting out, Wordpress will manage everything for you and provide design templates at Wordpress.com. And if you’d prefer to have greater freedom to customize, Wordpress can do that too, with the self-hosted Wordpress.org option. Either way, it’s free to use and great if you plan on having a lot of frequently updated content.
Tumblr is another popular blogging platform and recently passed Wordpress as the most-used blogging service on the web with more than 20.8 million blogs. Tumblr is even more streamlined than Wordpress and has built-in tagging and sharing capabilities that make your content more easily shared. Tumblr is also a nice solution if you have a lot of multimedia. Images, in particular, work really well on Tumblr, and many Tumblr blogs are almost exclusively pictures. The downside is that you don’t have quite the flexibility with how your site looks or what it can do as you might with Wordpress. But like Wordpress, it’s completely free.
If Tumblr is streamlined, Posterous is aerodynamic. The key benefit to this blogging service is the ability to maanage it completely through your email. You can even set up your account and write your first blog post by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title and content of your post in the subject line and body of the email, respectively. Posterous also takes much of the difficulty out of blogging by automatically formatting images, videos and documents for the web. Like Wordpress or Tumblr, Posterous provides customization through themes and is completely free.
About.me is a tool for creating a personal and dynamic splash page that points to your content around the web. This is a good option for people with multiple online profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and who need one place to serve as a directory for them all. Unlike the previously mentioned services, About.me sites are generally one page with a large, colorful image, a paragraph about who you are and a few icons to show visitors where you exist on the web. The service also comes with statistics to see who is visiting your site — and of course, it’s free.
After you’ve built your website and started producing content, you’ll need to promote it somehow. HootSuite is a social media management tool that will help you do just that. By setting up an account, you can log in online from any computer and manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts, schedule tweets and status updates and track how your followers are engaging with your content. You can pay for upgrades if you like, but the basic service and tools mentioned here are free.
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